Dan Salekin of Columbia Networks shared his insights as a technology entrepreneur based in the Kootenays. (Submitted)

Entrepreneurs and innovators come together in Castlegar

Community members came together to build Castlegar’s culture of entrepreneurship and innovation.

Even the shining sun and 28-degree weather could not hold back a group of 35 enthusiastic community members who came together on May 4 to attend a workshop hosted at Selkirk College to build Castlegar’s culture of entrepreneurship and innovation.

“We’d like to bring together entrepreneurs, business students and community members with innovative products, services and ideas,” said Arry Dhillon, Councillor for the City of Castlegar. “By networking them with each other and connecting them with available business support agencies as well as other assets in the region we can create new entrepreneurs and innovative businesses in our community.”

Highlights of entrepreneurs and assets in the region that were shared included:

· Dan Salekin of Columbia Networks, who shared his insights as a technology entrepreneur based in the Kootenays;

· Terry Klapper of Kalawsky Chevrolet who talked about the trend toward electric vehicles and building an electric highway;

· Rhys Andrews of Selkirk College who talked about the asset that Castlegar has in producing students that can be engaged in the local business community;

· Erin Thompson of the West Kootenay EcoSociety talked about innovative opportunities to act on climate change; and

· Brian Fry of I4C Innovation talked about his interest in combining technology with the advantages of the region such as metals, wood and other natural resources and focusing together on ways that we can really leverage those strengths and pull together stuff that’s really interesting.

“Strategic Doing is a way to get things done,” stated Andrea Wilkey, Executive Director of Community Futures Central Kootenay. “In this process you determine where you want to go and then identify what could, should and will we do and when will we do it by. By linking and leveraging the assets of the people in this room and our community we’re able to create results.”

Workshop participants were invited to “Imagine a highly collaborative regional network of businesses and organizations working together to encourage and support innovation, entrepreneurship and business development in Castlegar &region.” and to identify projects to begin momentum toward this goal.

The projects identified included “Shed Talks” to inspire entrepreneurship in youth; “DiverseCity” – to facilitate the integration of under-represented groups to the local economy; and “Entrepreneur &Innovation Meet Ups” to build Castlegar’s entrepreneurship and innovation community. Participants will be meeting in the next 30 days to move their projects from idea to implementation.

To get involved join the facebook group Castlegar Entrepreneurs Network at https://www.facebook.com/groups/1346954708712211/.