Helping small/medium businesses enter or expand into the Digital Economy”  

NANAIMO, July 30, 2020

DER3 Program Overview

In April 2020, in partnership with Island Coastal Economic Trust (ICET), Innovation Island Technology Association (IITA) launched the Digital Economy Restart, Recover, Reimagine Program (DER3). DER3 was created to tackle the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis in the region and ICET’s initial funding was the catalyst for the first phase of program delivery.

Innovation Island is now pleased to announce additional funding and support with Western Economic Diversification (WD) that will extend the program through December 2020. Early successes of this initiative have also gained province-wide recognition, and the program will now be expanded with additional delivery partners. Under the BC Technology Sector Resiliency Program, developed by Innovate BC, (with funding support to WD through Innovate BC), Innovation Island will lead, train and mentor the other BC Acceleration Network (BCAN) partners to scale and expand the DER3 program to their regions.

“Vancouver Island (and now the province) has a clear opportunity to adapt to the changing economy by encouraging the adoption of digital tools and platforms, as new revenue generators or hybrid models, for businesses across all sectors.” ~ Line Robert, CEO, Island Coastal Economic Trust.  

“We recognize that these are challenging times for many businesses in our region. The needs on the ground range in size and scope but they’re also very fluid and dynamic with respect to the transition phases of restarting and recovering economic activity. As businesses reposition their focus and efforts, we’re also seeing creative solutions to changing consumer behaviours and marketplace opportunities, entrepreneurs will fill any void!” ~ Graham Truax, Executive Director,  Innovation Island

“This federal funding will enable Innovate BC and our network of provincial partners to provide direct support to local businesses that are dealing with the economic fallout of COVID-19. “
~ Raghwa Gopal, President and CEO, Innovate BC

The Digital Economy Restart, Recover, Reimagine Program (DER3) is a no cost, no obligation program and is currently open to any/all individuals or businesses living or working on Vancouver Island (North of the Malahat), on the Sunshine Coast, or Gulf Islands. DER3 offers one-to-one business and technical consultations for businesses that are considering entering or expanding their online presence, or putting technology-based tools in place to better serve their needs. When required, the program will also match businesses with regional service providers who can deliver contracted solutions. 

Part of the program’s unique design relates to the process used to accomplish its objectives. The DER3 team tunes in and listens to the challenges that businesses are facing, injecting a hefty dose of humanity and empathy in those relationships and leveraging the power of technology towards digital solutions. The program weaves together both “tech” and a critical human element, which is especially important for effectively working with business owners who are navigating a challenging and unprecedented time, and may not come to us with much existing digital experience. With decades of experience in technology and business, and a deep understanding of digital ecosystems, DER3 is ready to help!

DER3 is about connecting with clients, meeting them where they are at, and walking alongside them to collaboratively seek out the best path forward for their business, with the ultimate goal of helping them to succeed in new and more digital ways. ~ Lisa Pedscalny, DER3 Program Manager.

The DER3 team will work collaboratively with you to create an action plan to take your business to the next level by harnessing the power of technology. Whether it is brainstorming, providing you with resources to help you and your team skill-up, or connecting you with relevant funding programs or profession service providers. The program is not just another webinar, or a cookie cutter/one-size fits all course. It’s hands on, one-to-one coaching that is for any business, solopreneur or non profit in any sector. It really is for the butcher, the baker or the candlestick maker ~ Jennifer Hufnagel, General Manager, Innovation Island 


About Innovation Island

We are a non-profit industry association that delivers programs & services for tech companies (tech, science & manufacturing). We are part of the BC Acceleration network working with support from Innovate BC delivering the Venture Acceleration Program. We service 15+ communities on Vancouver Island including the Gulf Islands and Sunshine Coast. As the regional voice for technology entrepreneurship, Innovation Island has helped our client base achieve some impressive numbers; since FY-2014, 180+ new tech-based jobs have been created and over $44 million of revenue and early-stage technology investment has been generated.  For the past 20 years, Innovation Island has been instrumental in fostering and encouraging growth in the regional technology sector.

About ICET

Created and capitalized by the Province of BC in 2006, the Island Coastal Economic Trust’s (ICET) mission is to create a more diverse and globally competitive North Island-Sunshine Coast and Central-South Island economy. In partnership with local and regional government, nonprofits and indigenous groups, ICET serves nearly half a million residents with a range of economic diversification funding programs and support services.

About WD

Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) is the federal department that promotes economic growth in Western Canada. Its programs and services help businesses, not-for-profits and communities grow stronger.

About Innovate BC

Innovate BC is a Crown agency with a mandate to help strengthen entrepreneurship development, increase company growth, and support job creation, ensuring the benefits of technology and innovation are felt around the province, including rural, northern, and indigenous communities. The Crown agency funds and delivers programs that support the growth of the B.C. economy by helping companies start and scale up into anchor companies, train talent that meets labour market needs, and encourage technology development, commercialization, and adoption.

Media Contact & Social Sharing Kit:

For media inquiries or to schedule online interviews, please contact: 

Jennifer Hufnagel – General Manager, Innovation Island Technology Association 

Tel. 250-758-8324 or info@innovationisland.caLink to Social Sharing Kit (logos, graphics, hashtags, images etc):  Click Here

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