Published On: Monday, 05 March 2018
New Projects Announced for South Island Prosperity
VICTORIA - Regional economic development organization South Island Prosperity Project (SIPP) has released its annual operating plan to funding partners and members. The organization is two years into a five-year strategic plan aimed at creating a smarter, more sustainable and prosperous South Island for all its residents.
Direct impact objectives are to:
- Work with partners to increase median household incomes and household-sustaining jobs;
- Increase government and private local investment; and
- Engage First Nations in economic development.
“There are a number of initiatives we’ve begun that are already creating the kind of excitement and impact our organization seeks,” says newly-appointed SIPP Director of Economic Development Dallas Gislason.
“We were especially proud to collaborate with regional stakeholders, local companies, and the City of Victoria on a business development mission to China in 2017. This fulfills a key part of our mandate, which is to strengthen global business ties and increase local exports.
"We had significant engagement with Asian investors to open doors for increased export opportunities and business attraction to the South Island.”
A vital component of setting goals and objectives is understanding how South Vancouver Island is performing on the economic world stage.
In 2017, SIPP produced the first South Island Prosperity Index – an annual report providing a holistic view of the region’s prosperity, tracking 140 indicators to benchmark and measure progress in economic health.
“Now that we have a baseline to work from, we can more easily track the impact of our work,” says Raman Kapil, newly-appointed SIPP Chief Financial Officer.
One of the organization’s proudest collaborations in the past year was their partnership with the Songhees First Nation, who designed and created the Songhees Innovation Centre – a social entrepreneurship and innovation centre designed to support and foster growth for Indigenous entrepreneurs, small business, non-profits, and creatives.
SIPP also initiated the First Nations Dialogue Series to engage and collaborate on strengths, challenges, and opportunities for South Island First Nation communities.
“Our First Nations partners play a vital role in creating prosperity. We are proud of how these partners have invested in this relationship,” says Emilie de Rosenroll, CEO of SIPP. Over the next year, SIPP also plans a monthly IndigenousConnect Forum for First Nations in the South Island to build on the success of the Dialogue Series.
SIPP also created BusinessConnect Network designed to assist growth-oriented companies through services and connections including executive forums, one-on-one mentorship and advisory services, workshops and access to trade missions.
This has already yielded two opportunities to leverage SIPP contacts to develop business in the Pacific Northwest region of the USA.
To accelerate business and investment attraction, SIPP is hosting its first annual Greater Victoria Prosperity Summit in Victoria on March 12. The summit is concurrent with the GLOBE Summit in Vancouver, which attracts 10,000 business, investment and project leaders from around the world.
SIPP’s most visible project is their coordination of the South Island bid for Canada’s Smart Cities Challenge – a national competition incentivizing Canadian cities and communities to come up with innovative ways of solving real-world challenges to improve livability for residents.
If chosen, Victoria will receive $10 million from the federal government to incubate and leverage their strategic initiatives. Public engagement for the bid included facilitating the Smart South Island Symposium in November 2017. Community residents provided input into how being ‘smart’ can help stimulate sustainable prosperity.
There, SIPP announced the Open Innovation Challenge, a local public competition inviting teams to submit ‘smart’ pilot project ideas for one of three $15,000 prizes. Ten finalists have been chosen and will pitch their ideas to a panel of experts at The University of Victoria on March 11.
SIPP CEO Emilie de Rosenroll says “We are very proud to be nearing the celebration of our second anniversary and excited about the possibilities that lie ahead. The South Island Prosperity Project has experienced tremendous growth in a brief period, and we are inspired to build upon these early successes as we enter our third year of operations.”
To view a copy of the 2018-2019 Annual Operation Plan, please visit the SIPP website.