Innovation Economy Initiative


Powell River has a long history of valuing cultural assets as part of a healthy and sustainable community, intertwined with its identity as a resource sector town. While the identity and economic drivers are shifting away from its traditional economy, the town’s cultural assets remain and form a strong platform for the emerging creative economy and innovative entrepreneurship.  This creative sector includes a wide range of industries, including arts and culture, film, television, music, publishing, video games, digital media, and more.

For this reason, The Island Coastal Economic Trust (ICET) has provided financial support to local stakeholders, led by PRESS, to create a ‘road map’ that identifies ways to leverage local cultural assets into actionable economic development plans for Powell River.

“Innovation and the ‘creative economy’ are quickly being recognized as vital parts of vibrant, 21st-century communities,” says Phil Kent, Mayor of Duncan and ICET Chair. “This project brings together a diverse group to imagine the possibilities and define the actions needed to turn ideas into reality.”  

“Powell River is an amazing place to live, surrounded by mountains, lakes, forests, and the ocean, and it attracts people for that lifestyle,” adds Jay Yule, Powell River Educational Services Society Executive Director.  “The people who live here have been creating cultural assets for decades, and this project will help us grow those assets and activities into sustainable, economic drivers.”

The project steering committee is comprised of representatives of the Powell River Educational Services Society, the City of Powell River, the Tla’amin Nation,  Vancouver Island University, and Powell River Regional District – all of whom have, together, put up funding for half of the project costs.  

Starting with a review and asset inventory of the cultural sector and creative economy, the project will engage local creative economy players from the private, academic and social enterprise sectors in order to identify, prioritize and clarify actionable projects and actions that promote growth, innovation and entrepreneurial activity in the creative economy sector.  Project success will be measured on factors that include: business expansion and start-ups; delivery of suitable educational programming that supports innovation and entrepreneurship, and the development of long-term sustainable supports for cultural and creative assets for innovation.

Learn more about the Innovation Economy Initiative at the website specially created to support project outcomes: