Thanks to new funding, entrepreneurs in Campbell River will be offered programming in the new year, to overcome challenges, work together and continue to grow.
Starting in 2016, the city’s economic development department has offered professional development opportunities with workshops and speaker series through its ‘Modern Entrepreneur Series Project.’ But now this project is set to expand, after Island Coastal Economic Trust (ICET) on Dec. 7 announced support for it with new funding.
The Modern Entrepreneur Series has aimed to help not only those who are already operating a business, but also those yearning to launch their business development or entrepreneurial ideas, said Rose Klukas, the city’s economic development manager.
Campbell River’s community of entrepreneurs is growing, said Klukas.
“It’s definitely a trend globally, and we’re seeing that here as well, which is great, because it is adding to the diversity of our local economy,” she said. “Even during the pandemic, we’ve seen new retail stores open, and we’ve seen some new restaurants and other food businesses open, as people enter the world of entrepreneurship.”
Many entrepreneurs now face similar challenges, such as disruptions in supply chains and shortages in the labour market. Programming that offers information and networking opportunities can help them overcome these issues, said Klukas.
“When you’re a business owner, sometimes you are silo-ed in your own business, because there’s only so many hours in the day,” she said. “So we are looking for ways to help businesses connect with each other, because then they can share best practices, share good ideas, and sometimes solve some issues quickly and easily.”
The new programming to be offered starting in 2022 includes a podcast, a speaker series, a virtual business hub, and a ‘hackathon.’
“The more businesses that tap into these services, the better,” she said.
As the funding was just announced, planning is still required to determine the focus and timing of these initiatives. They will be led by the city’s economic development department, in partnership with the Campbell River Area Angel Group (CRAAG).
“We are thrilled to be launching these new programs that will help develop and enhance our innovation ecosystem,” said Mayor Andy Adams, in a press release announcing the funding. “This is perfect timing, as we are seeing growing support for the local supply chain and the variety of programming components will encourage the creation of a diverse and accessible entrepreneurial network.”