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  • Writer's pictureKamloops Innovation

Kamloops Innovation Outlines Key Strategies for Sustainable Ecosystem Development

Comprehensive regional research reveals opportunities for impact on the business and innovation ecosystem.

 

In today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, encouraging innovation is crucial for driving economic growth and sustainability. Recognizing this, Kamloops Innovation (KI) set out to explore the Central Interior of British Columbia’s (B.C.) business and technology ecosystem. Between August and October 2023, KI worked with a team of researchers to produce the Business and Technology Regional Ecosystem Mapping Report. In developing the report, the research team aimed to understand key themes, challenges, and opportunities across various sectors, ultimately paving the way for informed strategies and actionable objectives for potential future development in the region.  


Kamloops Innovation (KI) is a member of the BC Accelerator Network and was funded by Innovate BC to conduct the research and produce the report. With over a decade of experience in nurturing technology and innovation startups and more seasoned businesses in Kamloops and surrounding regions, and a track record of supporting the entrepreneurial ecosystem. KI brought invaluable expertise to the project. 


Michael Andrews, KI’s executive director, outlined the significant objectives of the report. “The report aims to enhance awareness and understanding of the technology and innovation landscape in British Columbia’s Interior region. It also aims to provide Kamloops Innovation with deeper insights into the businesses operating within the region, informing our organization’s services, and future research and development initiatives.” 


The project team collected data from online sources and reports and conducted interviews with local stakeholders.  


Several key learnings and themes emerged including the need for 


  • early-stage support for startups 

  • addressing the funding gap for growth stage companies 

  • prioritizing Indigenous partnerships and collaborations 

  • promoting diversity and inclusion in leadership 

  • addressing recruitment challenges and improving infrastructure 

  • Improving connectivity and technology training for First Nations Youth and communities 

  • integrating technology across sectors 

  • addressing the housing crisis 

  • mitigating climate change impacts 

  • promoting cross-sectoral collaboration for recruitment efforts 


The report also shared seven recommendations to encourage innovation in the region: 


  1. Develop Specialized Education: Establish specialized programs within academic institutions that focus on current programming gaps and address B.C.’s labour market outlook, including Business and Technology Management and AI education. 

  1. Support more than Early-Stage Businesses: Initiate funding programs aimed at closing any gaps in early ideation and scale-up stages but also targeting growth companies. 

  1. Promote Diversity and Inclusion: Encourage DEI initiatives and diverse leadership in private businesses to create a more inclusive workforce. 

  1. Enhance Infrastructure and Talent Acquisition: Address connectivity, housing, and talent acquisition issues in the resource and energy sectors. 

  1. Facilitate Indigenous Collaborations: Foster partnerships and initiatives with Indigenous communities respecting cultural values. 

  1. Combat Climate Change Impacts: Connect with technologies and strategies to counteract climate change effects on industries and communities. 

  1. Community Collaboration and Recruitment Marketing: Create platforms promoting the region's benefits and fostering collaborative efforts. 


By prioritizing collaboration and attracting investments, communities can collectively lay the foundation for long-term prosperity in the region. Moreover, tackling critical challenges like connectivity, funding gaps, housing shortages, and climate resilience remains essential for sustained ecosystem strength. 


Now more than ever, it is crucial to maintain a commitment to collective action and innovation. By strategically focusing on collaboration and resilience, KI will play its part in taking steps to pave the way for its emergence as a thriving hub of innovation and economic vitality. 

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