Gwyn Nicholas (L) and Kelly Holliday (R) discuss a project idea during the Ignite the North event.

Community discusses creative ideas at Ignite the North event

Event helped Burns Lake develop a culture of innovative thinking.

Ignite the North is an event traveling through 11 communities in Northern B.C. The event provides tools and creates a safe space for community members to reflect, create and discuss inspiring ideas that could affect change in the community.

“Ignite the North hopes to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs by initiating conversations on innovation and collaboration,” said Dr. Albert Koehler, chair of the project.

The event made a stop in Burns Lake on Dec. 2, gathering community leaders, business owners and other members of the community at the Burns Lake Vineyard Church.

The uniquely formatted event had all participants actively contributing via small facilitated group discussions about innovation. Among the ideas discussed that night, was the need to develop a strong marketing strategy for Burns Lake, highlighting what’s unique about the town in order to attract and retain residents to the area.

Also discussed that night was the idea of supporting the arts in the community by creating an arts college. Another project idea involved creating strategies to attract and retain youth to the area.

Each group assigned a leader responsible for gathering all information discussed at the tables. Later, members of each group switched tables throughout the meeting to provide insights and assist other groups with their project.

The Ignite the North team also led a workshop at Lakes District Secondary School (LDSS) with 50 youth from grades 11 to 12.

“We need more innovation and to get our kids to start thinking about how to build and create things and add value to them,” said Koehler.

During the workshop at LDSS, stories of local Burns Lake entrepreneurs were shared with the youth in the hopes of showing how young entrepreneurs have found opportunities right in the community. Students were then be asked to give their insights on how to inspire the next generation of innovators.