New $30 Million Business Incentive Program to Attract Business to Central and Northern BC



    
    -   New program by Northern Development Initiative Trust improves
        businesses' bottom line by up to $10,000 per new job created based on
        direct capital investment and training expenditures

    -   Program lowers the cost of implementing productivity increasing
        capital equipment

    -   Program offers the flexibility to cover any combination of training
        provider costs and/or on the job training costs for new employees

    -   Program funds are directly paid to the business based on performance
    

    PRINCE GEORGE, BC, Sept. 29 /CNW/ - Northern British Columbia's business
advantages are being showcased in a new $30 million business attraction
program launched today by Northern Development Initiative Trust (Northern
Development). The Northern BC Business Advantage program includes a capital
investment and training rebate program that provides businesses with
incentives for job creation.
    "Northern British Columbia has enormous competitive advantages for
businesses, including lower overall business costs and a major transportation
corridor that gets goods to market faster," said Janine North, CEO of the
Northern Development Initiative Trust. "The Northern BC Business Advantage
program builds on the competitive strengths of the region by improving the
bottom line of employers by up to $10,000 per new job created."
    The capital investment and training rebate program provides eligible
businesses in export driven sectors of the economy with up to $10,000 per new
job based on direct capital investment and training expenditures related to
the expansion or establishment of a business. To qualify for funding,
businesses must create at least two new full time jobs.
    The program benefits participating businesses by lowering the costs of
purchasing productivity increasing capital equipment, and/or training new
employees. The training rebate offers the flexibility to cover any combination
of training provider costs and/or on the job training costs for new employees.
    In the case of Conifex Inc., a forest products company, the training
rebates played an important role in its decision to purchase forestry and
sawmilling assets in Fort St. James and ramp up the timelines for training the
workforce and starting up production this fall.
    "The Northern BC Business Advantage program gave us the confidence and
support we needed to successfully conclude the transaction," said Ken Shields,
CEO of Conifex Inc. "The benefits available under the program are an important
reason we accepted the challenge of retraining our existing workforce and
recruiting new employees."
    "This is an opportunity for employers to invest in a higher level of
safety and production skills training that would otherwise not have been
considered," said Frank Everitt, President, United Steelworkers, Local 1-424.
"With input from the management team, the plant committee and the local union,
we can attain and retain a very successful trained workforce in our
competitive industry. Both workers and business will benefit from the Northern
BC Business Advantage program."
    Nak'azdli Economic Development Manager Leonard Thomas is working closely
with Conifex to ensure mutual success as Nak'azdli, Tl'azt'en and Takla First
Nations look forward to the expansion of forest harvesting, and sawmill
employment opportunities with the very collaborative approach that Conifex
takes to building their business in the region. "We have worked closely with
Northern Development on community economic development projects and are
excited that there is a business program that is having such an impact on our
economy and potentially other local businesses."
    "The program is a highly responsive program that pays funds to businesses
based on performance," said North. "We're building on the current competitive
advantages of central and northern BC to attract investment and create jobs."
    Bruce Sutherland, Chair of the Northern Development Initiative Trust
Board and owner of a manufacturing company himself said, "There is no other
program for business like this in Canada that is so responsive and
streamlined. The forty communities within the Northern Development region are
absolutely welcoming businesses by providing a great investment climate
through their commitment and support of this program and they look forward to
personally thanking each manufacturing or resource processing business that
expands in their community with a rebate from Northern Development."
    Among the many business advantages of central and northern BC are lower
overall business costs, abundant and low cost energy, access to land, and a
northern transportation corridor that provides North America's fastest route
to Asia. Northern BC's Port of Prince Rupert is North America's closest port
to key Asian markets.
    Industrial land selling prices across central and northern BC average
$16,345 per serviced acre, exponentially less than the $654,000/acre for
comparable parcels in the metropolitan Vancouver area. Overall business costs
are also dramatically lower than Vancouver, Edmonton, Seattle, Chicago and
Anchorage, according to KPMG Competitive Alternatives Survey for 2008.
    Established in 2005, Northern Development Initiative Trust is an
independent regional economic development corporation focussed on stimulating
economic growth and job creation in central and northern British Columbia.
Northern Development will be the catalyst to inject $2 billion every decade
into communities within the region to realize their economic potential.
    To learn more about the Northern BC Business Advantage program,
businesses are encouraged to visit the Northern Development website:
http://www.northerndevelopment.bc.ca/

    About Northern Development

    Northern Development Initiative Trust is an independent regional economic
development corporation focused on stimulating economic growth and job
creation in central and northern British Columbia. Over $48 million in funding
has been committed to 247 projects with a total project value of over
$275 million.
    For information on funding programs and economic development in central
and northern British Columbia, visit: http://www.northerndevelopment.bc.ca/

    
    /NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available on
    the CNW Photo Network and archived at http://photos.newswire.ca.
    Additional archived images are also available on the CNW Photo Archive
    website at http://photos.newswire.ca. Images are free to accredited
    members of the media/
    





For further information:

For further information: Media Contacts, Janine North, Chief Executive
Officer, Northern Development, Tel: (250) 561-2525,
janine@northerndevelopment.bc.ca; Ken Shields, Chief Executive Officer,
Conifex Inc., Tel: (604) 659-8350; Leonard Thomas, Economic Development
Manager, Nak'azdli First Nation, Tel: (250) 613-6340; Frank Everitt,
President, United Steelworkers, Local 1-424, Tel: (250) 563-7771

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Northern Development Initiative Trust

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