In India, a man trains to be yoga teacher. Two dozen women gather to get “back to nature” at a tipi village in Oregon. A healing centre in Peru teaches guests about plant medicine. What do these have in common? Technology developed in Nelson, BC.

Brothers Deryk and Cameron Wenaus founded Retreat Guru and Retreat Booking Guru. The first is a website (retreat.guru) that enables the public to find retreat centres and teachers around the world, in areas like yoga, meditation, wellness and more. The second is a platform that enables retreat centres to manage their enterprises, from registration, to assigning rooms, to accepting donations.

“Twenty-plus years ago I was doing a lot of retreats myself at Buddhist retreat centres,” says Deryk. “I was also a computer programmer, so I would help them build websites and really simple booking systems.” With his brother at his side, an expert in sales and marketing, the demand and business grew from there.

The Trust and the program delivery partners—Community Futures and the Heritage Credit Union— recognize that fostering technology is an important step for economic development and job creation in the region. With this in mind, they supported the brothers’ application to help finance the expansion of their business even further. Not only are they hiring more people, like sales staff, but they’ve relocated to a renovated space in an old jam factory in Nelson. There, they offer co-working opportunities: for a monthly fee, independent workers and small businesses can rent workspace and access office amenities.

“The majority of our employees are hired locally,” says Deryk. “Also our investors are local.

And the co-working is our way to hopefully stir up more local start-ups by giving them an incubator-type space where we can give advice and help them.”

Although their reach is global, and it may be easier to access resources and skillsets in larger centres, Nelson will remain their home. “We’re not moving this anywhere. We love Nelson and we’re staying put.”