Northern Entrepreneurs Praise First Innovation Bootcamps

November 14, 2011

Innovation is alive and thriving in northern BC as evidenced by the turn out at the first-time Northern Innovation Bootcamps. Over sixty participants attended a one-day workshop session held in the communities of Fort St. John, Prince George and Terrace from November 1st to 3rd, 2011. The session was designed for entrepreneurs with a great idea who need to know the resources and support available to take their idea from concept to commercialization.

Northern Development Initiative Trust (Northern Development), in partnership with Sci-Tech North and the Northwest Science and Innovation Society (NSIS), hosted the Bootcamps which covered topics such as market research, research programs with co-op students, protecting intellectual property, financing innovation, powerful positioning, research tax credits, business programs, regional resources and selling to the government. The panel of federal, provincial and regional presenters included: BC Institute of Technology, BC Innovation Council, National Research Council – IRAP, Canada Revenue Agency – Scientific Research and Experimental Development, Public Works Canada – Canadian Innovation and Commercialization Program, University of Northern BC, College of New Caledonia, Community Futures, and Initiatives Prince George, as well as local entrepreneurs who shared their innovation journey with the participants.

Presenters at the Prince George Northern Innovation Bootcamp

“We want to make sure that entrepreneurs in the North have access to the same resources readily available to entrepreneurs in the Lower Mainland,” said organizer Renata King, Northern Development’s Regional Director, Business Development. Feedback from participating entrepreneurs was exceptional. One Prince George entrepreneur commented “I’m blown away by what is available to an inventor.” Christine Slanz, Executive Director of NSIS, said she did not expect the standing room only turnout in Terrace. “It makes you realize how much innovation is happening just below the radar and the importance of encouraging and supporting innovative entrepreneurs in our region.”

Toby Astill of the British Columbia Institute of Technology speaks to entrepreneurs in Terrace

What is planned next to help northern entrepreneurs? Manufacturing entrepreneurs, focused on competitiveness, profitability and operational efficiency improvements will be interested in the upcoming Manufacturers Executive Council, delivered for the first time in the North in partnership with Northern Development and Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters (CME). Additional business programs are also in development to help entrepreneurs prepare for and take advantage of the major capital projects expected for central and northern BC.  

Four Board Directors Appointed to Northern Development Board

Evan Saugstad, Provincial Appointee – Northeast Region

Evan Saugstad is the Chair of Northern Development and is retiring in December 2011 as the Mayor of Chetwynd after nine years in the role. When not busy with community politics, he works as a Community Coordinator with Spectra Energy on special projects and is now based out of Fort St. John.He has lived and worked in three of the four geographic areas of the Northern Development Initiative Trust; Bella Coola (born and raised), Prince Rupert, Atlin and Chetwynd/Fort St. John.

Evan’s past experiences include chairing the South Peace Economic Development Commission, Chetwynd and Area Economic Development Commission and as a Director of the Peace River Regional District. He is currently a Director of the Shock Trauma Air Rescue Society (STARS), headquartered in Calgary.

Life work experiences have included forestry planning and engineering, heavy equipment operator, pulp mill worker, air attack officer for forest fires, Federal water lands and forest inspector, trapper, professional big game and fishing guide and community consultation specialist.

Terry Kuzma, Provincial Appointee – Prince George Region

Mr. Kuzma,  RPF is the Woodlands Manager for the Carrier Group of Companies, a Director with the New Relationship Trust, Interex Forest Products Ltd., and Vice-President/Director of Sakaw Askiy Management Inc.

Working with the Carrier Group of Companies, Mr. Kuzma has been involved in numerous First Nation forestry related companies having served as a director of West Chilcotin Forest Products Ltd., Cheslatta Forest Products Ltd., and Carrier Janvier Forest Products Ltd.

