How do you move your community forward?


Were is your community at? 

What phase are you at? 

  • Conflict?
  • Emergence? 
  • Vision? 
  • Actualization?

Depending on where you are, the way forward will look different. The right tool is imperative for the stage and phase communities are at.

The free Communities Matrix has been requested by more than 25 countries and was recognized by the international Community Development Society as one of the world's best for assessing community readiness. This one-page conceptual framework is a great place to start the conversation whether you are a large community or a small organization. 



How tourist-friendly is your community to residents and tourists?

  • Citizens of this community have a positive attitude towards tourists. 
  • The photography & videos on the main tourism website for our town or region are professional looking and beautiful.
  • Our brand is accepted and promoted by the community, its businesses and tourism operators.
  • Our community tourism website for our town or region conveys a sense of excitement.
  • This town believes in itself. We think that with enough support, we can do anything

Our tourism vitality tools take the pulse of your community and - with tourism operators and local leaders - strategically build tourism assets and attitudes.



How business-friendly are you?

Is your community doing everything it can to create fertile soil for entrepreneurs and businesses? 

  • Innovative and entrepreneurial thinking is understood & encouraged in the community. 
  • There is a vibrant community core where people can interact. 
  • Young adults (age 25-34) consider the community a desirable place to live.
  • The community identifies and follows through on opportunities. 
  • People prefer to purchase local products and services before those from out of area.

Take the pulse of the community by using our Business Vitality tools. Coupled with an engaging process with community leaders, businesses and other community influencers , we harness the energy of your community to drive change. 


OUR TOOLS - Workshops, Training and Accreditation

We can work directly with your community or train and accredit you to use versions of our tools. CIEL offers direct delivery or individual/group accreditation and training on a variety of tools. Training can be delivered in-person or remotely (by Zoom or other methods). Some of CIEL's tools include:

  1. Community Readiness - Communities Life Cycle Matrix - How ready are we? What stage are we at? What's our next step? This internationally award-winning tool has been used in more than 25 countries and by many First Nations in Canada as the first step in planning. It is also a valuable tool for organizations (organizations are small communities).
  2. Business Vitality - How business-friendly are we? How do we create an environment that allows entrepreneurs to flourish? 
  3. Tourism Vitality - How tourist-friendly are we to tourists? To residents?  How do we work together, build experiences and allow our community to thrive?
  4. Community and Economic Development - What do we need to do to build our economic resiliency? How do we not spoil the fundamental nature of who we are?
  5. Community Check-up - How do we stack up in terms of leadership, strategic capacity, sustainability, inclusivity, vitality, connections and cooperation, and the ability to inspire entrepreneurship?
  6. Community Vitality - What makes our community thrive? What are the barriers to this? How can we enhance our natural amenities, including our people?
  7. Compassionate Community - Do we take care of our most frail and fragile? How do we enhance relationships and partnerships so no one will get left behind? How do we inspire the community to bring out the best in one another?
CIEL has run accreditation workshops in BC, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador and Victoria, Australia.

Our Philosophy - ASSESS - FOCUS -ACT

When you have a hammer, every problem looks like a nail, goes the old expression. CIEL has developed targeted tools and strategic processes that get the job done. That means they are designed to accurately ASSESS the community (using a fun and engaging process), get it FOCUSed and jumpstart it to ACTION using the community's energy. 

CIEL was birthed in British Columbia's Kootenay Region, a region that  boasts 23% of  the communities but only 4% of the BC's population. In the early 2000s the Kootenays had many small communities which were "stuck", waiting for a white knight to come in and revitalize them, These were "constipated communities", unable to undertake any action on their own for a variety of reasons, recalls CIEL's Mike Stolte, Mike discovered that the small communities that were thriving in Canada, the US and around the world were those that had harnessed the entrepreneurial energy of their residents. This entrepreneurial energy attracted even more entrepreneurs and new residents - a virtuous cycle of sorts. This business vitality not only makes a community more resilient, attractive and more economically viable, but also better able to harness the energies of its residents to innovatively and proactively respond to a fast-changing world..

Mike and his team, working within Community Futures Central Kootenay, researched and designed the Business Vitality Initiative, an innovative tool and engaging process which would:

  • comprehensively assess communities using the perceptions of key residents, 
  • facilitate the community through a focusing process to identify 1-3 key short term strategic actions, and
  • jumpstart it to action. 

It worked. 

Many of the small communities began to undertake small and large projects, building momentum and confidence. In one town, seven projects were undertaken in a year including the development of a summer music festival, the targeted recruitment of more doctors and an opportunity identification session for youth, that led to the creation of 7 new businesses.

Mike and his team were so successful that CIEL was born. Since then, Mike and CIEL have gone on to build tools and processes, working in 9 Canadian provinces, mostly with communities with populations between 250 and 25,000 residents. 

CIEL offers training and accreditation for all of its tools. It also offers free simple version of most tools. Some of the tools are described on more details below. Please contact Mike for a free consultation. 


"The tools provide important benchmarks and are measurable - something communities need. Besides that, the processes are fun, easy to understand and engaging."

Mike Dalmau

High Country Management Enterprises, VIC Australia 

"The CIEL team is the most innovative organization in the region. And we've got lots of dynamic, innovative organizations in this region."

Kelvin Saldern

Executive Director, Kootenay Association for Science and Technology (KAST), British Columbia