The Nechako region is a large and beautiful natural resources haven, popular with outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy year-round recreational opportunities in the mountains, glaciers, valleys, and plateaus. It is centrally located with a connected transportation and communication network to support its prosperous forestry, mining, agriculture, and tourism industries. These raw material sectors support innovative and emerging industries, including pellet operations, bioenergy facilities, and value-added wood manufacturing.
A long history of ranching is complemented by local machinery manufacturers innovating and expanding into new markets, such as agri-technology. From large employers in the resources sector to small-scale entrepreneurs and innovative social enterprises, this region has a strong, resilient economy.
Provides funding for SME’s in eligible industries for applied research and development, new or improved products, and services and testing of innovative technologies.
With a local trade area of 25,000 and a regional market of more than 300,000 Smithers serves as the professional services hub for Northwest B.C.
While the Nechako region is the second-largest development region in the province, it’s home to approximately 40,000 residents, making it the least-populated region of B.C. The main communities are Smithers, Vanderhoof, Houston, Fort St. James, and Burns Lake, with many municipalities, villages, and townships adding to the population.
This region extends from the centre of the province up to the Yukon border and is separated from the Northeast region by the Rocky Mountains. There are several towns in the southern end of this region, while the northern end, the Stikine area, is sparsely populated.
Economic Development Organizations
There are 17 First Nation communities in the Nechako region, comprising about 30% of the region’s approximately 40,000 people. First Nations economic development corporations, owned by aligned Nations or individual First Nations, are working towards sustainable development.
Economic Development Associations
The College of New Caledonia is a comprehensive community college that delivers post-secondary training in health sciences, trades and technologies, business, university transfer, social services, and academic upgrading.
Coast Mountain College is an accredited post-secondary institution that serves the rich and diverse communities and learners of B.C.’s beautiful northwest region, including a regional campus in Smithers.
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.