The mining and metals sector is fueling economic growth in the West Kootenays. Fostering that growth requires a network of support for businesses, which is sometimes hard to access in rural communities. That’s where Kootenay Association for Science and Technology (KAST) comes in.
Since 2015, PacifiCan has invested almost $1.5 million for KAST to help address the gap in tech resources available for West Kootenay entrepreneurs. In partnership with Selkirk College, KAST established the Selkirk Technology Access Centre to help meet these needs.
Now, the Centre is making technology like 3D printing accessible for West Kootenay companies and students. The hub will also help them access training, research opportunities, mentorship and capital, so they can transform their ideas into commercial products.
Recently, the Centre helped a filmmaker develop a protective, waterproof camera case in the shape of a salmon. The case acted as an underwater camouflage, so the camera would not scare away spawning salmon. The resulting footage was used in a National Geographic and Disney documentary.
That’s just one example of innovation at the Centre. So far, the Centre has:
- helped 139 businesses,
- brought 30 inventions to market,
- helped develop 170 prototypes to demonstrate in an operational environment,
- created over 50 jobs, and
- helped 100 per cent of its first students gain employment in their field.
To continue supporting organizations like KAST, we will soon have staff living in and providing service from eight locations across the province, including Kelowna and Cranbrook, to serve the Southern Interior.
For more information and contact details, please visit our office information webpage.