Economic Development Cowichan will receive $70,000 from the Island Coastal Economic Trust to hire an analyst.
As well, ICET is funding the Ladysmith Chamber of Commerce $50,000 to hire an economic recovery specialist, and the Stz’uminus First Nation will receive $50,000 to hire a business recovery advisor.
The positions are among 20 new, temporary, positions in 17 rural communities on Vancouver Island that will be hired under the second intake of ICET’s economic recovery program, thanks to funding from the province.
Through both intakes to the Rural Business and Community Recovery Program, a total of 37 new positions will be created to support communities with populations under 25,000.
The $1.83 million in funding from the province will support 10 regional and sub-regional positions, 22 new jobs in communities under 5,000 and five positions in other communities with populations under 25,000.
“From the start of the pandemic, the B.C. government has been committed to seeing that people, communities and businesses receive the supports they need to fully recover and succeed in the long term,” said Ravi Kahlon, minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation.
“This program helps ensure communities throughout the ICET region have the tools and resources to become stronger and more resilient.”
Economic Development Cowichan’s new economic development analyst will be a part-time position that will coordinate the delivery of direct business recovery supports in the rural areas of the Cowichan Valley Regional District.
This will also include work with stakeholders and groups to implement sub-regional economic recovery initiatives and support to advance recently completed community economic development plans, such as those in Shawnigan Lake, Cowichan Bay and Cobble Hill.
The Stz’uminus First Nation’s new business recovery advisor, which will also be a part-time position, will support the Coast Salish Development Corporation’s group of businesses to re-imagine and adapt their business models and strategies to address the challenges and opportunities of the post-pandemic business landscape.
This will include an increased focus on digital delivery, domestic procurement and market diversification.
The Ladysmith Chamber of Commerce’s new economic recovery specialist is a full-time position that will be responsible for developing programs and services to support immediate stabilization and recovery for business, including personalized one-on-one coaching and referrals.
The specialist will also be responsible for business retention and expansion information gathering, as well as the development of the response and supports to address both challenges and economic growth opportunities.
Aaron Stone, chairman of ICET and mayor of Ladysmith, said that it’s encouraging to see that 85 per cent of funding in the second intake is being targeted to communities under 5,000, with half of these projects situated in Indigenous communities.
“Smaller, rural and remote communities have big needs,” he said.
“They also have big ideas that these resources will help bring to life.”