According to the guest speakers at Castlegar’s first economic forum, things are looking good for the Kootenay economy.
Castlegar and District Economic Development hosted the State of the Kootenays: An Economic Update on Thursday at the Sandman Hotel.
The event sold out weeks before and based on its success, Castlegar’s economic development manager Mark Laver says it is likely to become a regular event.
Laver thought the main take-away from the evening was covered by the keynote speaker, economist Helmut Pastrick — primarily that Castlegar and the Kootenays are a region on the upswing.
“That aligns with a lot of the positive things we have seen in the community in the last couple of years — growth in businesses, unemployment trends going down, new buildings go up,” explained Laver.
Each presenter at the event brought a unique perspective to the table.
Selkirk College president Angus Graeme spoke about how important the college is to the local economy.
Ken Kalesnikoff of Kalesnikoff Lumber highlighted how keeping local businesses growing and strong encourages the broader local economy to do the same.
Pilar Portela, CEO of I4C Innovations, showed that high-tech businesses can be run from from small communities and talked about changing the mindset that entrepreneurs need to go to large cities to be successful.
“I am so humbled and honoured by the sponsorships and ticket sales,” said Laver. “It is a real testament to the business community.”
Profits from the event will be divided between a Selkirk College scholarship and support for a high school tech trip Laver is organizing in order to expose local teens to the wide variety of technology jobs that are available.