Funding for the Rural Business Community Recovery (RBCR) program is part of the Province of British Columbia’s StrongerBC Plan. It is focused on helping rural communities of less than 25,000 residents. Applicants were required to be First Nation, local, municipal, or regional governments, or non-profit business support organizations. The grants are helping to fund a mix of full and part-time contract positions for one year.

The Economic Trust of the Southern Interior (ETSI-BC) has provided funding to 25 different business support organizations, local governments, and First Nations communities in BC’s Southern Interior through the Rural Business and Community Recovery (RBCR) Program.

ETSI–BC is helping deliver the RBCR Program throughout its region on behalf of the Province of BC. A total of $1.65 million has been provided to 25 communities and non-profit business support organizations. 

In the East Kootenay region, a unique partnership was formed to deliver a united effort for Recovery Advisors in a region encompassing Cranbrook, Kimberley, Golden and the Columbia Valley.  This multi-agency approach combines Chambers of Commerce (CoC) Columbia Valley (host organization) / Cranbrook / Kimberly, Kootenay Employment Services (KES), the Golden Community Coop (GCC) and is supported by a considerable number of regional and Provincial stakeholders.

East Kootenay Agencies deploying Recovery Advisors with this funding include:

Kootenay Employment Services (KES) to support the Creston Valley - Kootenay Lake region 

Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce is leading a group of partner stakeholders covering a micro-region of Columbia Valley, Cranbrook, Kimberley and Golden.


Kootenay Aboriginal Business Development Agency working with First Nations, Metis and Inuit businesses


Fernie Chamber of Commerce doing regional business research


Kootenay Outdoor Recreation Enterprise (KORE) assists outdoor recreational businesses. 

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ETSI-BC is the Economic Trust of the Southern Interior, formerly known as the Southern Interior Development Initiative Trust (SIDIT). The organization was created by the Province of British Columbia on February 27, 2006. Through the SIDIT Act, the Trust was allocated $50 million to assist in the growth and diversification of the economy in the Southern Interior of B.C.


The Trust is governed by a 13-member Board of Directors which includes local elected officials and provincial government appointees. Two Regional Advisory Committees of elected officials from the Thompson-Okanagan and Columbia-Kootenay regions also provide input. ETSI-BC’s service area spans nine Regional Districts ranging from Hope in the west, Clearwater in the north, the Alberta border in the east, and the U.S. border in the south. For more information, visit www.etsi-bc.ca.


Rural Business and Community Recovery Program will provide businesses and organizations with customized service to connect owners and operators in this region to the supports they need now and into the future.


“We are thrilled to be working collaboratively with our community neighbours and partner organizations on this incredibly valuable program. We are beyond grateful for this support from ETSI-BC and the Province of British Columbia, which comes at such a critical time for the economic sustainability of our region.”

 Pete Bourke, Executive Director of the Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce

“The impact of COVID-19 on our business community has been devastating. Many businesses are struggling to access funding supports; there are many programs available, each with conditions and eligibility criteria. We look forward to connecting with businesses in the coming weeks to offer our support.”

Hugh Grant Executive Director of KES