Mr. Kuzma was a former board member of Initiatives Prince George and the British Columbia Forestry Association, Northern Interior. A graduate of the University of Alberta, Mr. Kuzma has a Bachelor of Science degree in Forestry. He also holds a Professional Forester designation in British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Alexander Pietralla, Provincial Appointee – Northwest Region

Alexander Pietralla moved to Terrace, BC in the summer of 2009. He was born in Graefelfing near Munich, Germany and holds a Master’s Degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Applied Sciences in Munich and an Economics Certificate from ESMT (European School of Management and Technology) in Berlin, specializing in Strategy and Leadership, Change Management and Innovation, and Entrepreneurial Thinking.

He worked as project manager in the automotive supply industry for Plastic Omnium SA in Frankfurt, Germany and Paris, France from 1998 until 2001. From 2001 until 2006, he was Magna’s Director of Sales for BMW Group and MAN AG, managing all relevant business activities with these customer’s in Magna’s office in Munich, Germany. The last three years before immigrating to Canada, Alexander worked for Draexlmaier Group in Vilsbiburg, Germany, as Divisional Sales and Administration Manager signing responsible for twenty-four staff members and $160 million in yearly turnover.

Mr. Pietralla runs his own consulting business in Terrace and is an elected member of the Board of Terrace Economic Development Authority (TEDA), BC Rural Network and Kitimat Terrace Industrial Development Society in Terrace and Kitimat. He is also the contracted Executive Director of Kitimat Terrace Industrial Development Society and works towards building a sustainable, diversified and responsible economy in the Northwest.

He enjoys his family life, is an avid skier and still believes he can one day master the game of golf. Other spare time activities include cooking, reading, and travelling.

Daniel J. Schilds, Provincial Appointee – Northeast Region

Danny Schilds has worked for over twenty-two years in the family owned Aspol Ford dealership in Dawson Creek. Previously, he taught grades five through twelve in the South Peace. Mr. Schilds holds a Bachelor of Education from the University of Alberta. He is currently the Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Northern Lights College Foundation and serves on the Board of the BC Ford Dealer Marketing Association.

Northern Development Initiative Trust Board of Directors
(back row from left to right) Mayor Dan Rogers, City of Prince George, Mayor Dave Pernarowski, City of Terrace, Mayor Mitch Campsall, District of 100 Mile House, Gerald Wesley, Provincial Appointee – Northwest Region, Mayor Evan Saugstad, District of Chetwynd, Chair Lance Hamblin, Regional District of Bulkley Nechako, Alexander Pietralla, Provincial Appointee – Northwest Region (front row from left to right) Mayor Stephanie Killam, District of Mackenzie, Janine North, Chief Executive Officer – Northern Development Initiative Trust, Councillor Lori Ackerman, City of Fort St. John. (Missing from photograph – Terry Kuzma, Provincial Appointee – Prince George Region and Danny Schilds, Provincial Appointee – Northeast Region)

Regional projects approved at the July 20th and October 19th, 2011 Northern Development board meetings:

Cariboo-Chilcotin/Lillooet Region Project Investments

Williams Lake Indian Band Pow Wow Arbour Revitalization – Williams Lake Indian Band
$30,000 grant from the Central Cariboo allocation toward the $90,000 project

The Williams Lake Indian Band will revitalize and improve the Williams Lake Indian Band Pow Wow Arbour, a community facility constructed for the purpose of conducting traditional and other events. The overall utility of the facility will be improved as well as accessibility for elders and people with disabilities by upgrading washrooms, pathways that will enable better wheelchair accessibility, lighting, and parking areas.

Nazko Valley Community Centre Office Expansion – Nazko Valley Community Centre
$3,400 grant from the North Cariboo allocation toward the $10,200 project

The Nazko Valley Community Center will construct office space to rent to the Quesnel Detachment of the RCMP as a community policing office that will service the communities of Nazko, located 110 kilometres west of Quesnel, as well as Kluskus, which is located 100 kilometers west of Nazko. Additional office space allows the Quesnel Employment Center to base employment services within the community.

