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Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce: Sooke Region Strategic Economic Action Plan 2015 — 2 Comments

  1. Where do I start on this response? Hmmmmmmmmmm much to stay. Allow me to summarize…

    I’ve been involved in conversations on Sooke and economic development here for a few years now on the Mayor’s Economic Development Advisory Committee.

    The long and short of

    +Sooke needs a differentiation strategy. Just being different will be powerful. It should not try to replicate what others have done, but, rather, leverage its core (competencies) as the group identified (I think).

    +The winner for Sooke will be the development of an incubator and programme of incubation as key component of economic development. This will draw and service entrepreneurs and new business start-ups in the arts, food and technology spaces. Most likely, this will need to take the form of a public-private partnership. Overtime this incubator will create new companies and organizations, which will create new jobs and positions organically. This, in turn, will offer alternatives to commuting into Victoria, and allow people to walk and bike to work. See the post of the Academic Entrepreneur of February 2014 on a proposed new incbuator and makerspace for Sooke https://academicentrepreneur.wordpress.com/2014/02/03/sooke-incubator-and-makerspace-for-art-and-technology-proposal/

    +Related to the above, additional resources are needed to invest in new infrastructure of innovation and creativity. While crowdfunding is a nifty idea and fun to dream on, in reality, it is very difficult to pull off on a large scale. Raising $500K from local residents to jump-start an alternative energy cluster is something I’d love to see happen. However, the probability is low, and its simply not enough capital to make much of an impact. Instead, municipal bonds should be issued as a base of the resource acquisition strategy — perhaps to compliment this smaller crowdfunding effort that could target a particular project or project- type. See my article of February 2015 as published here in the Sooke Pocket News http://sooke.pocketnews.ca/the-potential-of-innovation-infrastructure-through-municipal-bonds-in-sooke/ on the potential for municipal bonds for innovation.

    +Attracting retirees is nice and should be done, and new houses will help the economy, no doubt. But a retirement economy leads to slow economic growth, and is not dynamic and job-creating.

    +Telecommuters are not going to come to Sooke *just because* Rather, having a core of entrepreneurial activity, such as software or hardware development, be it around cleantech or other, will draw them in and build a small critical mass.

    +Tourism, while good-to-have, is a relatively small contributor to the local economy, including Victoria. Instead, it is technology that is the largest contributor. Food as well is a big opportunity for Sooke, including food innovation and processing, horticulture and specialty farming. Also, the arts as well — especially building an art-centric and smart community. That came through in the symposium by the looks of it. But we should be careful not to over-emphasize tourism.

    -Creating an accessible Sooke is a great idea as well — and how about one that is open, friendly and welcoming? This will make a huge difference in and of itself in today’s world. But to me, a cornerstone in this strategy has to be finding new ways to work, and to make a living, and much of this will be born in new firms and organizations that arise in Sooke. From the incbuator, of course 🙂

    My two.