DER3 Program Helps Businesses Make Impact In Digital Economy
NANAIMO – In partnership with Island Coastal Economic Trust (ICET), Innovation Island Technology Association (IITA) has launched the Digital Economy Restart, Recovery, Reimagine Program (DER3).
Designed to address the economic impact of COVID-19 in BC, ICET’s initial funding was the first phase kickoff of the program. Now, Innovation Island is moving forward with additional funding and support via Western Diversification (WD), which will extend the DER3 program through February 2020.
Innovation Island is a non-profit industry association, with twenty years of experience delivering programs and services for tech, science and manufacturing companies as a member of the BC Acceleration Network.
DER3 is a no-cost, no obligation program open to any business or individual living and working on Vancouver Island (North of the Malahat), on the Sunshine Coast, or Gulf Islands. DER3 provides one-to-one business and technical consultations for those wishing to grow their online presence, strategically utilizing technology-based tools in service of this goal. Additionally, the program will match businesses with regional service providers who can deliver contracted solutions.
Describes Jennifer Hufnagel, Innovation Island’s General Manager, “The program is not just another webinar, or a cookie cutter, one-size fits all approach. It’s hands-on coaching for any business, solopreneur or non-profit in any sector. It really is for the butcher, the baker or the candlestick maker.”
The DER3 initiative has gained increasing support and recognition due to their early success and unique program design, with a focus on deeply engaging business owners with an open, empathetic ear, and using technology, expert advice and training to help them overcome the unprecedented challenges brought on by this global pandemic.
“We’ve helped businesses struggling with the loss of traditional sales channels connect with qualified digital service providers, and have offered online marketing tips like search engine optimization (SEO) and other meaningful information to immediately improve their digital marketing and sales opportunities,” explains Graham Truax, Executive Director at Innovation Island. “COVID has created a scenario where almost every industry has had to adapt on the fly. The DER3 program was designed to help businesses succeed in the face of this crisis.”
From companies wishing to better engage online audiences, helping clients understand e-commerce marketplaces, to performing Online Presence Assessments (OPA) for those lacking a strong digital footprint, DER3 has become an increasingly invaluable resource across the province. Due to this, the program will be expanded with more delivery partners in short time.
Under the BC Technology Sector Resiliency Program, developed by Innovate BC, (with funding support to WD through Innovate BC), Innovation Island plans to lead, train and mentor additional BC Acceleration Network (BCAN) partners, scaling and growing the DER3 program to even more regions.
Concludes DER3 Digital Service Manager Lisa Pedscalny, “DER3 is about connecting with clients, meeting them where they are at, and walking alongside them to collaboratively seek out the best path forward for their business, with the ultimate goal of helping them to succeed in new and more digital ways.”