September 22, 2016, Victoria, BC – South Island Prosperity Project presented its five-year strategy to its founding members yesterday, with a focus on facilitating the success of businesses that create high-quality, household-sustaining jobs for the region.
“It is clear the South Island region is too dependent on a few sectors and our economy not dynamic enough to attract and retain a workforce to live and thrive here,” says Bill Bergen, chair of the board of directors. “To create more prosperity we need to work collaboratively with the whole region and build trust in the South Island Prosperity Projects’ ability to strengthen our economy.”
The strategy identifies specific goals and priorities:
- Business growth and expansion, including a minimum of 10 businesses supported through the Prosperity Project’s business connector program in its six-month pilot phase;
- 500 new direct jobs in targeted sectors, within the next five years;
- Priority sectors include
- Value-added agriculture and aquaculture
- Ocean technology and marinespace
- Aviation and aerospace
- Life Sciences and health
- Post-secondary education
- Professional services
- Clean technology
- Establishing a high median household income for the region, ranging from $45,000 to $100,000 + per year;
- Minimum of $6 million from private sector, provincial and federal sources invested in the South Island economy over the next 5 years;
- Higher engagement with First Nations communities, supporting self-directed economic development projects.
- 30 per cent increase in private sector funding for South Island economic development in 2017
- Priority sectors include
Created in 2015, the South Island Prosperity project is funded by 11 municipal and First Nations partners as well as 17 private sector, institutional and not-for-profit partners. It was created to support the growth of local entrepreneurial businesses and attract new businesses within target sectors in order to nurture better jobs in the region.
Following a 3-month period of extensive consultation and research that included sector experts, First Nations, research into potential gaps, overlaps and market opportunities, it became clear a collaborative, proactive approach is critical to the Prosperity Project’s success.
“In this early stage it is important we demonstrate how we add value and that our services are differentiated,” says Emilie de Rosenroll, executive director. “We are facilitators and problem-solvers, helping companies grow their business, move and invest here, so we can create a more prosperous economic environment which allows more of us to stay, live and work here.”
One example is Prosperity Project’s Business Connector Pilot Program, a concierge and business advisor service that supports existing growth-oriented businesses. Businesses which will strengthen the local economy with sustaining, high-paying jobs are chosen for high-value mentoring. This mentoring identifies issues and barriers, facilitates connections to trusted providers of solutions and resources while measuring and marketing the ongoing success of the business.
“Through a tool we have developed called the Prosperity Index, we will remain focused on those sectors and companies which will most likely result in sustainable job growth. These businesses must also commit to hiring locally and investing in our region,” says de Rosenroll.
“The good news is that we already have traction,” says de Rosenroll, who introduced its first four regional business clients to its pilot program – JSF Technologies, a clean tech traffic solutions company, Islands West, a regional agrifoods company, Prototype Equipment Design, a marine and aerospace prototype equipment design and manufacturing company, and Alpha Select, a regional film studio.
More information on the South Island Prosperity Project and the Five Year Strategy may be found at http://www.southislandprosperity.ca/