As with most rural communities, small businesses are the engines of Hornby's economy, and the key to our future. In the next few years, we expect many businesses to go through succession as long time owners retire, or new businesses to be created as needs and gaps arise.
HICEEC facilitates a micro-lending service to support expansion of existing enterprises, and start-ups.
Community marketing is an integral part of the efforts to foster cooperation between our grassroots entrepreneurs, and to help inform visitors of what is on offer. HICEEC's focus is on developing the shoulder season economy. HICEEC produces the annual Hornby/Denman Visitor Guide, and is the managing partner in the website www.hornbyisland.com One of the major links on the website, for use by locals and visitors alike, is the EVENTS calendar https://hornbyisland.com/events/
Under #hornbyisland, and #myhornbystory, an active social media presence is maintained on both Facebook and Instagram to help showcase local attractions, events, and businesses.
In the Fall of 2015, HICEEC brought key Hornby business leaders together, in a workshop in Tofino, to identify their priorities. From that input HICEEC started working on improving Island internet. Working closely with the primary provider, Telus, HICEEC was instrumental in getting improved internet to the S.E. corner of the island. A new hub at Central and Sandpiper was activated in March, 2018, to tap into the antiquated copper wiring "last mile" network. At that time Telus informed HICEEC that no more major investments would be made, due to the low density on the Island, and that there was not a viable Return On Investment for their Corporation. HICEEC persisted in seeking solutions, and by 2021 a whole new paradigm emerged. FMI: www.hornbydenmaninternet.com
HICEEC and the Hornby Island Outdoor Education Centre collaborated on an effort to investigate the feasibility of public transportation on Hornby. Pilot projects in August, 2017 and July & August, 2018 & 2019.
COVID grounded the bus in 2020, and it has re-established for July & August, 2021. Operations are funded by Island businesses and organizations, and the Comox Valley Regional District. A ten person volunteer Steering Committee oversees this project, with HICEEC staff coordination. FMI: www.HornbyBus.com
HICEEC maintains a staff who is dedicated to support the small business sector, and particularly encourage business start-up, expansion, and collaborative efforts. Karen Ross has been involved in the business scene on Hornby for 30 years, and can quickly fill you in on opportunities you may be missing out on. Up to date information for the Hornby business community can be found on the private Facebook group, Hornby Business Network.
Lobbying is an important role for economic development, and HICEEC has supported operational and capital projects for the Arts sector, worked on establishing a community garden and Farmland Trust Society, provided financial and administrative support for housing, campaigned for industrial and commercial property uses, pitched for improved recreational facilities, invested in environmental education, and supported other projects that are family/work force/island friendly.
Contracted to the Comox Valley Regional District to provide the economic development function, annual budgets are presented, and approved. As a Canadian not-for-profit corporation, we are always looking for ways to leverage the funds, and be kind to Island taxpayers. We thank Destination B.C., Island Coastal Economic Trust, and Northern Development Initiative Trust for their financial contributions to our work. Also major thanks to local volunteers, businesses and organizations for being on the HICEEC Board, for partnering in advertising initiatives, participating in operating the community bus, and coordinated advocacy work with B.C. Ferries and government agencies.
Each year HICEEC asks the Community to recognize excellence in the business arena. The Community nominates a business that they believe is worthy of the accolade. Nominations are evaluated based on the stated criteria, and ta da..........the award is presented at the Fall Business Mixer. Each selected business has their name placed on the trophy (hand carved by Nick Inglis), and holds onto the trophy for one year. The following year, the trophy is returned, and a new poll is done. A copy of the Nomination form is in the downloads section above.