Mobilizing Local Capital – Community Investment Co-Ops in Rural BC

Kootenay Employment Services Society


In rural BC, we can easily invest our savings into national and global markets, yet there are no efficient or cost-effective tools to invest into the communities where we live. While we invest our savings into communities around the globe, businesses and projects in rural BC have identified access to capital as a top priority to their start-up, expansion and succession plans.

Community Investment Co-ops are a new and innovative support system for rural economic and business development that effectively bridge the gap between local investors and local ventures in need of financing. Investment Co-ops are a cost effective, community owned and controlled impact fund.

They enable residents to become partners in locally driven economic development, which leads to stronger and more sustainable economies. Investment Co-ops raise money from their members, pool this in a local Credit Union, and establish a financing pool for local ventures.

During 2018, Kootenay Employment Services Society (KES), the Province of BC, BC Rural Centre, and over 50 community and economic development stakeholders established two regional Investment Co-ops in rural BC: the West Kootenay Boundary Community Investment Co-op and the East Kootenay Columbia Community Investment Co-op.