Growth on the Horizon

New report provides insight and outlines challenges and next steps for expansion.

The manufacturing and technology sector within the Basin is set to thrive, as long as a few challenges can be overcome and opportunities taken.

So says a report compiled by the Manufacturing and Technology Sector Initiative (MATS), the Kootenay Association for Science and Technology (KAST), the Kootenay Rockies Innovation Council (KRIC) and the Columbia Basin Rural Development Institute (CBRDI), which spent over a year speaking directly with local business owners and managers within the sector.

“Through this process, it was revealed that the sector has a firmly established, solid base of operation in the region, plus has tremendous opportunity for further growth and expansion,” said Andrew Zwicker of KAST.

“We now have an in-depth picture of the sector’s impacts on local economies, and of its challenges, successes and potential for growth. We also have developed a set of recommendations on how to facilitate and accelerate that growth.”

Of the 179 businesses that participated, half are planning on hiring additional staff over the next three years, 73 per cent report increasing sales and 33 per cent have operated for more than 20 years.

Challenges that came to the forefront include a lack of access to broadband Internet, the presence of an anti-growth mindset, the lack of suitable buildings and land and the lack of a suitable workforce.

In order to overcome these challenges and grasp opportunities, recommendations include:

  • increasing and improving training opportunities;
  • fostering greater networking and collaboration;
  • promoting the region internally and externally;
  • facilitating planned business expansion;
  • upgrading telecommunications and transportation infrastructure;
  • readying companies for export; and
  • boosting research and development,
  • recruiting and retaining skilled employees

Visit www.kast.com/bre for both reports.

KAST and KRIC will be hosting webinars to walk through the report, what it tells us, and the recommendations / next steps developed from analysis of the report.

Webinars will be hosted during the week of June 17.

Webinar dates:

Wednesday, June 19, 6:30 p.m.

For Webinar log in information and to register please email andrew@kast.com or call 250-483-5052.

The Plan in Action

KAST and KRIC, have been utilizing the results of the MATS BR&E project to inform their own decision making and to set future work plans and initiatives.

Recognizing the value that business coaching, mentorship and easier access to business resources can bring to the region, the MATS project is proud to present the Business Sherpa, coming to the internet near you on June 6th, 2013.

Check it out at www.businessherpa.ca

The Business Sherpa is a new, web-based pool of resources serving innovation, technology-centric and manufacturing entrepreneurs in the Columbia Basin.

While there are many websites designed to help entrepreneurs, locating, navigating and selecting what is useful from what is not, is a monumental task.

The Business Sherpa aims to do much of that heavy lifting for users, and provides additional value with support from real experienced people at KAST and KRIC.

Work with a free coach, meet expert mentors, search for targeted business resources and let us help guide your business to the summit of success.

MATS: The Manufacturing and Technology Sector Initiative is a two-year Columbia Basin Trust initiative strengthening the manufacturing and technology sector in the Basin.

It is delivered by the Kootenay Association for Science and Technology and Kootenay Rockies Innovation Council.

KAST is a registered non-profit society advocating for science and technology in the West and Central Kootenay and Boundary regions. KAST whose members live and work in the region, and represent a broad range of interests in local industry, business, education and government. KAST works to foster an educational, business and community culture that values science, technology, innovation and entrepreneurship as activities vital to maintaining and enhancing the competitiveness of the region.

 

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