The Salmon Arm Economic Development Society opened the Zest Commercial Food Hub in 2021. (File photo)

The Salmon Arm Economic Development Society opened the Zest Commercial Food Hub in 2021. (File photo)

Year in Review: Salmon Arm businesses adapt, innovate and grow amid challenging year

Salmon Arm Economic Development Society reflects on 2021, looks to year ahead

  • Dec. 26, 2021 10:00 a.m.

As the team at Salmon Arm Economic Development Society (SAEDS) looks back on 2021, there’s profound admiration and respect for the dedicated businesses that continue to contribute to our economic well-being.

Our local businesses proved they could adapt, innovate and grow in the most challenging of situations. There is no question our small businesses formed the foundation to Salmon Arm’s 2021 ranking as the 6th Most Resilient City in the Province, by BC Business.

This year marked the inaugural year for Salmon Arm’s Top 20 Under 40 program. Hosted by Serviss Wealth Management, in partnership with Value Partners Investment, BDO, and Ian Gray’s Salmon Arm GM, SAEDS profiled the contributions of visionaries and innovators who are working to create positive change. Learn more about these community builders at www.salmonarmtop20.ca.

In 2021, SAEDS also secured funding, developed and launched the Zest Commercial Food Hub in Salmon Arm. This ambitious project is an important addition to the Shuswap’s agri-food sector. Zest provides affordable, shared-use commercial kitchen space in a supportive environment. This food hub is one of just a few operating in the province, each designed to support British Columbia’s growing food processing sector. Find out more at www.zestfoodhub.ca.

SAEDS also oversees the administration of Salmon Arm’s Municipal and Regional District Tax Program (two per cent hotel tax). Given the challenges the hospitality sector has faced throughout the pandemic, these funds are primarily directed towards visitor attraction programming. 2021 projects included Canoe Beach entrance enhancements and signage; installation of visitor kiosks in high-traffic locations; design, printing and distribution of Salmon Arm maps that highlight anchor tourism attractions; development of visitor attraction videos and related digital marketing campaigns; and, creation of shared tools for community event attraction and hosting. Planning for 2022 projects is now underway. Watch for the addition of new branded wayfinding and parks signage coming soon to Salmon Arm!

Read more: Salmon Arm’s Zest opens doors for food innovation and production

Read more: Salmon Arm entrepreneur aims to celebrate young community leaders

As a participant community in BC’s Entrepreneur Immigration Regional Pilot Program, SAEDS continues to support experienced entrepreneurs who are ready to invest in and actively manage their business in Salmon Arm. This provincial program is attracting new business start-ups and related job creation in the target sectors of advanced manufacturing, computer systems design, scientific and technical consulting services, and food processing.

Planning is now underway for season six of the successful Shuswap Launch-a-Preneur program. This collaborative initiative is hosted by Okanagan College’s Enactus students, Salmon Arm Economic Development Society and Community Futures Shuswap. The purpose of the program is to assist individuals to successfully plan for and start their business in the Shuswap. Since its launch, dozens of new businesses and jobs have been created by this award-winning program. Stay tuned for registration information coming in the New Year!

The SAEDS board of directors, comprising leaders from each of the sectors of our economy, completed its latest five-year economic action plan earlier this year. By working in collaboration with industry and community, SAEDS has firmly set its sights on ensuring that Salmon Arm continues to flourish as a small city with big ideas!


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