Two new investment funds aimed at boosting local economies in the Kootenays are looking for members.
Members of the East Kootenay Columbia Community Investment Co-op and the West Kootenay Boundary Community Investment Co-op have been working for much the past year on a business plan and incorporation documents.
They aim to pool their investments to support local projects such as affordable housing, renewable energy, sustainable agriculture and food production, small business development, technology, and community economic development.
“We are seeking individual and corporate investors who wish to diversify a portion of their investment portfolios locally, and who want to make an impact in the communities where they live,” said Eden Yesh, manager of the Invermere branch of Kootenay Employment Services and the fund’s project manager.
In 2015, those who filed tax returns in the East and West Kootenay invested more than $90 million and $60 million, respectively, into RRSPs – all of which left the region, the funds’ organizers said in a news release on Monday.
If just five person of those investments were redirected into local business financing, that would mean $4.5 million per year in the east and $3 million in the west in direct economic development stimulus, they said.
Free public launch sessions are scheduled from Nov. 9 to Dec. 14 in Sparwood, Fernie, Cranbrook, Kimberley, Invermere, Radium, Golden, Revelstoke, Grand Forks, Trail, Castlegar, Nelson, Silverton, Nakusp and Kaslo.
Membership is open to individuals, corporations, governments and First Nations.