For the past few decades, Powell River has been transitioning from traditional industries to the knowledge economy. The community is experiencing an influx of remote workers and tech entrepreneurs seeking greater affordability and a balanced lifestyle. In response, the Powell River Education Services Society (PRESS) undertook a sectoral strategy to leverage this economic shift into a sustainable economic driver. A central recommendation in the strategy was development of an innovation hub and workshop series to grow the tech and creative sectors.
In a joint initiative between PRESS, Vancouver Island University and the City of Powell River, the Upper Sunshine Coast Entrepreneurial Ecosystem will deliver programming to incubate local start-ups, foster innovation and develop a network of mentors to support tech and creative sector entrepreneurs in the Powell River area. The project involves development of a co-working innovation hub, which will host a range of programs from youth coding camps, to e-commerce workshops and targeted entrepreneur training, offering business co-working opportunities for up to 15 clients at a time.
The project is expected to deliver a wide range of benefits. In the short-term, the innovation hub will support new business development, help to fill latent opportunities and generate direct economic and employment impacts for contractors, professional service providers and other businesses in the region. Long-term, the growth in tech and creative sector initiatives will enhance the region’s overall investment attraction profile, strengthen the tech and creative talent pool and create opportunities for youth to remain in the region. The project is currently underway.