2013-2014 Annual Report
Change. Change? Yup, 2013-14 has been all about change. We all deal with change. Every day. In smaller and larger ways. We deal with it in our businesses, our suppliers, our communities and our personal lives. Here at KRIC we’ve been dealing with change for the last 12 months and more. In 2013-14 we have had changes in our Board of Directors, changes in our staff, changes in our coaches, and changes in the programs we deliver, let alone changes in the regional science and technology network and in our funders’ focus. Wow, that’s a lot of change. But there are consistent, stable aspects to our world too. We have continuity in our Board of Directors, in our staff, our coaches, our programs and our funders. And more than this, we still love working with engaged energetic businesses who are looking for new and better ways to make their existing business better, or who are seeking to start a new venture, or a new business stream. We continue to work with science, technology and manufacturing companies and with companies who are working to adopt technology and increase internal and external innovation. One step at a time, and in true Kootenay fashion, we’re making a difference in people’s lives so that they can contribute to the super organic network that makes the East Kootenay a vibrant, diverse and resilient place to do business.
Thanks also go to: New Ventures BC, Teck Coal, Fortis BC, the Discovery Foundation, BC Hydro, the City of Cranbrook, Golden and Area Initiatives, Kootenay Business Magazine, Kootenay Kwik Print, the College of the Rockies, Community Futures East Kootenay, the Microsoft Corporation and the BC Acceleration Network, and all the other organisations who have supported us this year.
Sheelagh England, Executive Director
The Highlights We ran a variety of programs and events throughout the region this year to help build a strong, resilient and active network of innovative small businesses and economic development practitioners. Our year’s highlights included: providing one-on-one business coaching to 23 businesses, completing 4 business booster sessions, bringing 5 clients into the Venture Acceleration Program, helping 11 businesses develop their positioning statements, hosting 2 workshops, 1 conference, 1 mentor panel session, and a networking event with the Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services, promoting more than 50 partner events and opportunities of interest to our network, publishing 12 feature stories in our monthly newsletter, providing targeted referrals and introductions for more than 20 entrepreneurs, and participating in 4 regional economic development events.
“The Kootenay Rockies Innovation Council is the organization we need now. KRIC is well organized and effective using digital technologies to break down geographic boundaries to participation. They understand entrepreneurship and offer programming that helps grow knowledge-based businesses.” ~ Kevin Wilson, Economic Development Officer, City of Kimberley
Building Regional Networks We get to do a lot of what we do through partnerships and networks. You’ll find us in coffee shops, offices and meetings contributing to some projects and leading others. You’ll also find us spending a lot of time on the phone, on email and in web-meetings to get around the geography challenge of our region. No matter what we are doing, we are always keeping an eye open for opportunities to support our region’s innovation economy and the continued growth of technology, science and manufacturing-focused businesses. We regularly participate in regional economic development meetings to increase our engagement with partners and figure out how we can collectively do more, better, faster for our region’s small businesses. In this fiscal year, we participated in the regional Economic Development Dialogue in Creston (May 22-23, 2013), the economic development media event in Sparwood (September 10, 2013), a City of Cranbrook-sponsored business creation and development workshop (October 30, 2013) and the Elk Valley Regional Economic Development Collaborative Forum (January 17, 2014), We distributed copies of our region-wide manufacturing and technology-focused Business and Retention and Expansion report to agencies, partners and businesses throughout the Columbia Basin, and also provided a detailed presentation on the findings to the City of Kimberley, the City of Fernie and the District of Elkford, and have plans to do the same for the Town of Golden this coming May. We’re working hard to be a hub for technology-focused businesses throughout the East Kootenay, and if we haven’t met you yet—we invite you to get to know us!
Venture Acceleration Program This year we were very pleased to welcome the Venture Acceleration Program (VAP) into the region. Focusing on technology start-ups as well as existing businesses in advanced communications technologies, digital media and web, electronics design and manufacturing, software development, mechanical and industrial technologies, and other advanced engineering disciplines, the VAP provides a structured format to allow businesses to rapidly assess and develop their business plan. The program is based on the condensed wisdom of Steve Blankâ€™s Customer Development Model and Eric Riesâ€™ Lean Startup Framework. In getting the program running, we welcomed into KRIC our two Executives-in-Residence, Kirk Hamilton and Don McCormick.
Don has 20 years committed to tech start-ups, including an early stage software company and an electronics manufacturing restart, which follows experience in large corporate environments, driving sales and building markets.
Kirk is an executive with international experience implementing strategies for technology adoption to capitalize on unique business opportunities in information technology, telecom, and manufacturing industries.
