Nearly 200 people sat on the edge of their seats, waiting to find out who would be crowned the 2023 Enterprize Challenge victor.
After a Dragon’s Den-style round of pitches at the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre Thursday, May 18, a panel of judges had made their decision. The house lights dimmed and the spotlight illuminated the centre stage. Then, the crowd erupted in applause as Hannah and Pamela Janek of Fieldnotes Market walked into the spotlight.
They’d done it; they’d won the Enterprize Challenge and the more than $35,000 in prizes that comes with it — and all before Fieldnotes Market’s opening day.
“We’re running on adrenaline right now, because we open our store next Saturday, May 27,” said Pamela, owner, alongside her daughter, Hannah. “It’s been super crazy busy, but such a great experience and a great team both at Community Futures and with all of the other contestants.”
Presented by VantageOne Credit Union and Community Futures North Okanagan, the 2023 Enterprize Challenge was the culmination of months of preparation and a night of nerve-inducing pitches in front of friends, family and volunteer judges.
Fieldnotes Market is Armstrong’s soon-to-be newest general store, founded on a love of nature. It provides a curation of quality European-inspired home goods, local arts and crafts, pre-loved housewares and specialty local and European pantry food.
The Janeks took home start-up capital, a year of free business banking, a free radio and print campaign, business consulting and mentoring, a chamber of commerce voucher, tuition credits and legal, accounting, video, graphics, marketing and web packages.
“We’re just really thankful for Community Futures for this amazing experience. Because it was so aligned with our store opening, we were really able to hone our business idea and what we could really do to serve the Armstrong community,” Hannah said. “We’re working with local artisans and we can just feel that there’s a lot of room for growth.”
Fieldnotes was one of seven finalists and 28 participants in the challenge.
PV BLVD Coffee — Armstrong’s newest coffee shop that blends the comfort of a local hangout with weekly arts and yoga classes — claimed second place. Chef Lauren Vincent, a Red Seal chef creating custom meal prep for her clients, scored third.
The public voted PV BLVD Coffee as this year’s People’s Choice Award winner.