Around $186,000 in provincial funding is going towards projects promoting economic diversification in Salmon Arm.
On Tuesday, April 11, B.C.’s Ministry of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation announced the latest recipients of funding through the Rural Economic Diversification and Infrastructure Program. According to a media release, the program is intended to promote “economic diversification, clean-economy opportunities and infrastructure development in rural B.C.”
In Salmon Arm, $138,859 will be going towards activation of phase 2 at the Zest Commercial Food Hub.This will include the addition of a second shared-use kitchen as well as space for an additional anchor tenant. Funding will also go towards new programming to support food and beverage entrepreneurs.
“We really want the facility to be more than a building, and that’s where we’re going to create that network and that hub, that food hub concept, and so some of that is going to come from the work we’re doing on teh programming side as well,” said Salmon Arm Economic Development Society (SAEDS) executive director Lana Fitt. “It will become more of a centre of support for food and beverage processors in our region through the entrepreneurship program we’ll be bringing online.”
Opened November 2021, Zest provides businesses access to certified processing space, shared-use equipment, cold and dry storage solutions, and knowledge and mentorship to support the launch and growth of food processing-businesses. Currently, the facility is shared by anchor tenants and a rotation of others, and is part of a plan to support food and beverage processing in the region. Zest was developed by SAEDS to address a lack of affordable and accessible processing, packaging and research facilities supporting value-added product development.
In 2022, the last year the Southern Interior Local Government Association (SILGA) was held in Salmon Arm, Zest was one of three recipients of a SILGA excellence award.
Elsewhere in the Shuswap, the Shuswap Economic Development Society is getting $48,000 for a business attraction and investment strategy. The Adams Lake Band is receiving $1 million for an Indigenous forestry supply chain value-added joint venture. Neskonlith Economic Development is getting $100,000 to develop economic capacity.
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