Two new funds will help revitalize rural economies in northern British Columbia

On January 16, 2018, the Northern Development Initiative Trust announced two new funding programs that will support innovation projects in traditional northern British Columbia, Canada industries and key community-based strategic economic priorities. The Northern Industries Innovation Fund and the Strategic Initiatives Fund will provide up to $1.65 million annually in grant funding for projects throughout central and northern B.C.

These funds are part of the Trust’s ongoing response to mitigate the economic impact of the mountain pine beetle epidemic, with priority given to projects within the regions and communities most impacted by the pine beetle and decreasing timber supply.

Northern Development has a passion for growing the economy of central and northern British Columbia. Communities, First Nations and businesses of the north are leaders in creating jobs, new revenues and improving the quality of life in the region, and the Trust is dedicated to supporting their growth. The Trust combines funding with smart thinking and since 2005 has found more than 2,800 ways to say “yes” to projects that help the region thrive.

Northern Industries Innovation Fund

Following the success of the Forest Innovation Fund, Northern Development has restructured the program with a commitment of up to $750,000 annually to create the Northern Industries Innovation Fund and support innovation projects across a variety of northern industries.

The Northern Industries Innovation Fund will provide rebate funding up to $50,000 to a maximum of 50% of a project’s budget for small and medium enterprises deploying innovative technologies in industries such as mining, energy, agriculture, aquaculture and forestry.

By supporting applied research, the development of new or improved products /services and the testing of innovative equipment or technologies, the program will help the northern B.C. businesses improve their competitiveness, generate incremental revenue and create jobs.

Eligible companies must be privately owned, incorporated, have less than 500 employees, revenues less than $100 million and be operating within the Northern Development Initiative Trust region.

Applications will be accepted on an ongoing basis until the annual allocation for the fund is exhausted.

Strategic Initiatives Fund

The Strategic Initiatives Fund is a new proposal-based program that allows municipalities and First Nations to apply for grant funding to support significant projects that focus on long-term economic transformation and sustainability.

The program is supported with a $900,000 commitment from Northern Development with grant funding only limited by the annual funds allocated to the program, up to 80% of a project’s value.

The program allows Northern Development to support strategic projects that may not otherwise fit into its suite of programs, but that are large in scale, regional in impact, enhance a community or multiple communities’ ability to overcome economic challenges and will result in incremental capacity or strategic economic infrastructure within a municipality or First Nation.

Applications for the Strategic Initiatives Fund will be accepted until March 15th with funding decisions determined in April.

Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development in British Columbia, said “These two new funding programs complement my ministry’s rural development mandate. Supporting innovation is just one way our government is ensuring the growth of diverse, sustainable economies in B.C.’s northern communities.

Photo of Emerald Lake, British Columbia via Adobe Stock.

See Northern Development Initiative Trust website.

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