OBAC Ignite the North Project was launched to foster and encourage innovation in the North – for the North. This project will reach out to 11 communities across the north to foster an innovative mindset. Ten events will take place in Vanderhoof, Fort St. James, Fraser Lake, Burns Lake, Houston, Smithers (including Telkwa), McBride, Valemount, Mackenzie and Prince George.
“Ignite the North” hopes to inspire the next generation of innovators initiating conversations on entrepreneurship, out of the box thinking and collaboration. Education is also a key component, as learning helps to fuel creativity and motivation.
“We need innovation and to get our kids to start thinking about how to build and create things and add value to them,” says Dr. Albert Koehler, who is an entrepreneur and inventor with many patents to his name.
As a board member and executive committee member of OBAC (Omineca Beetle Action Coalition), Koehler was tasked to bring more innovation into the Northern Region. With the initial seed funding from OBAC, Koehler created (and is the OBAC Chair of) the Ignite the North Project.
“Entrepreneurs/intrapreneurs who share their stories about their journey (the success and the challenges) help to inspire the next generation of innovative thinkers,” explains Shauna Harper, Project Lead for Ignite the North Project. “We need to share that it is okay to make mistakes along our journey and that the action of ‘trying’ will spark the best ideas and birth new innovations.”
The event is not just focused solely on youth. The community portion of the event is asking entrepreneurs, community members and leaders from all sectors to come and share their experiences, insights and suggestions on how to inspire the next generation as well as find ways for the businesses in the community to be more collaborative and innovative. Each event is free.
“Ignite the North” recognizes obstacles that block the development of an entrepreneurial mindset of innovators in the north. The project will help connect entrepreneurs and communities in the north to build resiliency, create jobs and develop thriving communities.