Rising Economy Week tackles issues affecting us now

The free conference presents bold solutions and disruptive ideas to address climate change, the housing crisis, economic changes and more.

Dan Breznitz
University of Toronto professor and author Dan Breznitz presents his keynote 'Innovation in Real Places — Strategies for Prosperity in an Unforgiving World' at Rising Economy Week November 25. Photo supplied.

The twin global crises of climate change and the pandemic have accelerated the need for deep collaboration to design a resilient, adaptive economy for Greater Victoria and B.C., rather than reacting to circumstances forced upon us, say the organizers of Rising Economy Week.

The in-person and virtual conference starts next Monday and is produced by South Island Prosperity Partnership (SIPP). It is geared toward a diverse audience, from business owners and civic leaders to academics, entrepreneurs and post-secondary students.

The conference theme is Momentum. Says SIPP CEO Emilie de Rosenroll, “as we move through the pandemic into recovery, it’s critical we focus on creating the kind of region we want — one that is economically resilient, innovative, sustainable and inclusive. That’s how we’ll manage the challenges and rise as a region.”

Existing major challenges facing our communities — from the race to net-zero to housing affordability — have been amplified by recent pandemic and climate-related supply shortages. de Rosenroll says these challenges mean conversations around a designed economy are more important than ever.

The conference features an A-list of nationally and internationally renowned speakers. They include global innovation expert Dan Breznitz, urban housing changemaker Jennifer Keesmaat, Innovate BC Chair and former B.C. cabinet minister Andrew Petter, climate change leader Barbara Buchner, and entrepreneur and National Geographic Explorer Julie Angus.

“This is an event that really matters,” says Annette Sabourin, Regional Vice President Vancouver Island, RBC — Royal Bank, the presenting sponsor.  “Thought and business leaders are coming together for the kinds of conversations that lead to change — and we need to change. It’s time to reimagine Canada’s economy, emphasizing sustainable growth driven by purpose, leveraging a time of crisis into a time of transformation. We’re looking forward to the insights and perspectives offered by this year’s speakers.”

A unique feature of this year’s event, which builds upon the first REW held in November 2020, is the BC Ferries Design Lab on November 24. This by-invitation session gathers experts from diverse sectors and disciplines for a design-thinking lab focused on how we can accelerate the decarbonization of shipping by using the electrification of BC Ferries’ terminals and Island Class vessels — and eventually its entire fleet —as a case study. 

Co-produced by SIPP and UVic’s Vancouver Island Impact Investing Hub with BC Ferries, the Design Lab focuses on a vital question — how do we get to ‘yes’ faster and accelerate complex, multi-disciplinary, multi-stakeholder and capital-intensive projects that will impact our planet?” 

“We are supporting Rising Economy Week because we need innovation and entrepreneurial spirit to recover strongly from the pandemic,” notes Mark Collins, President and CEO of BC Ferries, the Innovation Sponsor for Rising Economy Week. Their fleet was pressed into action over the past few days after severe weather closed the Malahat. “Now is the time for the talent and leadership of the South Island to find smart ways for all of us to come out on top,” he says.

For further information and to register visit ourrisingeconomy.com. Douglas magazine is pleased to be an event sponsor.