March 2024 - Newsletter

In this issue

Based out of Williams Lake, Terraforma Environmental Ltd. is a leader in innovative reforestation and reclamation work. New solutions to reclamation include the use of pines and other early seral (shrubs, such as ceanothus, and hardwoods, usually in tree form, such as red alder, bitter cherry and big leaf maple) species as well as soil microbials to direct the process of soil development towards post disturbance conditions.

In 2022, Terraforma President, Becky Bravi, successfully applied for a $50,000 Northern Industries Innovation Fund rebate to undertake proof of concept research for microbial fermentation. Microbial fermentation is a new and emerging area of technology whereby micro-organisms are optimized to produce large amounts of intermediaries such as food supplements, pharmaceutical products and other important compounds.

Photo supplied by Terraform Environmental

The biggest gains to be had in this emerging area of technology are from the discovery and optimization of new organisms and utilizing them to create circular economies – consuming industrial waste etc., while producing high quantities of valuable commercial products.
During this project, Terraforma focused on gathering and isolating more than 20 types of tiny living organisms (microbes) that can both produce useful substances and break down industrial waste. These organisms were then frozen and stored at the University of Laval in Montreal to keep them safe for future studies.

DNA was extracted from all the collected microbes to determine which ones were unique, which ones were similar to each other, and which ones had been found by other scientists before. This was completed using techniques that help look at specific parts of their genetic material.

Terraforma also experimented with different nutrient mixes to find the best ones to help these microbes grow immediately. These mixes were then improved to help the microbes grow even better during experiments.

Photo supplied by Terraforma Environmental

Experiments were conducted in Montreal with 18 of these microbes to see how much they grow and what kind of nutrients they use. Terraforma discovered that several microbes can produce important nutrients, like EPA and DHA (which are not commonly found together), making them great for creating Omega-3 supplements for animals and people. Also, one type of microbe could produce a substance that might be used to make biodiesel, a type of renewable energy.

From these experiments, Terraforma determined how to grow these microbes in a controlled way, which is a good starting point for making these processes work on a larger scale. While there is still more to learn, this project revealed that the idea could work and possibly lead to commercial products.

“The next steps include testing each organism’s ability to consume specific industrial waste products and identifying the metabolites produced when and if they do so,” said Bravi.

The objective of the Northern Industries Innovation Fund to support diversification and expansion through innovative projects that increase the competitiveness of local businesses in traditional industries across Northern B.C.

The Business Façade Improvement program provides esthetic benefits to businesses in communities across Northern Development’s region.

Introduced in 2013, the program provides funding to local governments, who in turn grant those dollars to local businesses for façade improvements. To date, Northern Development has approved $3.2 million in funding for 242 projects.

Local governments can apply for up to $20,000 each calendar year and those funds are granted to businesses for various types of improvements including facades, siding, murals, signage, lighting, awnings and patios.

The Village of Burns Lake improved the overall look and feel of three businesses through the Business Façade Program in 2021. Wildroots Flowers and Gifts completely updated its store front, the Beacon Theatre was able to add outdoor siding to two sides of the building and All-West Glass upgraded its façade with a new paint job.

Beacon Theatre – before and after

In 2022, the City of Williams Lake provided its business façade funding to four businesses for various esthetic improvements. The Royal Canadian Legion installed a new timber-front overhang, Daily Stash Cannabis replaced its front overhang and adding new siding and lighting on the front of the business. The Overlander Hotel used the funds to update the overhang at its front entrance along with updated parapet siding and the Red Shred Bike and Board Shop extended its roof parapet and added window overhangs, along with new siding and new signage.

Stash Cannabis – before and after

The District of Chetwynd also provided business façade funding in 2022 to three local businesses. The Tsekhene Community Development Corporation upgraded Duz Cho Construction with new paint and lighting. Swordstone Studios took advantage of the funding for new siding, entrance, stairs and signage. Finally, the local IGA completed an outside renovation including a new canopy, paint and signage.

Swordstone Studios before and after

On March 12, Northern Development, along with the BC Manufacturing Jobs Fund, will host a webinar designed specifically for the Northern communities of BC. Both organizations will be sharing program details, including eligibility, funding streams, and how to apply for funding.

The webinar is ideal for businesses located in Northern B.C. who are involved in manufacturing.

MJF has two funding streams: Project Readiness and Capital Investment. The streams support different stages of planning and launching capital projects. 

Stream 1 – Project Readiness provides up to 50% of total project costs to a maximum of $50,000 to develop final-stage operational and technical assessments or business and project planning for a capital project. Project Readiness proposals must lead to a planned capital project aligned with Stream 2.

Stream 2 – Capital Investment provides up to 20% of eligible total project costs with contributions ranging between $100,000 and $10 million for new or renovated manufacturing infrastructure, technology, equipment, and processes. Total project sizes should be between $500,000 and $100 million. 

Northern Development offers three Business Development programs that provide rebates to businesses engaging in external consulting projects to build capacity within the business or engage in innovative projects such as applied research and development or testing of innovative equipment or technologies.

Competitiveness Consulting Rebate Program – provides a rebate to small and medium sized businesses in eligible industries for customized consulting services.
A rebate of up to 50% to a yearly maximum of $30,000 can be recovered for the cost of external business consulting projects. Projects must focus on increased resiliency, productivity, revenues, profitability and/or job creation.

Small Business Recovery (SBR) Consulting Rebate – will reimburse eligible small and medium sized businesses (operators) for contracted consulting services. Businesses that are impacted by an economic downturn in Northern Development’s service region, and can demonstrate significant decrease in business health and profitability, are eligible to apply. A rebate of up to 85%, to a yearly maximum of $30,000, can be recovered for the cost of hiring a consultant to assist with business efforts.

Northern Industries Innovation Fund – offers incremental funding to match and leverage existing funding programs from provincial and federal organizations or private sector investments that have the potential to create new jobs and increase revenues in central and northern British Columbia. The program offers a rebate of up to 50% to a maximum of $50,000 per project.

This is a virtual event and is presented at no cost.

Registration and other details can be found here.