Karilyn Kempton has applied for funding to continue the Revelstoke Tech Strategy from the BC Rural Dividend Fund.
“We’ve got really good momentum and we would really like to see this community building continue when the current tech strategy ends in November,” she said at a council meeting on Aug. 15.
Since the strategy was implemented a year and a half ago, Kempton has been focusing on promoting fibre and tech-friendliness to attract new companies, supporting existing tech companies, building and promoting a tech-friendly community, fostering youth opportunities, targeting specific tech opportunities for the city, identifying and reducing challenges and increasing the number of tech workers and companies in Revelstoke.
According to Kempton, the work she is doing is working.
In the spring of 2017 she did a survey to determine how many tech workers there were in Revelstoke as well as a what their needs were, among other things. She found that there were 110 people working for tech companies at the time. A second survey was done this past spring and the number increased to 150.
“We assume there is a lot more who are just not answering the surveys,” Kempton added.
A part of implementing the strategy has been hosting Meetups for those in the tech sector in Revelstoke. So far there have been 18 successful meetings and Kempton said participants continually give positive feedback on both the topics and guest speakers as well as the networking opportunities offered through the events.
Kempton said that through the Meetups, at least five contracts and one full time job have been generated. The most recent event was on Aug. 24 and featured a guest speaker who is a production engineer working for Facebook. He spoke on web security.
On the other side of Kempton’s job, is helping local small businesses embrace and better understand the technology that is available to them. She has put on workshops on topics such as customer relationship management tools.
“We are trying to directly address the tech issues that small businesses are identifying and the issues they have,” she said.
Along those lines, through the tech strategy the team has created a data base of local technology consultants who are willing and available for tech work in Revelstoke.
Other successes during Phase 1 of the tech strategy include high school workshops lead by local tech workers as well as the Tech Summit on Feb. 22.
If the funding comes through from the Rural Dividend Fund, Kempton will be implementing Phase 2.
“While some of those strategies remain the same some have shifted or been refocused based on what we learned implementing Phase 1,” she said.
New goals for the second part of the strategy include supporting local companies to utilize digital technology, adopt smart technologies city wide and develop a tech park/data centre investment opportunity.
Kempton said they also plan to host another tech summit in 2020.
“We feel like we have a strong application to the Rural Dividend Fund for the Tech Strategy 2.0,” she said.
Kempton requested that city council endorse her application to the Rural Dividend Fund for the new funding. Council unanimously approved her request.