Don is the Principal of Synersales Management Inc. And is also a Director of Community Futures East Kootenay, Past President of the Kimberley Chamber of Commerce and a Past Director of Tourism Kimberley.
He is the Principal of Elan Tactical Management Inc. and is a member of the Institute of Corporate Directors and trained in Board Effectiveness for Small and Medium sized businesses.
Business Coaching This year we continued our Business Coaching Program and provided free business coaching services to 23 technology and manufacturing-focused East Kootenay entrepreneurs. We also offered “business booster” sessions to work intensively with our coaching clients; 4 companies took the intensive sessions working on exporting, technology solutions, cash flow and increasing their profit margins. 11 businesses also worked on creating or revising a positioning statement for their business and used their coach for guidance and perspective on their business. Our experienced coaches, Andre Labine, Tim Dionne, Katie Wells and Larry Sparks provided meaningful support and advice to businesses ranging from first-time entrepreneurs at concept through to established multi-million dollar businesses looking to improve in a particular area. “I’d often wondered about bringing in a consultant to help me identify and address weaknesses in my business, and I’ve been very impressed by the volume of tangible and significant benefit that my coach has provided in the brief amount of time we’ve worked together. It’s not just producing documents and recommendations; KRIC business coaching really delivers.“ — Dave Best, Best Impressions “Small vendors often end up being isolated and it can be hard asking for help, but working with a business coach makes that easy, and with their experience they can often find answers to questions that I have spent days unsuccessfully researching. Business coaching gave me confidence, direction, focus, validation and hope.“ — Kathy Lind, Apple Island Naturals
Manufacturing and Technology Sector Initiative Manufacturing and Technology Sector (MATS) is a two-year Columbia Basin Trust initiative supporting economic diversification and development in the Columbia Basin with a focus on the manufacturing and technology sectors. Delivered in partnership by KRIC and the Kootenay Association for Science and Technology (KAST), MATS focused on the development, retention and expansion of manufacturing and technology businesses, who are key regional employers and community members. The project is a pilot project which aims to support manufacturing and technology-related businesses in overcoming sector-specific challenges. MATS touched many of KRIC’s activities over the past year, including: 2 workshops, “The 7 Deadly Sins in Selling” and “Learning to Manage the Time Creep: Time Management and Productivity”; The final sessions of the LEAP networking and mentoring program; The analysis, reporting and dissemination of the results of the Business Retention and Expansion (BRE) initiative report (available at issuu.com/kootenaykric); Development of a virtual incubator website, branded the Business Sherpa (businessherpa.ca); The Basin Business Blender conference, held in June 2013; and KRIC’s business coaching program.
The Basin Business Blender June 6, 2013 The Basin Business Blender was a 3-part event consisting of a skill development workshop focused on identifying and promoting your business’ “better benefit”, a networking opportunity, and an evening keynote, “Rallying Regional Innovation”. Presented by Jim Bottomley, the workshop and the keynote were both highly rated. Stephen Wik of Rocky Mountain Print Solutions commented: “This is the second KRIC workshop I've been to in recent months, and both have been excellent. I have already started applying the principles I learned at the Blender in my business, bringing the better benefit message to our clients." In addition to the presentation in Cranbrook, the keynote was also streamed live to the College of the Rockies campus in Golden so that attendees from Simon Fraser University’s Community Economic Development course could also attend.
Business Sherpa The Business Sherpa is a digital portal which supports the development of manufacturing and technology focused companies at all stages of the life cycle, from concept to maturity. In development over the last 2 years, the Sherpa is now fully operational. It includes a place to see your favourite resources and a coaching environment which allows time, effort and success to be tracked and rewarded in conjunction with KAST and KRIC's business coaching programs. The Sherpa website has also inspired the development of a Twitter personality (@BasinBizSherpa) that offers tips, tricks and event updates of interest to small businesses in the Columbia Basin.
Workshops and Networking Events Learning to Manage Time Creep March 12 & 13, 2014
Celebration of Technology with Minister Wilkinson October 16, 2013
Following the highly successful Scope Creep workshop last year, KRIC brought presenter Janice Otremba to both Cranbrook and Golden to deliver a multi -faceted half day workshop on time management. Feedback from the event was excellent, including the following from Don McCormick: “Managing time is a tough topic, and if you take the time to attend, it had better be good! And it was. Janice did not preach platitudes, but focused on what effective use of time means to your business…and by extension to you.”
innovation in the East Kootenay, its importance to the local economy, and the availability, through KRIC, of the BC Venture Acceleration Program. Seven businesses also participated in a fun 1-minute pitch competition, with the winner being Steve Fisher from Golden Environmental Mat Services.
