Regional investment portals win wide acclaim

March 8, 2013

After three years of hard work on the part of communities and regional districts throughout central and northern B.C. – the province’s first four investment portals are up and running to wide acclaim.

In January, Northern Development Initiative Trust, in collaboration with communities throughout the Cariboo, launched the fourth and final investment portal – Invest Cariboo-Chilcotin Coast BC.

The site features an interactive map that identifies key major projects and investment opportunities throughout the region, including specific details about each project. In addition, the website includes comprehensive profiles of regional communities and relevant information to showcase the CaribooChilcotin Coast as a preferred place to invest.

“I applaud the work Northern Development Initiative Trust is doing on behalf of our community and region to spur economic development,” said City of Quesnel Mayor Mary Sjostrom. “By collaborating on innovative initiatives such as this one, we strengthen our individual economic diversification programs, while broadcasting the area’s investment opportunities to the world.”

Local government economic development offices throughout the region played a critical role in the development of Invest Cariboo-Chilcotin Coast BC, developing content for community profiles and working with business and industry partners to develop profiles of key investments.

“The Invest Cariboo-Chilcotin Coast web portal offers great opportunities for investment and economic development within the central B.C. region, “stated Cariboo Regional District Chair Al Richmond. “This site will also provide so much needed awareness to our region and its importance as an economic driver for the province of British Columbia’s economy.”

Invest Cariboo-Chilcotin Coast BC is the fourth and final investment portal of its kind developed to showcase the incredible amount of economic activity underway across central and northern British Columbia.

“Partnered initiatives like this project benefit local economies and foster greater regional collaboration,” said Williams Lake Mayor Kerry Cook. “A regionally based web portal is an effective marketing approach to connect potential investors with Cariboo-Chilcotin Coast opportunities and educate those circles about important economic linkages between our communities. We are excited about the value of this website as an economic development tool in not only promoting opportunities but assisting us in enhancing communication with the private sector.”

Invest Northwest BC, Invest North Central BC and Invest Northeast BC were the first investment portals of their kind in B.C. and were launched in 2012, quickly earning tremendous support from the business community and investors both in B.C. and abroad.

“These investment portals are not only important tools that help communities connect with potential investors, but also evidence of stronger partnerships and collaboration throughout central and northern B.C.,” said Janine North, Chief Executive Officer, Northern Development Initiative Trust.

Invest Northwest BC, the first of its kind, was launched last spring and has since gone on to win a ‘Technology Provider of the Year Award’ at a gala during the 10th annual B.C. Natural Resources Forum.

Since its launch, Invest Northwest BC has had more than 36,000 unique web visitors from around the world. Close to 90% of the visits originated from North America. Some 66% of the people who visit the site are new to it, while more than 33% are return visitors.

Derek Baker, economic development officer for the Prince Rupert and Port Edward Economic Development Corp., said approximately 90% of the investment inquiries he fields regarding land and business opportunities gathered his contact details from Invest Northwest BC.

“This is a welcomed trend as we are now dealing with knowledge based inquiries rather than preliminary information seeking inquires,” said Baker. “It has also given us a great opportunity to stay in touch and up to date with industry partners while also creating an image for our region as an investment/development friendly environment.”

Evan van Dyk, economic development officer at the Terrace Economic Development Authority, echoed Baker’s comments.

“Invest Northwest BC has been the most valuable economic development tool for Terrace,” said van Dyk. “It has generated dozens of leads of potential investors looking to locate in Terrace. Local business owners have used it to learn of new projects and find contact information of the companies they hope to contract for.”

Northern Development and its partner communities throughout central and northern B.C. will continue to monitor the success of the investment portals.