Venture Kamloops is working to grow the economy one store at a time.
Its successful VK Accelerate program, which launched last year and helped to get the new retail shop Far and Wide off the ground downtown, will expand in 2019 from one business to many more applicants, all of whom are leaning on Venture Kamloops for business start-up support.
“This is our way to, one business at a time, build the economy with those storefronts,” Venture Kamloops executive director Jim Anderson said.
That program and other initiatives stem from the economic-development organization’s new five-year plan, one that will be implemented through 2023.
Focus will also continue to be on real-estate development, which has been worked on for about two years. Venture Kamloops previously compiled a package of data and information to distribute to real-estate developers throughout B.C., highlighting Kamloops as an opportune place to build, attractive due to its land affordability.
Anderson noted record-breaking construction values in Kamloops in 2018 and said Venture Kamloops will work to quantify quality of life and lifestyle analysis this year to further attract investment, in addition to that affordability factor.
As for the economy, Anderson projected two per cent annual growth in Kamloops over the next decade and touted the city for its economic diversity.
The city relies heavily on natural resource extraction — mining, logging and other resources — but health care, education, government services and tourism contribute to the fabric of that economic diversity.
Anderson said diversity is important because it also helps to mitigate impacts of economic downturns.
“All those things are pulling together to help the economy grow,” he said.
Venture Kamloops provides confidential and complimentary support services to investors and entrepreneurs in order to promote economic development in the city.
Additionally, its Start Here 3.0 program — a partnership with Open Door Group and Community Futures to ensure entrepreneurs receive guidance from the right source locally — will grow to include Kamloops Innovation.