Town officials are hopeful a new Ladysmith app can notify investors of economic opportunities. (John McKinley photo)

Ladysmith hopes to spark investment with new app

Developing project should be ready by late summer, could help tourism as well

Mike Youds Special to the Chronicle

A Ladysmith mobile phone app is in the works to better engage potential investors, but it remains to be seen whether the same tool could serve as a visitor tour guide.

Ladysmith is one of half dozen stakeholders in the app’s development — another tool in the town’s revamped economic development strategy — scheduled for completion by August.

Combined with an improved website, the app is intended to provide timely information about emerging business opportunities through access to an online data base.

“While investment attraction websites are a must to remain competitive, apps represent a new level of engagement for visitors and investors in search of a great place to invest and build a business,” said Amy Melmock, manager of Economic Development Cowichan.

Island Coastal Economic Trust (ICET) is funding the app while the project is spearheaded by Economic Development Cowichan. Project partners, including the chamber of commerce, LDBA, Stz’uminus First Nation and Nanaimo Regional Airport, are hoping the app will be able to include more than investment information.

“This project shows the level of innovation and creativity we have in the region when it comes to reaching out to potential investors and job-creators,” said ICET Chair Josie Osborne. “The website and app will provide a clear investment profile while aligning with regional aspirations and provincial priorities to leverage technology in new and unexpected ways.”

ICET indicated that visitors using the app would also be able to explore an array of cultural insights about the community, including information related to the First Nations and industrial heritage of Ladysmith. However, the secondary feature is not yet confirmed.

Mark Drysdale, chamber manager, said it is too early in the development process to know whether the app can serve a dual purpose for investment and tourism.

“We’re going to explore the possibility that it can function as both,” said. “It seems like it will be a stretch, but we’re not sure yet.”

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