The Capital Regional District (CRD) and the Community Economic Development Commission (CEDC) have received a Rural Dividend grant to further develop a shared business services model for Salt Spring Island. The grant in the amount of $90,750 will go toward development of a shared services organization that helps local business increase their economies of scale through better coordination around common needs.
“This grant is a welcome step forward in establishing a sustainable model for delivering shared business services,” said Gary Holman, Electoral Area Director for Salt Spring Island. “It will help to grow and broaden our economy and recruit and retain business investment on the island. I would also like to extend my congratulations to the CEDC and former Director Wayne McIntyre who were instrumental in securing Salt Spring’s eligibility for the Rural Dividend Program.”
Salt Spring Island businesses are challenged by limited access to markets, elevated costs for many core business services, and a limited and costly ferry connection to the mainland that makes exporting to nearby markets a major challenge.
“Through this Rural Dividend grant, Salt Spring Island is poised to further develop a sustainable entrepreneurial ecosystem,” said Francine Carlin, Chair of the CEDC. “This will serve to create year round employment and build economic capacity within our island’s protected rural environment.”
In 2018, the CEDC commissioned a feasibility study to explore options for creating a shared business service organization to support local businesses. A co-op model emerged from the study as a way to operationalize a distribution and export hub, share marketing and sales resources, and create a pooled labour force.
The CRD gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Province of British Columbia. The Rural Dividend Program assists rural communities to reinvigorate and diversify their local economies. Grants are awarded to support projects that contribute to community economic development, economic diversification and capacity building.
For more information on the Salt Spring Island CEDC, please visit http://opportunitysaltspring.ca