A meeting took place with various Community Futures offices from BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba in Kelowna recently. "Focus on the Future". provided information about Future Trends in Technology, A.I., How to Survive Remote Work, and how to Thrive in Uncertainty. General Manager of Heartland & White Horse Plains Ken Reimer was there as well as other representatives from his office and Heartland. Reimer explains it was the Pan West Conference where they discussed some of the Western concerns that Community Futures offices face and shared some best practices. 

"It was just to get to know some of the other managers, community development people, and board members from across the West. Some of the issues that we were discussing were a lot about the future outlook on what the community futures program could look like in a few years. We were also discussing technology trends that come out, some AI and how it will affect rural communities."

He notes they had some futurists make presentations and technology experts taking a look at how rural communities can embrace technology including AI and cyber security issues. Reimer says it was all about getting the rural communities more involved and up to date with where technology can take them.

ReimerKen Reimer

Reimer explains how AI becomes a great help.

"AI, as far as it goes with Community Futures, relates to a lot of our businesses who come in," says Reimer. "Entrepreneurs will come in and want business plans, cash flows, and things like that. They can certainly utilize and leverage the information that's out there in technology and AI to assist them in either market research, or just detailing what their customers may need, and just the future trends out there."

For those who don't know, Community Futures organizations are part of a federal program across Canada that are established to assist our rural communities growing economically, as well as helping the non-profits in the region.

"We do a lot of community development work, where we'll do entrepreneurship training, we'll teach kids the value of entrepreneurship, and will assist with board training, as well, for non-profits. Then we also do lending for entrepreneurs for their businesses."