Kootenay, British Columbia

Nelson BC Aerial

In the southeast corner of B.C., bordering the United States and Alberta, the Kootenay region is one of Canada’s leading destinations for outdoor pursuits. Pristine rivers, lakes and beaches, waterfalls, mineral hot springs, alpine meadows, and snow-capped mountains attract outdoor enthusiasts from around the world. Established natural resource industries continue to add value to the local economy through development of agri-food processing, mass timber and mining circular economy initiatives, and provide solid footing for the burgeoning tech and digital media sectors. The Kootenays offer rich, diverse, and sophisticated communities coupled with incredible geographical beauty.

Regional Advantages


Canada’s first community-driven, collaborative strategy to build an electric vehicle charging station network.


A lack of traffic jams, an inclusive and strong business community, and breathtaking forests and lakes nearby help make this community one of the best in the province.


Nelson was ranked fourth in the top 100 best places to retire in Canada by MoneySense Magazine, and nearby Cranbrook also made the list, coming in at tenth place.


The West Kootenay industrial hub is one of 13 North American efforts promoting the shift to a circular economic model through public-private partnerships.


The laidback lifestyle of the Kootenay region is hard to compare with anything else around the world. Lush forests, massive mountains, rivers, lakes, and streams invite novice and avid hikers, bikers, climbers, and anyone else who enjoys the beauty of nature, while thriving communities deliver unique shops, friendly neighbours, and an active and progressive business development strategy.

Coal production, mining, forestry, and tourism all contribute to the local economy while value-added manufacturing industries, technology and digital media are emerging in the region.

Economic Development Organizations

First Nations

There are five First Nations communities in the Kootenay region, including the ?Akisq’nuk First Nation, Yaqan Nukiy, Shuswap, ?Aqam, and Tobacco Plains. The Community and Economic Development Department and the Ktunaxa Nation Industry Engagement Officers are working with the communities to build economic partnerships throughout the region, including the forestry, agriculture, energy, and tourism sectors.

Economic Development Associations

Educational Institutions

The College of the Rockies offers a full range of programs in the areas of university studies, adult basic education, health, child youth and family studies, administrative studies, tourism, computer technology, fire services and trades.

Selkirk College was the first regional community college in British Columbia. It has grown into one of the largest organizations in the Kootenays and offers over 60 programs.

Connect With A Regional Expert

Regional experts can help familiarize you with the amenities, infrastructure, and opportunities in each region. They can introduce you to the economic development offices and industry associations that will support the integration of your business into the province.