Xat’sull Heritage Village Marketing Project – Soda Creek Indian Band (Xat’sull First Nations)
$3,457 grant from the Pine Beetle Recovery Account toward the $12,100 project

The Xat’sull Heritage Village plays a significant role for the Soda Creek First Nation and provides opportunities to share their history and culture with visitors from around the world. The heritage site provides employment for community members and also brings the elders and youth of the community together for learning opportunities. The marketing initiative will help to build awareness of this important cultural tourism facility.

North Cariboo Agriculture Awareness and Marketing Project – North Cariboo Agricultural Marketing Association
$7,262 grant from the Pine Beetle Recovery Account toward the $25,512 project

The North Cariboo Agriculture Awareness and Marketing project is designed to support the agricultural producers of the North Cariboo by promoting agriculture products and experiences to local communities and visitors to the region.

Northern Development funding will support several components of this marketing initiative, including brand development, farm fresh product mapping, sign development and installation, an information kiosk and website enhancement.

Northeast Region Project Investments

Tumbler Ridge Community Centre Upgrades – District of Tumbler Ridge
$30,000 grant from the Northeast Regional Development Account toward the $5.1 million project

As part of a multi-phase community centre upgrade project, Northern Development funding will directly support the installation of a new air purification system at the swimming pool. The District of Tumbler Ridge anticipates major cost-savings once this new high efficiency system is installed.

The air purification system installation will be completed alongside a major retrofitting of the building envelope. Planned improvements include new siding, trusses, beams, scaffolding, metal railings, roofing, gutters, wallboard, paint, and wall panels.

Little Prairie Community Forest Start-Up – Little Prairie Community Forest
$150,000 loan to support the start-up of operations from the Northeast Regional Development Account

The Little Prairie Community Forest is a joint venture between the District of Chetwynd, Saulteau First Nations and West Moberly First Nations. It will be approximately 13,884 hectares in size with a projected Annual Allowable Cut at 22,854 m3/year. The community forest is strategically situated between the communities of Chetwynd and Moberly Lake. The goal is to manage a sustainable harvesting level while maintaining all known biophysical, environmental, socioeconomic, and culturally significant values throughout the Little Prairie Community Forest.

Northern Development funding will directly support the field work and subsequent processing of the necessary applications to obtain approval to harvest timber.

Pine Valley Exhibition Facility Repairs – Pine Valley Exhibition Park Society
$30,000 grant and $25,431 loan from the Northeast Regional Development Account toward the $242,729 project

The Pine Valley Exhibition Park hosts numerous community events throughout the year. The facility consists of both an indoor riding arena and a large hall for public functions. The riding arena hosts many equestrian events, including High School Rodeos, team roping events, barrel racing events, children’s gymkhana events, as well as English equestrian events such as jumping and dressage. The hall is used for many community events and has a capacity of four hundred occupants.

Northern Development funding will support the replacement of the roof and installation of upgraded insulation which will have a significant impact on the operational costs of running the facility.

Northwest Region Project Investments

Queen Charlotte City Community Hall Upgrade – Queen Charlotte City Community Club
$10,000 grant from the Village of Queen Charlotte allocation toward the $32,500 project

The Queen Charlotte City Community Club will upgrade its forty year old community hall including the conversion of the hall’s furnace to energy efficient heat pumps as well as upgrading the electrical and lighting system towards the operation of the hall at an energy efficient level. The scope of the project will also include priming and painting of the metal siding to prevent its further deterioration and providing a fresh new look to the community hall.

The Society estimates that the new electrical system alone will reduce operating costs by at least an estimated $2,500 per year. Many organizations and groups use this facility including the Vancouver Island Library, Northwest Community College, Child Day Care Centre, Seniors Centre, Table Tennis Club, and Tai Chi Club.

Spirit Square Phase Two – Village of Queen Charlotte
$23,562 grant from the Village of Queen Charlotte allocation toward the $70,658 project

The Village of Queen Charlotte Spirit Square Project (Phase 2) is located on waterfront land between the Visitor Information Centre and the recently redeveloped harbor. The project includes the development of pathways, ground lighting, a drinking fountain, a memorial wall, and a paved Tai Chi Circle. The ground lighting enhances night time events and the building is an ideal public concert venue.

