Inspiring next generation innovation

A workshop called Ignite The North will be making stops in 11 northern communities to inspire youth on opportunities in the north

A panel of local business owners spoke about the challenges

What started out as an idea to spark innovation in the north, has quickly become a traveling event putting that idea into action.

The concept of inspiring the next generation of innovators started with Albert Koehler, a Prince George city councillor and board member of the Omineca Beetle Action Coalition (OBAC).

“We are helping wake up youth to what can be done in urban and rural communities,” said Mr. Koehler. “It’s about education increasing, diversification and resiliency of communities. I came from a little community of 200 people, believe me,  there is lots happening in Vanderhoof.”

The Ignite The North workshop will travel through 11 northern BC communities this fall including Vanderhoof, Fort St. James, Fraser Lake, Burns Lake, Houston, Smithers, Telkwa, McBride, Valemont, Mackenzie and Prince George.

The first stop was Vanderhoof on Oct. 1 showcasing a number of guest speakers, local entrepreneurs and an interactive creativity session.

The first panel consisted of Laurie Wallace from Wallace studios, Denise Doswell of Little Valley Farm and Dick Thiessen from Omineca Source for Sports. Each speaker educated the audience on a number of topics including risks involved, getting started, challenges keeping up with changing times, and influences of technology within their business.

When asked about the first few years of business, Ms. Wallace shared that it wasn’t always easy. “Theres a job that feeds you and theres a job your trying to establish,” said Ms. Wallace. “But if you start out low it will be ok. If we started out with something successful we might have run away screaming.”

Ms. Doswell shared one of her challenges working on a farm as being the ‘sandwiched’ generation, having to accommodate ideas from 20 family members in both past and future generations.

“Sometimes a passion can be your weakness so setting yourself up with that filter of what is important is very important. It’s about being able to change with the times, knowing when to change and willing to be a life long learner.”

Continually learning himself,  Mr. Thiessen buys and sells online and has been able to sell products across the country as far as Gander Newfoundland.

“Remoteness no longer defines you,” said Mr. Thiessen. “Technology allows you to look at new products and sometimes that new product can bring in a lot of value.”

Each panelist was also asked why they had chosen to stay in Vanderhoof.

“Why not Vanderhoof, it’s in a unique situation on how we are geographically located,” said Mr. Thiessen. “Being so close to PG and the southern corridor it makes commuting easy and we still have a rural lifestyle, a place to grow a family.”

“The agricultural area here is huge.”  said Ms. Doswell.  “We have some wide open areas not being used how they could be and the potential of agricultural land here is on the rise.”

“Besides, you can always go away and came back,” said Ms. Wallace. “I can go to my kids schools, work, post office, everything within a few minutes. In a bigger city it would take an hour. We should almost be pushing our kids out of town so they can’t say we kept them here but, they will come back. The grass isn’t always greener.”


Just Posted

Fire ban back in effect for Northwest Fire Centre region

Starting May 24, both Category 2 and Category 3 prohibitions will be in place

New Seven Sisters replacement confirmed

Mental health facility will have 25 beds, up from 20 in current facility

Convicted animal abuser to return to B.C. court May 21

Catherine Jessica Adams is facing a breach of probation charge

Healthcare travelling roadshow aims to inspire high school students across B.C

Over 2,000 youth in different rural communities will be visited through this project

Gallery: Project Heavy Duty inspires students into it’s 32nd year

The event is a collaboration between SD91 and industry in and around Vanderhoof, Fraser Lake and Fort St. James

New airline regulations bring compensation for tarmac delays, over-bookings

Some of the new regulations will roll out in July, while others are expected for December.

Scheer says it would take Conservatives five years to balance budget

Scheeraccused the Liberal government of spending $79.5 billion of previously unbudgeted funds

B.C. man, 30, arrested for driving his parents’ cars while impaired twice in one day

The Vancouver-area man was arrested after officers caught him driving impaired twice in one day

More than half of Canadians support ban on handguns, assault rifles: study

Divide between rural and urban respondents in latest Angus Reid Institute public opinion study

Spring rain needed as B.C. sees one of the lowest snowpack levels in 40 years

Snowpack levels in B.C. recorded on May 15 were similar to those in 2015 and 2016

Theresa May to quit as party leader June 7, sparking race for new PM

The new Conservative leader will become prime minister without the need for a general election

B.C. man who fell off cliff returns there to rescue eagle from vulture attack

Nanaimo’s James Farkas, who broke his hip in a fall, saves eagle on same beach months later

Raptors beat Bucks 105-99 to move within 1 game of NBA Finals

Leonard scores 35 as Toronto takes 3-2 series lead over Milwaukee

Municipalities protest after B.C. declares marijuana crops ‘farm use’

UBCM president seeks answers in letter to John Horgan government

Most Read