New public infrastructure will be a platform for entrepreneurs and artisans
COURTENAY, 28 SEPT 2023 – The City of Campbell River Economic Development is developing a micro-unit retail market in Campbell River’s downtown core through a new project investment with Island Coastal Economic Trust. This new project will increase local business vitality and stimulate visitor attraction and resident engagement.
The project targets small and medium-sized businesses that are home- or market-based and are looking to grow their businesses into a permanent retail location. The units will offer short-term, affordable lease rates to support entrepreneurs and artisans as they grow their business for 12 to 36 months on a rotating basis and support them to get established in their first years of operation.
“The intention of this project is to create ‘incubator’ opportunities for our local businesses that can develop in this destination site before venturing onto other more permanent locations in the community,” says Mayor Kermit Dahl.
New businesses will be provided with low monthly rent, enabling them to get to market and build a customer base. Through short-term leases, there will be new businesses regularly cycling into the micro-units allowing the benefits of the incubator ecosystem to reach as many of the 893 home-based businesses currently registered in Campbell River.
“Through this project, local businesses can showcase and test new products, build a network of connections, access customer markets and business support and training all with very low risk and overhead costs,” says Leah Knutson, Economic Development and Tourism Manager for the City of Campbell River. “Having this market infrastructure in place is a crucial first step in new business development, growth, and productivity for long-term sustainability in our city.”
The project activities will include the hiring of a contract manager to plan the design, site preparation, and the purchase and installation of seven micro-units. New local businesses can also receive coaching and business advice through the City of Campbell River’s Modern Entrepreneur Incubator programs, an earlier Trust-funded project, as well as mentoring through the affiliated Campbell River Area Angel Group.
“This project is a real opportunity for creating more small business start-ups, alongside building visitor attraction and more vibrant community hubs across the region,” says Aaron Stone, Chair, Island Coastal Economic Trust. “We’re truly proud to be a part of this initiative that will provide critical infrastructure and incubation opportunities for community entrepreneurs and artisans to grow and thrive.”
“People in Campbell River love to support our local businesses, and we’re excited to see new and innovative business ideas within the community,” said Michele Babchuk, MLA for North Island. “With support from Island Coastal Economic Trust and our Provincial Government, the development of this market will bring more economic growth to the community and provide another attraction for residents and visitors alike to enjoy and see all that our new and growing small businesses have to offer.”
Public consultations, to be held over the coming months, will help determine the retail market’s exact location, building style, and feel.
Island Coastal Economic Trust is investing in the Campbell River Business Incubator and Micro-Unit Retail Market project through the Capital and Innovation Program. The Trust will contribute $100,000 to a total project budget of $650,000. The project will be underway imminently.
Founded by the Province of British Columbia in 2006, the Island Coastal Economic Trust works to build a sustainable and resilient coastal economy in reciprocal relationships with First Nations, municipalities, and regional districts across Vancouver Island, the Sunshine Coast, and islands and inlets from the Salish Sea to Cape Caution. Serving over half a million residents, we partner with communities in the development and financing of their economic infrastructure and diversification efforts through our unique structure that is led by, and accountable to, communities.
Since our inception, Island Coastal Economic Trust has approved more than $59 million to economic development initiatives that have attracted over $323 million in new investment to our region. These investments have created over 2, 910 permanent jobs, and countless positive impacts, across the coast.
Island Coastal Economic Trust acknowledges that we work for communities across the ancestral territories of the Kwak̓wala, Nuučaan̓uɫ, Éy7á7juuthem, Ligwilda’xw, Pəntl’áč, She shashishalhem, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, Hul’q’umi’num’, diitiidʔaatx̣, SENĆOŦEN, Lekwungen, and T’Sou-ke speaking peoples.
Island Coastal Economic Trust
Business Development Officer
City of Campbell River Economic Development