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Northwest BC Economic Network

In August, 2012, economic development practitioners in Northwest BC formed an information-sharing network called the Northwest BC Economic Network and asked SNCIRE to coordinate the network's activities. The group`s formation was based on several meetings, a detailed survey and input into terms of reference. Operating funds were expected to come from economic development organizations (over $33,000 pledged) and outside sources. Significant contributions by the Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine, District of New Hazelton and SNCIRE supported the startup of the network.

SNCIRE created a low-cost, informal website (www.nwbcen.org), built a contact list, circulated news of regional interest and organized occasional meetings for several months. Activities slowed and then halted when it became apparent that many economic development practitioners were directing their funding and attention to another regional initiative, the Invest in Northwest BC website. SNCIRE applauds this initiative but still sees the need for a regional information-sharing/collaboration network. SNCIRE will attempt to fill this niche within its own communications.

Benefits
As envisioned by the NWBCEN terms of reference:

  • Economic development practitioners throughout the region are informed of who is who and what economic development initiatives are happening.
  • Informed economic development practitioners and established relationships will facilitate collaboration on regional matters.
  • Communities with insufficient economic development capacity will gain from regional efforts.
  • Regional economic development issues will be identified and discussed.

Rationale
Economic development practitioners have a big role in the transition to a new resource-based economy. Communities and existing economic development organizations may have limited capacity and their mandates are focussed on local communities or sub-sets of the region. Sharing information and collaborating on regional goals will be essential to address the challenges faced in this region