It is well-known that Victoria is Canada’s best city for a well-balanced and successful lifestyle and that Victoria’s vibrant economy has a number of thriving sectors; technology, tourism, retail, professional services, and government.
In 2016 the South Island region formed an economic development agency, the South Island Prosperity Project, funded by 10 municipal governments, two First Nations communities, three post-secondary institutions, five industry and business associations, two non-profits and seven businesses for the purpose of developing a strong, diversified economy on southern Vancouver Island, creating a more collaborative region and making it a resilient and vibrant place to work.
The South Island Prosperity Project’s members hold the organization accountable and are mission-driven. In addition to their financial support, members are community leaders, actively supporting the organization through expertise, insight and connections.
The mission is to facilitate and promote the development of a strong regionally diversified economy on South Vancouver Island. The intent is to bolster our region’s economic and social prosperity by catalyzing the creation of high-quality, household sustaining jobs, so more families can afford to live, work and build a life here.
They are guided by five strategic priorities:
- Business Growth and Expansion
- Sector Development
- Business and Investment Attraction
- First Nations Economic Development
- Collaboration, Communication, and Research.
Currently the South Island Prosperity Project is developing an economic growth strategy to become a smart and digitally connected region in the next five years. This will align well with the “Smart Cities” challenge that the Government Canada launched in their 2017 budget with a $300 million dollar allocation.
Each round of the Smart Cities Challenge will include:
- one large prize of $50 million dollars
- two prizes of 10 million for mid sized communities
- one prize of 5 million for small community
- one prize of 5 million for an Indigenous community.
Through this Smart Cities Challenge, the Government will work collaboratively with communities that are ready to innovate and do things a bit differently. In some cases, this will include providing the financial and in-kind support needed to help with smart cities transformation.
The South Island Prosperity Project – in partnership with local governments and other key stakeholders – is ready for that challenge.
“We are very proud of our first year. By working together as a region, we can chart a course that will make a big difference,” says Emilie de Rosenroll, Chief Executive Officer, South Island Prosperity Project. “Long-term, it’s about creating an economic development strategy that is sustainable and presents opportunities for the community as a whole. That’s something we all need to care about.”