SIPP CEO says Business Recovery at Forefront of Rising Economy Week

The free virtual conference is produced by South Island Prosperity Partnership to engage the public in economic rebuilding efforts.

Emilie de Rosenroll
Emilie de Rosenroll, CEO of South Island Prosperity Partnership. Photo by Belle White for Douglas magazine.

The brightest minds in Victoria, Canada and the U.S. come together November 16 – 20 for a comprehensive event focused on resilience and success in the face of a pandemic.

South Island Prosperity Partnership (SIPP) has announced its first ever Rising Economy Week, a virtual conference that is free for the public to attend.

It is described as an immersive virtual event that includes keynote speeches, disruptive ideas, engaging panel discussions and more, all focused on moving the needle on our region’s economic recovery.

The idea came after the non-profit economic development organization began gathering intel from multiple sectors of the local economy during COVID-19 in a bid to better understand how COVID-19 was impacting and challenging industry and business. The various committees formed under the Rising Economy Taskforce brought eye-opening information that is being used to solve problems and find opportunities as the South Island works to recover from the harsh economic impacts of the pandemic.

SIPP CEO Emilie de Rosenroll describes the virtual conference as the culmination of “a great deal of thought leadership” arising from the work of the taskforce.

“Their energy and commitment is what really drove the creation of our event,” she says, “along with the SIPP team and our membership who really wanted to involve the public and bring as many people as possible to the discussion. In this way, bringing thought and industry leaders together with diverse voices, we can stimulate change and open ourselves up to new ideas.”

Keynote speakers for Rising Economy Week include John Stackhouse, Royal Bank of Canada Senior Vice President (Office of the CEO), Mary Rowe, President and CEO of the Canadian Urban Institute, Dr. Tim Moonen, Managing Director of The Business of Cities, author and speaker Dan Pontefract of The Dan Pontefract Group, Carol Anne Hilton, CEO of The Indigenomics Institute, Monique Leroux, Chair of the Industry Strategy Council and Avery Shenfeld, Chief Economic for CIBC Capital Markets.

Dozens of industry leaders from Victoria, Canada and the U.S. will also participate in panel discussions and breakout sessions.

Event co-hosts bring cross-border conversation

SIPP has also brought in fellow US-based organization Pacific NorthWest Economic Region (PNWER) as an event co-host for Rising Economy Week. They will present a curated Pacific Northwest conference track that explores the cross-border challenges and solutions facing the Cascadia mega-region Vancouver Island is part of.

Most notable is the Ambassador Listening Session. During the virtual, moderated listening session, Ambassador to the United States Kirsten Hillman and US Acting Ambassador to Canada, Chargé d’Affaires Katherine Brucker will listen to short presentations from up to ten sector stakeholders on topics related to border issues, supply chains, trade (including USMCA implementation) and bilateral collaboration during COVID-19. They will then address the issues brought forward.

de Rosenroll feels the economic organization, whose work parallels what SIPP and others are doing to stimulate recovery, is a natural partner. “As a broader region, we have so many things in common. And this conversation that we’re having is vital, especially because it will occur right after the U.S. Election. We’re all very aware of how important our relationship to the U.S. is to us and to our prosperity on both sides of the border. There’s so much we can accomplish by working together.”

She says everyone will benefit from joining the discussion at the event, which brings together many of the hot topics around economic recovery, including the blue and green economies, the visitor economy, higher education, urban development and digital disruption.

“The pandemic has really accelerated what digital disruption was already happening before it came along,” adds de Rosenroll. “So we need to understand it and strategize how to use it to our best advantage. We are looking under the microscope at all the changes that are happening so fast, whereas traditionally they would have progressed at a slower pace.”

A tale of two economies – of challenge and opportunity

As many opportunities as the pandemic has produced in terms of technological advancement acceleration and new business growth, de Rosenroll says it’s important not to forget that for many people, the pandemic is far from over and will continue to affect them for years to come. She cites the retail, hospitality and tourism sectors in particular.

“We need to keep in mind that there are a lot of sectors that aren’t able to think about a normal cycle of research, development and refinement, because they’re currently in survival mode. It’s important to acknowledge their struggle. There’s definitely a tale of two economies. Long-term, these sectors will rebound, but in the short-term, there are people who are really suffering right now.”

Focus on hope, not fear

Despite the challenge and the anxiety and the overwhelm of rapid change, growth and disruption, de Rosenroll says SIPP, their members and the stakeholders behind the Rising Economy Taskforce are focused on hope rather than fear.

“We keep in mind that there’s a bigger picture here. In a few years, our current situation will have passed and we believe in Greater Victoria’s resilience. I am proud of the fact that we aren’t leaving sectors or groups of people behind, and that industry and local leadership is saying we need to see a recovery that is inclusive. If we continue our current path, we will be successful and able to rebound in a way that is perhaps even better than it was before.”

Rising Economy Week will culminate in the release of SIPP’s Economic Recovery Report, which provides actionable recommendations for rebuilding the local economy and creating a resilient future for our region.

For the full event schedule and to register visit

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