Intelligent New West reaching out to women, business and citizens

A series of events are being planned to support the Intelligent New West strategy.

In recent years, the City of New Westminster has held many events during Innovation Week. In response to feedback that suggested some folks found it challenging to attend so many events concentrated into one week, the city decided to disperse events out through the year.

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“Intelligent New West events help activate the Intelligent New West strategy by leveraging partnerships that support and develop an inclusive and prosperous digital economy, and that position New Westminster as a leader in digital policy,” said a  staff report. “They are the public-facing extension of the Intelligent New West strategy and are one way the city can communicate and validate the tactics that are being implemented that support the Intelligent New West strategy.”

The first of four Intelligent New West events planned for 2020 is an Innovation Expo that’s taking place at Anvil Centre on Thursday, Feb. 20. Now in its fourth year, the event, presented in partnership with Public Services and Procurement Canada’s office of small and medium enterprises, includes panels and presentations that provide strategies on being awarded government contracts and securing funding for new innovation and technology.

During last year’s Innovation Week, the city hosted an Advancing Women in STEAM event, which featured speakers on numerous topics celebrating ways for advancing women in science, technology, engineering, arts and math.

Jen Arbo, the city’s economic development coordinator, said representatives from the Department of National Defence approached the city after that event to see if it could work with the city on a future event.

“They were really keen on promoting some work they are doing with trades and training, especially when it comes to innovative or technology-focused trades,” she said.

In acknowledgment of International Women’s Day, an Allies and Modern Trades event is taking place on the morning of March 11 at city hall. The event, which will be livestreamed and interactive using Slido, features a presentation, panel discussion and information tables including representatives of trades, first responders and industries that are often male-dominated.

“This is really a professional development opportunity, as well as information about career paths,” Arbo said.

A staff report states the event hopes to provide a place for a discussion about why women need allies in modern trades and hopes to make sure people realize they have the capacity to be allies regardless of their personal demographics.

“This event is designed and targeted at providing a little more education. What is allyship? Why is this an ‘everyone problem’ and not just a woman’s problem?” Arbo recently told city council. “Gender equality affects everybody, and it should be something we are prepared to learn what being a good ally is and how can we, who identify as an ally, how can we equip others to be that as well.”

In May, two Intelligent New West events will take place during Emergency Preparedness Week.

The city is partnering with the New Westminster Chamber of Commerce on a May 5 workshop that will help businesses develop business continuity plans. The city is also holding two free workshops for residents on May 3 and 6 to present the plans the city intends to use in the event of an emergency.

Intelligent New West aims to help the city introduce new concepts and ideas that create positive change and to develop the spirit of innovation and help foster that innovation among residents, businesses and institutions.

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