A group of 10 committed members is now one step closer to creating the first Columbia Valley Makerspace after receiving $10,500 from the Columbia Basin Trust. The Columbia Valley Makerspace is a society which hopes to provide people in the Valley with access to a low-cost shared workspace, tools, and collective expertise to foster innovation and creativity within the community.
“It’s going to be volunteer-run and we’re going to try to, if we have a space, we’ll try to make it generate money in as many other ways as we can,” said Brian McIntosh co-founder and communications director of the Columbia Valley Makerspace Society.
Currently, the society is continuing to fundraise towards their goal of $50,000, wanting to hit a certain level of funding prior to setting up shop. According to McIntosh, the Columbia Basin Trust’s support has been crucial for the development of the makerspace.
“We have to get up to a funding level because we’re just starting so we need a physical space and we need to get the funding up to a point that can cover it for a certain amount of time that we’re comfortable with. We were hoping to and I think the talk was to have funding to have us to be able to swing doors open for like a year to start with,” said McIntosh.
The society is hoping to open their doors to creators in the community by the time school goes back in the fall. With a total of $15,500 raised so far, the organization is at 31 per cent of their target goal and are actively seeking spaces.
“We’re actually looking for a place that’s in town rather than – we don’t want anything out in the industrial area – and we chose Invermere because it’s the center of the Columbia Valley that we’re trying to serve and we want some place that kids can easily get to,” saidMcIntosh. “Even though it’s not solely for the youth, but the youth are the ones riding around on their bikes, and walking to this thing so we kinda wanted it in a central place in Invermere.”
The group is planning to host a fundraiser later this summer to showcase an activity you’d see typically run in a makerspace, targeting youth involvement. As the society hopes to become more involved in supporting and teaching local kids who have an interest in technology.
With the Columbia Basin Trust grant, McIntosh anticipated it will help them acquire more funds for the project.
“Having some substantial funding in the bank and then being able to go to someone else and go, ‘look this is going to happen we’ve got some money in the bank’. That really helps a lot in convincing other people we’re a real deal. It just makes the talk about funding with other entities or companies all that much more beneficial,” said McIntosh.