KAST can assist small and medium businesses expand their online presence. Submitted file

KAST can assist small and medium businesses expand their online presence. Submitted file

New program helps Kootenay businesses enter and expand into the digital economy

There is no cost to the new program from KAST

With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, many small and medium sized businesses have found the need to expand their presence from storefront to at least partially online.

The Kootenay Association for Science and Technology (KAST) has launched a new program to assist those businesses as they navigate the digital world.

KAST, in partnership with Innovate BC and Western Economic Diversification, has introduced the new Digital Economy: Rapid Response + Resiliency (DER3) program. This service is designed to help small to medium-sized businesses, in any sector, adapt to these new circumstances and enter or expand into the digital economy. There’s no cost or obligation.

DER3 will help Kootenay businesses shift their business approach to be more profitable, expand into new markets or opportunities and respond to new challenges associated with COVID-19. DER3 will provide personalized advisory services, coaching and when required, also match businesses with Kootenay tech consultants and digital service providers who can deliver contracted solutions.

“We recognize that these are challenging times for many businesses in our region. Adapting to the changing economy by encouraging the adoption of digital tools and platforms is a clear opportunity for our businesses to recover, but many businesses either don’t know where to start or need help finding the right solution,” said Kailyn Skuban, KAST’s Director of Operations and Programs. “DER3 is really about connecting with clients, meeting them where they’re at on their digital journey, and working collaboratively with our experienced advisory team to find the best path forward for their business.”

The DER3 team will assess the digital needs of the business; recommend technology and solutions that will save time, money and energy; create a technology action plan for the business; connect the business with local digital service providers to deliver contracted solutions; and provide guidance, tools and best practices for digital transformation.

KAST has hired four new contractors to deliver the DER3 program in the Kootenays.

“KAST has always supported the region’s tech entrepreneurs, startups and businesses and now we’re thrilled to support our region’s non-tech businesses through the DER3 program,” says KAST’s new Executive Director, Sean Smillie. “DER3 is one of many programs offered at KAST. Our Kootenay Pitch Competition, Venture Acceleration Program, Tech Resiliency Program, GLOWS youth program and the Nelson Innovation Centre all serve to support our communities, drive economic growth, create jobs and foster resiliency in the Kootenays.”

To register for this no cost, no obligation program, or email der3@kast.com.

This program also needs digital service providers and subject matter experts in the Kootenays. If you provide online services to help others enter or expand in the digital economy or have experience or expertise in relevant areas, KAST is also looking for you to apply to be part of the program.

To apply as a digital service provider.

To apply as a subject matter expert.

READ MORE: First 3D metal printer in rural Canada arrives in Trail

READ MORE: Summit in Cranbrook focuses on economic resiliency post COVID-19

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