Renata King

Renata King

How can local contractors benefit from development in the B.C. north?

Local business is getting equipped and connected to take part in the major projects planned for the B.C. north.

Local business is getting equipped and connected to take part in the major projects planned for the B.C. north.

Renata King, Business Development Director with the Northern Development Initiative Trust, ran a Contractor Bootcamp in Houston last week Tuesday – attended by 15 people.

The Contractor Bootcamp was designed in the spring 2012 by the Northern Development Initiative Trust, an organization set up by the B.C. government as an arms length development corporation to foster economic development and job creation in central and northern B.C.

With input from local industry, the bootcamp is to help educate local businesses to be ready to participate in the industrial supply chain of major B.C. projects, said King.

The Invest Northwest website says that over $30 billion in major projects and investment opportunities are planned for the northern B.C. region.

This includes the $460 million investment into the expansion at Huckleberry Mine, the $20 million exploration investment by New Gold into the Blackwater Gold Project near Vanderhoof, and the $7.9 billion B.C. Hydro investment into the Site C Dam Clean Energy Project south of Fort St. John.

King talked about how multinationals are hiring local business and how a business can be prepared for that with things like invoice and health and safety certification.

Northern Development has resources and programs to help local industrial businesses upgrade and professionalize, King said.

The Competitiveness Consulting Rebate Program will offset 50 percent of consulting fees up to $30,000 per business, she said.

Northern Development is also helping contractors get connected to the multinational companies who are hiring, by providing a database for contractors to post who they are and what they do.

Then multinational companies coming into the north will use the database to find and hire local contractors.

Launched in September, the database, called the Supply Chain Connector, is free for local industrial companies to join and is only for northern and central B.C. companies.

“The goal is to keep more money in the local economy,” King said.