Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about our Innovation Island Programs

DER3 Program

Is there a cost to participating in this program?

The program is a no cost, no obligation program. The primary services of the program are free, and anyone can sign up. For small-medium sized businesses (individuals and non-profits) there's a lot we can offer at no cost. However, if needed, engagements with digital service providers or consultants (as independent businesses) will have various costs depending on the scope of your requirements. I.e., we can tell you what digital tools or platforms may fit for your business, and in many cases we can tell you how to use them (DIY) but we can’t build your website for you. If/when you need to hire someone we can also offer advice to ensure you’re considering the right things in the right order. We can review your needs more specifically when you apply to the program. We use the term apply, however, the form is a simple intake form to gather more information so we can have a meaningful conversation to determine your specific needs.

What are the program eligibility requirements?

  • Be a small or medium-sized business (less than 500 employees) and
  • Be located in one of the six regions in British Columbia: Greater Victoria; Central Island, Northern Island, Sunshine Coast & Gulf Islands; Okanagan Valley; Kootenays; Central Interior BC; North Central BC. 

Is this program just a loss-leader for other fee-based services.

No. Innovation Island is a non-profit industry association. We’ve partnered with Island Coastal Economic Trust and Western Economic Diversification so that transfer critical business and technology skills and services to small-medium sized businesses (individuals and non-profits) that want to consider entering or expanding in the digital economy as a way to help their business manage virtual operations, or perhaps prosper in the post-COVID economy. 

What happens after I submit my application/intake form?

After you submit your application, you will receive an email within 2-3 days to book an intake meeting with one of our program advisors (aka Digital Engagement Specialists). Check your spam filter/junk mail as sometimes these emails wind up in there. If you have any questions, please connect with us - 250 753 8324 or

Do I need to be a “digital economy” business?

No. This program is open to any kind of business with any level of technology integration. If you are in the tourism industry please also see the Vancouver Island Coastal Tourism Resiliency Program.

Do I need to be already online with a website to apply for the program?

No, any business can apply regardless if you have an existing online presence or not.

What does the “digital economy” actually mean?

Wikipedia considers the digital economy as anything that’s based on using digital computing technologies within the core of your business. We used to call it the "Internet Economy" but increasingly the digital economy is intertwined with the traditional economy, and that’s what this program is all about. Digital technology includes digital tools a business may use throughout its business such as production, operations, finance, HR, training, sales and/or marketing.

What does the "3" in DER3 stand for?

When we first launched the program the 3 R's stood for "Rapid, Response, Recovery" Program. Now we have moved into a new phase, we have done a slight rebrand to "Restart, Recover, Reimagine" as we feel it's more fitting. We think the other 3 R’s are important too ~ reduce, reuse and recycle! In the other regions that the program is now offered, DER3 is referred to Digital Economy: Rapid, Response + Resiliency. 

I don't know anything about technology and don't even know where to start, but my business is struggling. Can you help?

Yes, we can help. After you complete the application form we will do an initial assessment of what we think you might want to consider and we will then contact you to learn more and see what’s possible. We work with you one step at a time to move you further along the path to digital transformation.

What if I’m just starting my business [in these difficult times] do I still qualify for this program?

Yes! Some of the biggest businesses of our time started in recession; Google and Facebook started during the dotcom crash and Uber and Airbnb started during the 2008 financial crisis. If you have what it takes, with a big vision or just a great small business idea, now might be a great time to start!

What kind of business or technical advice can you provide?

Try us! Our core team has over 100-years combined expertise in both business and the digital economy and with the help of our team we’re confident that we can provide solid advice on almost any topic. We also can direct questions to various industry partners or other agencies (subject matter experts and digital service providers).

Does this program include any digital tools or computer skills training? My staff has never worked from home before.

We have a wide variety of resources, guides, and best-practices for getting things done in the digital economy, which we can utilize to help you figure things out. We don’t offer skills training courses but we can point you in the right direction for that too.

How much time do I need to commit to this program? How much time are you offering to help me?