Burns Lake Legion Facility Renovation – Royal Canadian Legion – Branch 50 (Burns Lake)
$17,500 grant from the Village of Burns Lake allocation toward the $63,749 project

The Burns Lake Legion will undertake a major facility renovation project that will enable the Legion to continue operations, achieve financial sustainability, and improve the quality and breadth of services offered at the facility. This will improve the Legion’s ability to generate rental revenues as well as support community groups and events that rent the facility.

Telkwa Community Hall Kitchen Upgrade – Village of Telkwa
$9,000 grant from the Telkwa allocation toward the $119,200 project

The Village of Telkwa and the Bulkley Valley Kinsmen will renovate the kitchen in Telkwa’s community hall. Each year, the Kinsmen host locals, tourists, and visiting officials in an annual barbeque event at the ‘BBQ Grounds’ beside the community hall with attendance over the weekend of 6,000 people. 2012 marks the 100th anniversary of the Telkwa Barbeque. The Kinsmen and the Village of Telkwa are collaborating to complete the kitchen renovations so that the hall is available for their use on their 100th anniversary barbeque event in September of 2012.

Tweedsmuir Rod and Gun Club Facility Upgrade – Tweedsmuir Rod and Gun Club
$15,000 grant from the Village of Burns Lake allocation and $15,000 grant from the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako allocation toward the $101,912 project

The Tweedsmuir Rod and Gun Club will upgrade their facility to reduce energy costs and increase access to members of the public with mobility issues. Construction of a proper rifle range building will help to attract more participants to the 1,000 Yard Shoot and will provide the Club the opportunity to host a variety of shooting competitions, resulting in increased economic activity for Burns Lake and the surrounding area.

Decker Lake Hall Renovations – Decker Lake Recreation Commission
$24,000 grant from the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako allocation toward the $83,900 project

The Decker Lake Recreation Commission completed energy efficient upgrades and improvements to the main hall in 2009, which have resulted in reduced operating costs. Building upon this project, Phase two will provide significant upgrades to the kitchen, conduct interior design improvements, and construct a storage area for tables and chairs.

The project will benefit the Decker Lake Recreation Commission through increased rentals and the revenues generated through the increased rentals can be directed toward covering the costs associated with repairs, maintenance and supplies, which are purchased locally. In addition, the project forecasts temporary employment opportunities for local suppliers and contractors.

Iskut Community Hall – Iskut First Nation
$30,000 grant from the Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine allocation toward the $734,667 project

The Iskut Community Hall was built in 1977 and has not received any upgrades or renovations since that time. In June 2011, the Iskut Band began an extensive renovation project on the hall to bring it up to present safety standards and to provide an appealing conference/meeting space for other companies and organizations.

This community hall is a hub within the Iskut community that features various events throughout the year and by upgrading the hall, utilization will increase.

Dodge Cove Community Building Renovation – Dodge Cove Recreation Society
$11,000 grant from the Regional District of Skeena-Queen Charlotte allocation toward the $36,000 project

The Dodge Cove Recreation Society began renovations on the Dodge Cove Community Building in 2006. They have proceeded on a job-by-job basis as funds became available. The current phase of this renovation project will allow for energy efficiency upgrades, increased storage capacity, plumbing upgrades, new flooring and other improvements that will increase the use of the facility. Completion of this multi-year project will allow the Dodge Cove Recreation Society to better serve the community of Dodge Cove and the hall renters’ needs.

Masset Municipal Airport Upgrade – Village of Masset
$100,000 grant and $300,000 loan from the Village of Masset allocation toward the $2 million project

The proposed new Masset Municipal Airport terminal will create the opportunity to improve transportation infrastructure on Haida Gwaii and will create new employment opportunities and provide increased economic activity through additional tourism traffic and spending in the community.

