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Initiative addresses productivity gap

In today’s global economy, innovation and productivity are pivotal to British Columbia’s continued economic success.

The Kootenay Boundary Productivity Initiative will look at how business support organizations, such as Community Futures, can help businesses increase productivity.

The project is a joint initiative between the five Community Futures organizations that serve the region, and is funded by Western Economic Diversification Canada, and in part through the Canada-British Columbia Labour Market Development Agreement through the Ministry of Social Development.

It will include a pilot project aimed at developing hands-on tools that will help businesses directly impact productivity levels.

This initiative will include a pilot project aimed at developing hands-on tools that will help businesses directly impact productivity levels. It also aims to engage businesses in productivity assessments and help them develop strategies to increase overall productivity.

“Productivity is driven by investment in physical capital, human capital and innovation,” said Paul Wiest, manager of Community Futures Central Kootenay in Nelson. “We wanted to take a close look at these drivers, and see how organizations like ours can help small and medium-sized businesses improve their productivity.”

British Columbia performs below most provinces when it comes to productivity measures. In a recent Conference Board of Canada report, British Columbia received a “D” grade when ranked against 10 comparative economic regions.

“British Columbia’s low productivity score has far-reaching implications for businesses within the Kootenay Boundary region,” said Rob Gay, Manager of Community Futures East Kootenay in Cranbrook. “Many need to compete with businesses in Alberta, which ranks higher than BC when it comes to productivity.”

In the Kootenay region, the age of the workforce is also higher than the provincial average, Gay added, and the immigration numbers were lower.

“Taken together, these statistics could see our region fall further behind in the not too distant future,” he said.

Businesses in the Kootenay Boundary region interested in taking part are invited to contact Wiest at (250) 352-1933.