Creating strong alliances in the world of enterprise is just one characteristic that had a Trail and District organization walking away with a distinguished provincial business award last week.
Read more: New economic development deal for Trail
Read more: LCIC – About Us
The Lower Columbia Initiatives Corporation (LCIC) beat out eight very accomplished competitors to win the Open For Business Award from Small Business BC.
“It is validating to know the collaborative approach to support economic development that the region has undertaken through the LCIC, is celebrated and seen as an innovative approach to supporting the business community,” Terry Van Horn, LCIC’s executive director, told the Trail Times.
“To be recognized from a provincial organization like Small Business BC, and with over 600 attendees at the gala, was an incredible opportunity to showcase the region and our economic success.”
The LCIC was asked to use an example of an initiative that it created to support business growth as part of submission.
“Of course, we used our regional branding strategy Metal Tech Alley,” Van Horn explained. “Where, again, we took a collaborative approach to market the businesses and region as a whole instead of individually, with the driving force from the community,” she continued.
“Which was considered very innovative and effective because when your businesses are helping to drive strategies, everyone stands up and listens.”
Van Horn says investment inquires have more than doubled in the past two years, 19 new jobs have been created locally, and revenues for the region increased by $5 million.
“(This) makes it easy to go back to our stakeholders and justify what contributions we have made to the local economy,” she added.
“It is very rewarding for the board and staff to be recognized on this level; to validate what we have been working on is in fact working and that we are on the right track. From a global perspective, and we are competing on a global scale, we are a very small rural region with limited resources.
“And to be able to undertake an initiative like Metal Tech Alley with the successes we have seen, demonstrates to all rural communities that economic development can be done.”
Accolade aside, the LCIC already has many more highly innovative plans and events in the works.
“We will continue with initiatives to support the Metal Tech Alley strategy, including undertaking a Circular Economy Supply Chain gap analysis to better understand where our supplies are coming from,” said Van Horn.
“(As well as) what our intermediate products are, and where our end products are going, so we can hopefully improve productivity and profitability of our businesses (and) identify potential new local opportunities for value added products.”
Also coming up is the Clean Energy BC Spring Conference, which the LCIC is hosting in Trail on June 4 to June 6.
“This is the first time the conference has ever been outside of the Lower Mainland to celebrate the region’s clean energy legacy of excellence that has been upheld for generations,” Van Horn said.
“With clean tech expertise, innovation, and economic development, the region undeniably sits at the heart of the renewable energy, clean industry revolution and we are thrilled to partner with CEBC (Clean Energy BC) to bring together the successes of industry and the community to the anticipated 200 participants.”
The Open For Business Award recognizes communities that have worked to provide space for entrepreneurship to grow.
The LCIC was up against some stiff competition in the medium category or municipalities ranging from 5,000 to 25,000 residents.
Those included the City of Merritt, Cranbrook, City of Parksville, District of Lake Country, Duncan, Kitimat, Town of Ladysmith, and the Township of Esquimalt.
The three finalists were the LCIC, Cranbrook and the Town of Ladysmith.
Winners of the 16th Annual SBBC Awards were announced at a gala event held in Vancouver on Feb. 21.