Since inception, the Piney Regional Chamber of Commerce (PRCC) has held a vision of creating a makerspace in our region so that entrepreneurs have a place to test out new food products, create prototypes and generally work on big ideas with equipment they wouldn’t have access to in their day to day work or personal life.

The Chamber’s makerspace would contribute to both business and community development goals. With COVID and social distancing due to be a reality in our region for some time to come, the initiative could start virtually with equipment that could be loaned out, like a book lending library, then evolve into a physical space, perhaps in one of the many community halls in our region.

This program will allow entrepreneurs of any age to use equipment they might not otherwise be able to access to create prototypes or develop new food products to participate in the local economy. There are already a number of entrepreneurs who sell a variety of products at the local farmer’s markets. This program could provide the means for these business owners to expand their product lines. A makerspace also introduces a community development benefit of mentoring between more seasoned business people and youth entrepreneurs. And not just in one direction. This collaboration would allow youth to learn marketable skills to pursue paths they may not have considered. On the flip side, this initiative could provide the opportunity for those who are less tech savvy to learn new technology from youth who have never known a world without computers.

Chamber member Sunrise Corner Economic Development has determined new business development and existing business growth as top priorities. Economic development manager, Monique Chenier, is able to offer additional value and benefit by working with these entrepreneurs to help develop, market and grow their businesses. You can reach Monique at monique@sunrisecornermb.ca.

Since PRCC was formed to foster economic development with the ultimate goal of enhancing our region for work, play, raising families and doing business, a makerspace is a great way to foster the creative thinking that will be needed to come up with the next big idea.

If anyone is interested in volunteering on the committee to move this progressive idea to reality, contact Chamber president Jonathon Prevost at president@pineyregionalchamber.ca.