The city’s economic developmet officer has given her 2017 annual report to the city, which includes the office’s goals for 2018.
This is the first report from Rose Klukas in which she oversaw the city’s economic development for a full fiscal year. She came to the position in May of 2016.
Klukas’ report contains highlights of the economic development’s department activities throughout 2017, broken up into categories: Business Retention and Expansion, Investor Readiness, Collaboration, Opportunities and Communication.
Klukas says the launch of the department’s Modern Entrepreur Series went a long way in encouraging and supporting local business in 2017.
“Campbell River has seen a 40 per cent increase in new businesses over three years,” Klukas writes, “resulting in many first time entrepreneurs. These new businesses identified a need for support through mentorship, professional development and inspiration and networking events,” spawning the idea of the workshop series. Some of the 2017 events included such themes as “Growing Your Business,” “Funding Alternatives” and “Managing Your Digital Marketing.”
Those workshops will continue throughout 2018, Klukas says, and include guests such as Crystal Henrickson from Talent Collective in Vancouver discussing dealing with negative feedback, David Van Seters from Sustainability Ventures in West Vancouver discussing sustainability in business ventures and Shannon Ward from Ontrack in Whistler discussing sales strategies and consistency.
Last year also saw the creation of the economic development department’s Investment Portal, which went on to win the BC Economic Development Association Marketing Innovation Award.
The office also produced two award-winning videos promoting the community.
One of the things Klukas is most excited about for 2018 is the city’s participation in Siggraph, an annual computer graphics conference, usually held in Los Angeles but coming to Vancouver this year. The 2018 conference is being held in Vancouver, and Klukas says it is an excellent opportunity to promote Campbell River as an attractive place for tech companies to set up shop – one of her department’s major goals going forward.
In fact, this spring the city will also be issuing a Request for Proposals to create a technology attraction strategy for Campbell River.
“The RFP will evaluate how the existing technology sector can be expanded and how new technology-based companies, skilled technology workers and increased technology investment can be attracted to Campbell River,” Klukas says. The strategy is expected to be developed by the fall and will be paid for through a grant received last year from Island Coastal Economic Trust.
In terms of communication, Klukas says, the department published four issues of their quarterly newsletter, In The Spotlight and grew their Facebook page from only 40 to over 300 followers over the course of 2017. They also met one-on-one with many local businesses “to discuss their opportunities and challenges.”
Upon presenting her report at council’s most recent public meeting, Coun. Larry Samson asked how economic development and the Chamber of Commerce work together to avoid duplicating services.
“That’s a good question, because we do similar things,” Klukas says. “We meet regularly with the Chamber of Commerce to address work plans and hopefully work in collaboration on projects to get the best value out of our budgets.”
You can see what else the economic developement department has been up to and their plans going forward by visiting campbellriver.ca/business-economy