Love the great outdoors and all the cutting-edge gear that often comes with it?
A first-of-its-kind in Canada conference being hosted by The Kootenay Outdoor Recreation Enterprise in Kimberley this fall is for you.
Scheduled for Oct. 19-21, the Outdoor Rec-Tech Summit is dedicated to outdoor rec-tech manufacturing and product design, with a focus on highlighting the Kootenays as a place to do business.
According to Robyn Peel, community economic development coordinator for Community Futures East Kootenay, the summit is for anyone with a stake in the outdoor gear manufacturing industry, whether it’s through creating, promoting, managing, or dreaming.
The conference will include two full days of sessions featuring knowledgeable and entertaining speakers and presentations, breakfast and lunch on each day,and an optional stay and play day on Oct. 22 with local experts.
“This is a great opportunity to bring those designers and manufacturers together along with those working in economic development to really promote that sector and what great work they’re doing in our region,” Peel said.
There are nine confirmed guest speakers so far including Dustin Adams, CEO of We Are Composites, a Kamloops-based bike and gear manufacturing company. His presentation is about re-shoring businesses in Canada, and the benefits and limits of this within the industry and the Kootenays.
Megan Zeeb, a sustainability professional, will also be speaking. She has worked with REI, mountainFLOW eco-wax and Out&Back Outdoor in a variety of capacities to further sustainability initiatives in the industry. Her presentation will address the topic of sustainability in ski manufacturing.
Other speakers will address themes of supply chain security, product innovation, academic and industry collaboration, sector network development, product launch case studies and financing alternatives.
KORE is in contact with an additional 10 speakers in hopes to bring about nineteen guest professionals to the schedule.
The summit is open for an early bird $300 registration fee until Aug. 31. The regular registration fee after Sept. 1 is $350.
Peel explained the conference will be filled with tinkerers, designers and engineers who have a passion for the outdoors.
“Celebrating that these people exist and then helping them be functional, healthy, resilient, vibrant businesses that are gonna be here for the long term,” she said. “Most of us choose to be here because we love the outdoors and we love to go out and be a part of it.”
KORE manufacturers will have the opportunity to exhibit their products at the conference and there will also be a Discover Kootenays Expo which will support economic development and promote the Kootenays as a place to do business.
Peel emphasized KORE made networking increasingly possible for the outdoor rec-tech sector, allowing people to be part of something bigger.
“Hopefully it will promote businesses across the whole of Canada as to how we can be promoting this sector,” she said. “Until KORE existed, a couple of years ago a lot of businesses were independent and less connected.”
There are also opportunities available for students to pay a $50 registration fee and be inspired to be ski designers, bike manufacturers or other outdoor rec-tech industry creators.
“That really excites me because it gives kids in the area a chance to see potentially another way to turn their passion into a business long-term and be inspired by these other makers,” Peel shared.
There are 20 spots allocated for the scholarship Youth Legacy program. Interested youth should contact KORE at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If interested in being a part of the Discover Kootenay exhibition space, please reach out to Robyn Peel of Community Futures East Kootenay at email@example.com.