Economic Development Projects

Community Futures Central Kootenay is committed to increasing community and regional capacity through community economic development (CED). We aim to nurture partnerships, inspire innovative thinking, develop best practice initiatives, and promote a healthy, vibrant economic future for our area.

As a non-profit economic development organization, we work closely with local government, Chambers of Commerce, and other community organizations to advance projects that support economic diversity and growth in our region. We are eager to help communities act on economic development opportunities. If you are interested in partnering with Community Futures, please contact us to learn more about the support we can provide. 

CED Initiatives

Business Retention and Expansion

Business Retention and Expansion (BRE) is an action-oriented and community-based approach to business and economic development. It promotes job growth by helping communities to learn about the concerns of, as well as opportunities for, local businesses and to set priorities for projects to address those needs. Business Retention and Expansion research can take the form of a comprehensive community survey or smaller-scale business walks.

Strategic Doing

Strategic Doing enables people to form action-oriented collaborations quickly, move them toward measurable outcomes, and make adjustments along the way.  It yields replicable, scalable, and sustainable collaborations based on simple rules. Community Futures Executive Director, Andrea Wilkey is a trained strategic doing practitioner and has facilitated Strategic Doing sessions in Nelson and Castlegar. The Nelson Innovation Centre (below) was the outcome of a strategic doing collaboration.

Past Projects

Business Community Weekly Roundtable on COVID-19

During the pandemic’s stressful and confusing first wave, we offered weekly virtual meetings for the business community to voice concerns and get support. Meetings were attended by business owners, managers, and business service providers in the Kootenay region. They asked questions and we helped find the answers. We also set up a Facebook group, COVID-19 Support for Kootenay Businesses.

Kootenay Shipping

Community Futures partnered with Selkirk College’s Applied Research and Innovation Centre (ARIC) to develop, an informational website to help businesses find shipping services. The project supports local economic growth, enabling businesses to more efficiently move products and expand their markets. There is also a Kootenay Shipping Facebook Group where business owners can ask shipping questions and support each other.

West Kootenay Boundary Community Investment Co-op

The West Kootenay Boundary Community Investment Co-op is a for profit Co-operative Association registered in British Columbia. It manages a community owned and controlled impact fund that local ventures can apply to, and enable residents to become partners in locally driven economic development. The West Kootenay Boundary Community Investment Co-op incorporated in December 31, 2018, with 95 founding members/investors.

Nelson Innovation Centre

An idea originally conceived in 2015, the Nelson Innovation Centre (NiC) is a place for entrepreneurs and businesses to connect with one another and get the support they need through programming and referral services to take their businesses to a new level. A project feasibility study was completed in 2016. The NiC opened virtually in 2020 during the pandemic. Kootenay Association for Science and Technology manages the space.

Intelligent Community

The Intelligent Community Forum’s Awards program is based on a set of Intelligent Community Indicators identified by the Forum as the critical success factors for developing a competitive and inclusive local economy today. The indicators include: broadband connectivity, knowledge workforce, innovation, digital equality, sustainability and advocacy. Nelson submitted a nomination for ICF’s 2017 Intelligent Community Awards program and was named to the Smart21 Communities of the Year.

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