True Leaf founder and CEO Darcy Bomford, gives a brief speech before the official ground-breaking at the True Leaf cannabis production facility in Lumby earlier this year. Image: Vernon Morning Star Staff

Cannabis and cyber security top of mind for Vernon’s Small Business Week

Business owners set to learn about opportunities and challenges in Vernon and beyond.

With October just around the corner, the Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce is getting ready to kick off Small Business Week.

According to the chamber, Small Business Week is kind of like Pro-D day for business owners, except it only happens once a year, it spans a week, and it promises to cover both timely and timeless topics ranging from cannabis entrepreneurship and cyber security to succession planning and selling product beyond BC.

“We have a real diverse line-up this year, and we’ve tried to focus on some of the common pain points or areas where people have asked for more information,” says Kazia Mullin, business services coordinator, Community Futures North Okanagan, which partners with Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce and VantageOne Credit Union to host the four days of workshops and panels during Small Business Week, which kicks off Oct. 15.

Perhaps one of the most talked about topics in the local business community in 2018 has been the cannabis business sector, and so the week begins with a highly anticipated panel.

The New Shade of Green: The Changing Face of Cannabis Entrepreneurship.

Panel members include representatives from True Leaf, Nixon Wenger, Okanagan College, Flower of Life Integrative Health and MNP.

Day two, Oct. 16, begins with the workshop Social Enterprise Fundamentals, facilitated by the social enterprise accelerator, Purpll.

“There has been tremendous growth in the Social Enterprise business model in the last few years. These are businesses that are growing and really on the forefront of innovation,” says Mullin. “There’s also an enormous amount of opportunity in the cannabis industry right now. It’s very diverse and entrepreneurs might be surprised at what’s possible for new and existing business in that marketplace.”

Mullin says other workshops touch on major knowledge gaps. Case in point: small business valuation, especially in a community with so many baby boomer business owners looking to sell their businesses in the near future; and how to meet privacy compliance and protect one’s own businesses from cyber threats. Other workshops include accessing government programs, working with youth and growing sales outside the province.

In addition to important learning, Small Business Week provides opportunities for networking at both workshops and the Oct. 16 Business After 5 at the Vernon Tourism Centre.

“These events offer a great way to meet other entrepreneurs in your area or who are facing similar challenges and opportunities,” says Dione Chambers, general manager, Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce. “It also helps people identify the business services and professionals available in the community to help them build bigger, better businesses.”

Related: Tempering the Okanagan cannabis legalization ‘gold rush’

Related: Edmonton cannabis company revenues more than triples to $19.1 million

Event list

Monday, Oct. 15

  • The New Shade of Green: Panel Discussion on the Changing Face of Cannabis Entrepreneurship, 9 am – 11,

Tuesday, Oct. 16

  • SoFun: Social Enterprise Fundamentals, 9 am–12:00 pm
  • Group Presentation: Connecting Business Owners to Government Programs, 1–4 pm
  • Business After 5, Vernon Tourism Centre

Wednesday, Oct. 17

  • How to Hire & Keep Them: Working with Youth, 9 am–12pm
  • Small Business Valuation: Getting Ready to Sell Your Business, 1–4 pm

Thursday, Oct. 18

  • Growing Your Sales Beyond BC, 9 am–12 pm
  • Cyber Security & Tech 101 for Small Business, 1-4 pm

All events are free and will be held in the third-floor boardroom at Community Futures, 3105 33 Street, Vernon, BC.

For more information, visit

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