Island Coastal Economic Trust Launches Program to Strengthen Rural Communities and Businesses

Provincially funded initiative supports creation of temporary employment in rural areas - A new Island Coastal Economic Trust (ICET) economic recovery program addressing capacity challenges in rural, remote and Indigenous communities has launched, with funding from the Province of British Columbia.

The new Rural Business and Community Recovery Program (RBCRP) will provide full funding support for the creation of new, temporary, term positions that strengthen business and community economic recovery and resilience. Projects must be located in eligible rural areas, which include Vancouver Island north of the Malahat, Capital Regional District Juan de Fuca, Salt Spring Island and Southern Gulf Islands electoral areas, the Sunshine Coast, Powell River, as well as Bowen Island.

“This is a timely initiative supporting nimble, community-based and regional economic recovery,” says ICET Board Chair Aaron Stone. “We are grateful to the Province of BC for the opportunity to leverage existing talent and opportunity within our region. This program has been tailored to community needs and will enhance our life-cycle approach to community development and economic diversification.”

Funded employment opportunities may include one-on-one business support services, implementation of community, regional or sub-regional economic recovery strategies or delivery of innovative approaches to rural economic recovery and resilience. Up to $70,000 is available per organization (one or more positions) or up to $125,000 for pooled or specialized services serving a broader regional or sub-regional geographic area.

Recognizing that rural, remote and Indigenous communities with populations under 5000 face unique challenges, the program will also enable these communities to use the new positions to support foundational economic development and diversification activities.

“Recovery from the economic impacts of the pandemic is of the utmost importance, especially for our rural communities,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. “Expanding the range of ICET to include rural areas outside their normal borders is just one way that we are focused on getting this recovery funding to as many rural communities as possible.”

The $1.5 million economic recovery funding administered by ICET is part of a total $4.5 million the Province of BC is providing to three regional trusts, including Northern Development Initiative Trust and Southern Interior Development Initiative Trust.

“We created StrongerBC, the province’s economic recovery plan, to protect people’s health and livelihoods and invest in stronger communities and a brighter future,” said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation. “This program gives our three economic trusts more resources to address their business and community development needs during the pandemic.”

The ICET Rural Business and Community Recovery Program is open to local governments, Indigenous communities and non-profit organizations, including economic development, industry and business support organizations.

The first application intake closes March 12th, 2021. The second application intake will close on April 9th, 2021. For more information, including guidelines and application forms, please visit the Rural Business and Community Recovery Program website.

All interested applicants are strongly encouraged to attend a 30-minute Zoom information session prior to submitting an application. Pre-register for one of the following meeting dates: Monday, February 22nd (12-12.30pm); Wednesday, February 24th (12-12.30pm); or Monday, March 1st (12-12.30pm).

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Salt Spring News

By Salt Spring News

Salt Spring Exchange news and editorial account for general public news, community contributed stories and official news releases.

February 18, 2021 5:36 PM

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