The District of Squamish and its partners Squamish Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Squamish are the recipients of provincial funding to support local economic development initiatives. A grant of $116,500 from the BC Rural Dividend Fund will result in two key outcomes: a data initiative to get key industry information and analysis into the hands of local businesses; and a training and education program to be delivered across a continuum of local employment and sectors.
Of a total project budget of $194,500, the grant from the province will contribute 60 per cent, while the District, Squamish Chamber and Tourism Squamish will contribute the remaining 40 per cent. The project is expected to extend to 2019.
The data initiative will focus on the collection and distribution of data to inform evidence-based decision-making. Examples of data that could be provided include: industry/sector-specific data, business climate, demographic, and data to support community priorities such as housing and transportation. The project will consider how such data sets can be aggregated and analyzed, as well as made available to the local business community through an improved economic development portal at Squamish.ca and project partner sites.
The skills enhancement initiative will be developed to meet the unique needs of Squamish and will offer a training and education program to all levels of employees in the community including front-line customer service staff, trades, managers and executives. The program will help enhance employee engagement which has a direct impact on employee retention statistics and productivity. The grant funding will support the development of the program, and subsidize training and education.
The BC Rural Dividend Fund aims to help rural communities stabilize their economies and create long-term local employment. The funding complements the recently adopted Hardwired for Business Economic Action Plan 2017-2019, that is premised on one over-arching outcome for Squamish; that of increased sustainable economic development that raises the standard of living for all. The plan uses a fundamental approach towards economic development by considering three vital pillars of success; People, Business and Place.
“We are very pleased to receive this provincial funding which will directly benefit local businesses, and will be leveraged through a highly collaborative effort with our partners Squamish Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Squamish. This funding enables us to add value to the hard work of our local business owners by providing key tools to help them grow and prosper – to make informed, data-driven decisions, and support labour and skills development. We appreciate the province coming to the table with this funding to help support British Columbians in business success.”
Patricia Heintzman, Mayor, District of Squamish
“The Squamish Chamber is dedicated to supporting business and economic development. The education program is a key strategy to invest in Squamish’s workforce and help address labour challenges. Investment in the workforce enhances the skills-base in Squamish, and has proven to improve employee satisfaction and reduce staff turnover. This is a fundamental program to make Squamish a great place to live and work. We are very proud to work together with our partners at Tourism Squamish and the District of Squamish on this program, and grateful to the province for the investment.”
Christine Campbell, Chair, Squamish Chamber of Commerce
“One of the fundamentals of any growing business is making decisions based on sound information. Tourism Squamish, the representative organization for the rapidly growing tourism sector, believes that having detailed data is vital to identifying issues and opportunities for our members and the community at large. This data initiative will allow businesses to make better more informed decisions about our future based on reliable macro research. We are very excited to be working with the Squamish Chamber of Commerce and the District of Squamish on these programs.”
Kirby Brown, Chair, Tourism Squamish
The Squamish Chamber of Commerce is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life in the Squamish community by actively supporting business, economic growth and diversification. The Chamber takes a leadership role in advocating for the interest of Squamish business and provides member services such as networking and educational events, policy positions and partnerships with other organizations.