Your time commitments depend on you, and how much time you invest toward taking action on the solutions that we will provide you with. Our time commitments to your needs will depend on our assessments of your issues or challenges. If we can’t help you with implementing the actions we recommend then we will make suggestions on who can.

What if I don’t know the answers to some of the questions on the application form?

No problem, please just skip anything that you don’t know or are not comfortable sharing.

How will meetings take place in light of COVID physical distancing regulations?

All meetings will be over the phone, online video, or via email Q&A ~ whatever works for you.

My community has unreliable connectivity. Can you help us get better connected, so we can participate in the digital economy?

Unfortunately this program can’t help with core infrastructure. However, please check out the Connected Coast project or other resources dealing with Connectivity in B.C.

How long will this program last?

This first version of the DER3 Program closed March 2021. The program has now been extended until September 2021.

Does the program provide funding to help me busy computers and/or other equipment or paid services to get digital?

At this time the program does not provide any grants and is not able to help with core infrastructure.

What is expected from me?

During the course of the program and at the end of the program, we require participants to fill out a brief survey to report key metrics. Any information you report will be confidential (unless you give us your permission for testimonials), and it will be used in aggregate form to determine regional outcomes and overall efficacy of DER3.

Where is this Program Available?

As of Sept 2020 the program is now available in six regions in BC. The program will be available in six regions: Greater Victoria; Central Island, Northern Island, Sunshine Coast & Gulf IslandsOkanagan ValleyKootenays; Central Interior B.C.; North Central B.C. To apply to a region outside of Innovation Island's regions please see the Innovate BC website.

Who did the DER3 Program originate?

In April 2020, in partnership with Island Coastal Economic Trust (ICET) and Innovation Island Technology Association (IITA), crated and launched the DER3 Program on Vancouver Island (outside of Victoria), Gulf Islands and the Sunshine Coast. DER3 was originally created to tackle the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis in the Vancouver Island Region and ICET's funding was the catalyst. The program then was extended with funding support from Western Economic Diversification (WD).

After the success on the island, in August 2020, with more funding support of WD through Innovate BC, 5 additional BCAN Partners were trained and the DER3 program was scaled under the BC Technology Sector Resiliency Program, developed by Innovate BC.  As of August 2021, the program had been extended and funded through Innovate BC with the support of WD


TRP Program

Is there a cost to participating in this program?

The program is a no cost, no obligation program. The services of the program are free the following types of businesses are considered "tech". For the Tech Resiliency Program, technology is defined as products and productized services, with engineering attributes in advanced communications technologies, digital media and web, electronics design and manufacturing, software development, mechanical and industrial technologies and other advanced engineering disciplines.

What happens Next after I apply?

Once you submit the intake form on our website, your application will be reviewed by the TRP Program Director. You can expect to hear from them within 2-4 business days. 

When is the program schedule to run until?

The program currently closed March 2021

Who is delivering the program?

The program is delivered by the TRP Program Director, Executives in Residence (EIRs), a team of Subject Matter Experts (SMEs), and supported by a province-wide network of partners and entrepreneurs. Together they make up the BC Acceleration Network (BCAN), an alliance of regional partners and executive-level mentors.

What is the role of the TRP Team?

The TRP Program Director and Executive in Residences (EiRs) provide structured business advice and guidance to help companies navigate and survive the COVID-19 crisis. In addition, the TRP Program Director and EiRs work with a network of external SMEs to "group solve" client challenges. The team of advisors working with TRP clients is based on the specific domain knowledge or management expertise needed to optimize the entrepreneur’s success.

What kind of Training does the TRP Team have?

Our TRP Program Director, EiRs and SMEs all have extensive leadership experience in entrepreneurship and in their fields of expertise

Where is this Program Available?

The program is available in six regions in BC. The program will be available in six regions: Greater Victoria; Central Island, Northern Island, Sunshine Coast & Gulf IslandsOkanagan ValleyKootenays; Central Interior B.C.; North Central B.C. To apply to a region outside of Innovation Island's regions please see the Innovate BC website.

Please contact us with any questions that we have not covered here.

Thank you and take care.