Rachelle Stein-Wotten

Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Gabriola Sounder

The B.C. government has provided nearly $13 million to rural economic projects in the second round of its Rural Economic Diversification and Infrastructure Program (REDIP).

Forty-one projects within coastal communities and on Vancouver Island received funding, including several projects in the Regional District of Nanaimo boundary and First Nations in the area.

REDIP grants are provided to projects that promote economic diversification, resilience, clean growth opportunities and infrastructure development.

In the first intake of REDIP (2022-23), the Gabriola Island Chamber received $100,000 for its Island MBA program, short for Islanders Managing their Business Acumen, and is aimed at helping businesses with skills development and business engagement. After a request for proposals for project management, the program’s first phase of two recently kicked off. A survey is open and focus groups for different industries to understand needs continue in May. Details are available at www.businessskillsstudy.gabriolachamber.ca. 

“We have a number of engagement opportunities currently underway, and look forward to being able to understand the business skills and needs of Gabriola so that we can advocate for programming in the coming years,” Gabriola Chamber’s executive director, Erin Udal, said.

Some areas of support the chamber could offer local businesses following the engagement phase could include digital tools, budgeting and logistics and infrastructure needs.

The B.C. governments says in its first two years REDIP grants will be distributed to 300 projects across the province. Applications for the 2024-25 REDIP intake will run July-October 2024.

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