New initiative to help expand sustainable opportunities for economic diversification

COURTENAY, 15 October 2021 – The City of Port Alberni is embarking on a new path to foster a tech and innovation economy with funding support from the Island Coastal Economic Trust (ICET)’s DIVERSIFY Capital & Innovation Program.

The initiative, “Growing an innovation economy in Port Alberni”, will help develop technology and innovation as sustainable growth opportunities for the City and Alberni-Clayoquot region over the next decade. The project is the result of identified community need and opportunity to cultivate and sustain the ideas and talents of the younger generation, as well as encourage and optimize the talents of new skilled arrivals.

“This is a timely initiative to support local businesses as they adapt to the changing marketplace, encourage new and innovative entrepreneurial ideas and build on recent community developments related to value-added food processing,” says ICET Board Chair Aaron Stone. “This project builds on the growing momentum to support tech innovation projects that add strength, value and capacity to our region and its industries.”

The initiative includes a series of activities and workshops geared towards building a stronger innovation ecosystem in a range of economic sectors. An online learning system will be developed, alongside a food growth program, impact innovation challenges, a food innovation master class, a modern entrepreneur series and an investor place-based summit. An entrepreneur in residence will be hired to mentor and support entrepreneurs across multiple sectors. The project also includes the development of a local angel investors group. This team will support direct and indirect access to capital for new business ideas as well as provide guidance and mentorship for regional innovators.

“Boosting Port Alberni’s nascent tech and innovation ecosystem is the way forward in nurturing the economic development potential of our city and surrounding communities,” says Port Alberni Mayor Sharie Minions. “We are excited to build on the opportunities arising, particularly within our expanding food sector, and see this initiative as a logical next step in capitalizing on sustainable growth.”

The project is funded from the Innovation Support stream of the DIVERSIFY Capital & Innovation Program. It is complementary to other initiatives in the region, such as the Vancouver Island Coast Economic Developers Association (VICEDA) technology investment attraction initiative and the Techisland.io platform.

ICET will contribute $84,820 to the total project cost of $169,640. The project is expected to get underway shortly.

For more information about the DIVERSIFY Capital & Innovation Program, please see our guidelines and application form: https://www.islandcoastaltrust.ca/capital-funding-programs#diversify


About the Island Coastal Economic Trust
Created and capitalized by the Province of BC in 2006, the Island Coastal Economic Trust (ICET) mission is to create a more diverse and globally competitive Island and Coastal economy. In partnership with local and regional governments, non-profits and Indigenous communities, ICET serves over half a million residents. Funding and support for economic infrastructure and other economic diversification initiatives is delivered through a unique community centered decision-making process. Since inception, ICET has approved more than $55 million in funding for over 280 initiatives. These investments have leveraged over $270 million in new investment into the region creating more than 2600 construction phase jobs and 2750 long-term permanent jobs.

For further information:
Amanda Fortier, Communications Officer
Island Coastal Economic Trust
Tel. 250-871-7797 (Ext. 232)

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