The 7 Deadly Sins in Selling September 25, 2013 KRIC celebrated the East Kootenay’s technology, innovation and the knowledge economy with the Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services, the Honourable Andrew Wilkinson, with the Managing Director of the BC Acceleration Program at the British Columbia Innovation Council, Dean Prelazzi. Attended by a broad spectrum of politicians, economic development stakeholders and businesses, the event highlighted the diversity of technology
With support from New Ventures BC, KRIC brought Ian Selbie, internationally renowned sales expert, to Cranbrook for an exceptional workshop on how to transform your business into a more efficient sales organization. Covering lead identification, qualifying potential customers, positioning your company, assessing customer needs, earning customer engagement and leveraging reference customers, the presentation walked participants through a proven methodology for growing their business’ sales. 8
Meet Our Team Board of Directors
Jordan Eliason (Board Chair) Cranbrook
Tracey Buckley (Vice Chair) Golden
Cori Barraclough Kimberley
Chris Botterill Cranbrook
KC Dyer Creston
Executives in Residence
Don McCormick Kirk Hamilton
Hugh Moore Cranbrook
Bill Sanderman Cranbrook
Management and Staff
Sheelagh England Executive Director
Tara Penner Project Manager
Steve Crowe Social Media 9
Board of Directors The Board represents a geographically and demographically diverse group of dynamic professionals from a broad range of segments of the regional economy. Jordan Eliason, Board Chair, Cranbrook ~ Owner, RBBS Telecom Inc. Jordan is a young experienced ICT Professional who enjoys working with enterprises to develop and implement telecommunications systems. Tracey Buckley, Vice Chair, Golden ~ Wireless Technology Professional, Apex Wireless Tracey is an engineer with experience in mobile app development and consulting, who now works in the mobile telecommunications industry. Cori Barraclough, Kimberley ~ Principal, Aqua-Tex Scientific Consulting Ltd Cori is a freshwater ecologist and project manager who helps local governments and neighbourhoods manage and protect their water resources. Chris Botterill, Cranbrook ~ Owner, Genex Marketing Chris helps businesses to more effectively engage their target audience through the use of innovative web technologies and measurable digital marketing strategies. KC Dyer, Creston ~ Owner, Digital Imagination Marketing KC is an IT consultant, specializing in SME network infrastructure and cloudbased client management. He also works as an entrepreneurial advocate and employment counsellor. Hugh Moore, Cranbrook ~ Student Recruitment, College of the Rockies | Owner, Hu.MAN Consulting Group Hugh brings an innovative approach to the many facets of his work. Focussing on the three elements of change he supports students and clients along their journey to success. Bill Sanderman, Cranbrook ~ Owner, Applied Compression Systems Bill designs and fabricates specialty gas compressor packages for the oil, gas, petrochemical, alternative fuel and waste-to-energy sectors.
KRIC Staff Sheelagh England, Golden ~ Executive Director Sheelagh has been living in Golden for 7 years and loving the easy access to outdoors. She comes originally from the world of process engineering and has over 20 years of experience in technology design and management. She’s all about supporting entrepreneurs to get where they want to go with their business. Whether it’s big hairy audacious dreams, or small town technology dreams, she thinks you should do it! Tara Penner, Kimberley ~ Project Manager Tara moved to Kimberley in 2008 (for the lifestyle, of course), bringing with her more than 10 years of experience in document and data management. A true lover of technology with a not-so-secret passion for databases, she considers it an honour to support our region’s knowledge economy and the innovative, passionate entrepreneurs that choose to call the East Kootenay home. 10
Message from the Chair This seventh year of operations at KRIC has been full of exciting developments as we have rolled out the Venture Acceleration Program utilising virtual meeting technology to enable technology and science start-up businesses throughout the East Kootenay to join into this Province-Wide Program of mentorship and coaching. Our two Executives-In-Residence are working with and are available to local entrepreneurs to be a sounding board for new ideas and to help challenge business growth through the start-up business phase. I encourage any tech entrepreneur to leverage this cost effective resource to help you through the thick and grow your business. As Board Chair, I am extremely impressed with the outstanding representation of KRIC by our staff. It has been through their exciting innovations, hard work, persistence, and drive that we have been able to streamline and be here today. Thank you very much to our regional stakeholders, sponsors, volunteer board members, and alumni for their continued support and understanding of the great work which KRICâ€™s Mission and Values represent. It is through you that we are here today. ~ Jordan Eliason, Board Chair
Go ahead, talk to us! facebook.com/kricdotca twitter.com/kricdotca bit.ly/kriclinkedin issuu.com/kootenaykric Itâ€™s been an absolute pleasure sharing our 2013-14 year in review with you; we look forward to connecting again next year.