Prince George Region Project Investments

PGX Regional Fair Re-Branding Initiative – Prince George Agriculture and Historical Association
$10,000 grant from the City of Prince George allocation and $10,000 grant from the Regional District of Fraser-Fort George allocation toward the $129,477 project

The Prince George Agricultural and Historical Association (PGAHA), which is celebrating the 100th anniversary of its Prince George Exhibition (PGX) in 2012, will undertake a comprehensive re-branding of the PGX Fair. The Society’s board is focused on celebrating the 100th anniversary by launching the PGX under a new brand, the “British Columbia Northern Exhibition.” The re-branding is proposed to further cement the Fair as a regional event, aid in attracting tourism to the event and to the community of Prince George, while raising the profile of this annual agricultural celebration across the province.

The materials to be developed under this project include a new logo, signage (including highway and billboard), media kit and campaign, website, radio jingle, graphics and other marketing materials including posters and cards.

Family YMCA of Prince George Renovation – Family YMCA of Prince George
$30,000 grant from the City of Prince George allocation toward the $554,614 project

The Family YMCA of Prince George will make substantive renovations to its lobby, locker rooms and hallways, and the exterior of the building. YMCA Canada is launching a new branding campaign in 2012, and the thirty-five year old building is in need of updating. The addition of a ‘Legacy Wall’ will formally recognize YMCA supporters and a central information display will enable the club to communicate news and events.

This renovation will allow the YMCA to incorporate future expansion plans, increase annual revenues by about $400,000, and improve program offerings to the community.

Start-Up Financing for BC Offshore Certified School Program – School District No. 91 Business Company
$1.5 million loan to support the start-up of the BC Offshore Certified School program

The project will result in the operation of three BC certified offshore schools located in Beijing and Xianghe, China. These schools will educate Chinese students partially in China and partially in BC through a strategic alliance of eleven school districts. Within six years of commencement of operations, an annual total of 2,075 students are expected to be educated in China and an additional 425 will attend school in northern BC. Students will attend from grades ten through twelve studying BC certified curriculum taught by BC certified teachers. Upon satisfactory completion of academic requirements, students will be awarded the BC Dogwood graduation diploma.

The proceeds from this project will provide incremental unrestricted revenue to the School District located from Vanderhoof through to Burns Lake to support initiatives important to communities such as trades training, music programs, and curriculum enhancement.

Governance Essentials Scholarships Program for Directors of Not-For-Profit Organizations
$1,000 Scholarship from the Cross-Regional Account towards $2,500 Institute of Corporate Directors Course Fees

A $1,000 scholarship was approved towards the $2,500 registration fee for the Institute of Corporate Directors “Governance Essentials Program for Directors of Not-For-Profit Organizations” for Carla Johnston, Prince George Downtown Business Improvement Association.

Northern Development Business Incentive Programs

Competitiveness Consulting Rebate

The Competitiveness Consulting Rebate program provides small and medium sized manufacturers, resource processing companies, and their first line suppliers with a rebate of 50% of the cost of business competitiveness consulting. This will increase productivity, revenues, and profitability for operations located within the Northern Development Initiative Trust region and helps businesses access consulting experience at a similar cost to those businesses located in a major city. Since 2009, a total of ninety-two businesses have accessed the program for cost sharing assistance on the expertise to grow their business.

Northern Industry Expansion Program

The Northern Industry Expansion program is a loan guarantee partnership agreement that targets small and medium-sized businesses in central and northern BC’s resource processing, manufacturing and supply sectors. It provides eligible projects and borrowers with the opportunity to access loan guarantees from Northern Development for up to 25% of a loan with the Business Development Bank of Canada. A total of $15 million has been dedicated to this program by Northern Development. This loan guarantee program expands the capital pool available to small businesses in the region.

To date, a total of five projects totalling $3,191,253 have been approved with a total project investment in the Northern Development region of $24,750,000.

To learn more about Northern Development Initiative Trust, visit:

For more information, please contact:

Janine North
Chief Executive Officer

Northern Development Initiative Trust
Telephone: 250.561.2525