Shuswap Launch-a-Preneur named one of B.C.’s best community projects

Shuswap Launch-a-Preneur named one of B.C.’s best community projects

A collaborative program that helps Shuswap entrepreneurs launch their bright ideas received a boost of its own this month when it was named one of the top community projects in the province.

The Shuswap Launch-a-Preneur program received the Community Project Award at the 2017 BC Economic Development Awards in Victoria last Tuesday, June 13. The prestigious awards honour organizations and individuals for their efforts in creating positive change in urban, suburban, and rural communities.

Launch-a-Preneur is a joint project hosted by Okanagan College, the College’s Enactus team, Community Futures Shuswap and the Salmon Arm Economic Development Society. The popular program provides support, resources and mentorship to assist individuals with a business idea to successfully launch in the Shuswap.

“The most powerful part of this program is how it brings the community together to support and encourage local entrepreneurs,” says Andrew Klingel, a professor with the College’s School of Business who also serves as a faculty advisor to Enactus OC. “It’s exciting to see all the new business ideas and watch how the community rallies around them.”

May marked the fourth season for Launch-a-Preneur, which runs every other year. It includes both a workshop series and a final event night, which gives teams the chance to pitch their ideas to a panel of judges.

This year 10 teams competed in front of a sold out crowd of 285 people at the Salmar Classic Theatre. Six teams took home more than $36,000 worth of prize packages designed to help them launch or grow their businesses. First place went to the team from WineBox Sweets Co., who also garnered People’s Choice.

Over the past four years, nearly $100,000 in prizes have been donated by local sponsors. That investment has allowed the project to continue to grow and support more entrepreneurs each year.

“Community support for the program has been overwhelming from day one,” explains Lana Fitt, Economic Development Manager for the Salmon Arm Economic Development Society and one of the event’s organizers. “And the ripple effect of that support has been deeply felt by the many entrepreneurs who have participated over the years. We are very proud to receive this award. It’s an honour to be recognized among some of B.C.’s best economic development efforts.”

This year marks the 27th year that the BC Economic Development Association (BCEDA) has presented these awards. There are two categories, Community Project Award and Marketing Innovation Award, with two awards bestowed in each category – one award for a project serving a population less than 20,000 and one for a population more than 20,000. Shuswap Launch-a-Preneur took home the award for population under 20,000, while the City of Prince George’s Economic Development department took home the hardware for population more than 20,000.

Buoyed by the award and another round of positive feedback following Launch-a-Preneur’s fourth season, organizers expect the event to continue – and that the ripple number of businesses launched will likewise continue to expand.

“The value of the Launch-a-Preneur program can clearly be defined by the number of participants who have successfully launched their businesses in the Shuswap,” says Rob Marshall, Executive Director for Community Futures Shuswap. “Community Futures is pleased to be part of a program that engages community members on so many levels and we proudly stand with our partners in accepting the Community Project Award.”

More information about Launch-a-Preneur is available at launch-a-preneur.ca/.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The City of Salmon Arm erected a fence around the Ross Street Plaza on Nov. 24/2020, citing reasons centering on safety and security due to camping by people who don’t have homes. The closure is temporary but it’s not known when it will be reopened. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)
City of Salmon Arm erects fence around plaza so people can’t camp there

Lieutenant says lack of public space affects people without homes but he understands city’s decision

Damien Smith, with father Thomas Smith, is “frozen” with joy as he watches a special message Deadpool star Ryan Reynolds recorded for Damien’s 9th birthday on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020. (Contributed)
Shuswap boy celebrates 9th birthday with family, community and Ryan Reynolds

People from around the world send birthday cards showing young Canoe resident he’s not alone

Construction of the proposed Ross Street underpass may start in the spring of 2021. (City of Salmon Arm illustration)
Salmon Arm’s Ross Street underpass to go to tender but not without risk

City council gives nod to construction agreement after pondering insurance

Masks are now officially mandatory in all City of Campbell River facilities. (Black Press File Photo)
Interior Health reports 49 new COVID-19 cases overnight

302 cases remain active; two in hospital

A School District 83 trustee expressed concern regarding how employee and trustee expenses are reported during a review of the statement of financial information for the district's fiscal year end. (File photo)
Transparency concern raised over North Okanagan-Shuswap school district expenses

Employee and trustee expenses total more than $370,000 for fiscal year

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Nov. 23, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. daily COVID-19 cases hits record 941 on Tuesday

Further restrictions on indoor exercise take effect

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

(Pixabay.com)
Man, 28, warned by Kootenay police to stop asking people to marry him

A woman initially reported the incident to police before they discovered others had been popped the question

Winston Blackmore (left) and James Oler (right) were sentenced on separate charges of polygamy this week in Cranbrook Supreme Court.
No more charges expected in Bountiful investigation, special prosecutor says

Special prosecutor says mandate has ended following review of evidence from Bountiful investigations

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Garage in Kelowna burns to the ground, blaze deemed suspicious

Fire crews responded to the scene just after 4:30 p.m.

(Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Refuse to follow B.C.’s mask mandate? Face a $230 fine

Masks are now required to be worn by all British Columbians, 12 years and older

(Ty Hainsworth / Facebook)
No injuries after fire rips through South Okanagan fruit stand

A fruit stand caught fire Tuesday afternoon, closing Highway 97 for two hours

A major reconstruction project on 32nd Avenue is nearing completion and the road is now re-opened to traffic between 33rd Street and 35th Street. (City of Vernon photo)
ROAD REPORT: More roundabouts coming to North Okanagan

New intersection lights up Dec. 13, 30th Street paving delayed, PV Road completed in Vernon

In this handout photo provided by the Philippine Red Cross, families stay at a temporary evacuation center at Catanduanes province, eastern Philippines, Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020, as Typhoon Goni hits the country. Families living near coastal towns have moved to evacuation centers as the strong typhoon makes landfall. (Philippine Red Cross via AP)
Okanagan community group organizes fundraiser for typhoon-hit Philippines

Over two million people have been affected by flooding, with about 500,000 forced to leave homes

Most Read