Helping small/medium businesses enter or expand into the Digital Economy

NANAIMO – In April 2020, in partnership with Island Coastal Economic Trust (ICET), Innovation Island Technology Association (IITA) launched the Digital Economy Restart, Recover, Reimagine Program (DER3). DER3 was created to tackle the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis in the region and ICET’s initial funding was the catalyst for the first phase of program delivery.

Innovation Island is now pleased to announce additional funding and support with Western Economic Diversification (WD) that will extend the program through December 2020. Early successes of this initiative have also gained province-wide recognition, and the program will now be expanded with additional delivery partners. Under the BC Technology Sector Resiliency Program, developed by Innovate BC, (with funding support to WD through Innovate BC), Innovation Island will lead, train and mentor the other BC Acceleration Network (BCAN) partners to scale and expand the DER3 program to their regions.

Graham Truax is Executive Director of  Innovation Island

“We recognize that these are challenging times for many businesses in our region. The needs on the ground range in size and scope but they’re also very fluid and dynamic with respect to the transition phases of restarting and recovering economic activity. As businesses reposition their focus and efforts, we’re also seeing creative solutions to changing consumer behaviours and marketplace opportunities, entrepreneurs will fill any void!” says Graham Truax, Executive Director of  Innovation Island.

“Vancouver Island (and now the province) has a clear opportunity to adapt to the changing economy by encouraging the adoption of digital tools and platforms, as new revenue generators or hybrid models, for businesses across all sectors,” says Line Robert, CEO of Island Coastal Economic Trust.

The Digital Economy Restart, Recover, Reimagine Program (DER3) is a no cost, no obligation program and is currently open to any/all individuals or businesses living or working on Vancouver Island (North of the Malahat), on the Sunshine Coast, or Gulf Islands. DER3 offers one-to-one business and technical consultations for businesses that are considering entering or expanding their online presence, or putting technology-based tools in place to better serve their needs. When required, the program will also match businesses with regional service providers who can deliver contracted solutions.

Part of the program’s unique design relates to the process used to accomplish its objectives. The DER3 team tunes in and listens to the challenges that businesses are facing, injecting a hefty dose of humanity and empathy in those relationships and leveraging the power of technology towards digital solutions. The program weaves together both “tech” and a critical human element, which is especially important for effectively working with business owners who are navigating a challenging and unprecedented time, and may not come to us with much existing digital experience. With decades of experience in technology and business, and a deep understanding of digital ecosystems, DER3 is ready to help!

“The DER3 team will work collaboratively with you to create an action plan to take your business to the next level by harnessing the power of technology. Whether it is brainstorming, providing you with resources to help you and your team skill-up, or connecting you with relevant funding programs or profession service providers. The program is not just another webinar, or a cookie cutter/one-size fits all approach/course. It’s hands on, one-to-one coaching that is for any business, solopreneur or non profit in any sector. It really is for the butcher, the baker or the candlestick maker,” added Jennifer Hufnagel, General Manager of Innovation Island.