COMOX VALLEY, B.C. – The City of Courtenay and the Town of Comox are among the launching points for a pilot project that the B.C. government says “will spur economic growth in smaller centres throughout the province.”

The newly launched Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) Entrepreneur Immigration Regional Pilot is focused on drawing entrepreneurs from around the world to establish businesses in 30 small communities across B.C.

To be eligible to participate, a community must have settlement and business supports in place to help newcomers successfully integrate.

The pilot will be delivered for an initial two-year period.

Courtenay-Comox MLA Ronna-Rae Leonard said Courtenay and Comox offer diverse economies and an attractive lifestyle for newcomers and their families.

Comox mayor Russ Arnott added, “The Comox Valley continues to be one of the fastest growing regions in the province. We want to attract new people new people and new businesses to drive economic growth and job creation.”

Zhengfu Zao, who owns the Union Street Grill, said that after looking throughout B.C., “we saw great potential to run a business here in Courtenay.”

“My family  was able to start this wonderful journey because of the B.C. Provincial Nominee Program, and we’re incredibly proud to have established roots here and grown our restaurant in (the) Comox Valley.”