Kate Johnson (left) and Julia Allen of LOCALITY react to winning the Enterprize Challenge 2018. (Photo submitted)

Challenge open to North Okanagan entrepreneurs

Invaluable business bootcamp in store for all involved

For the finalists, it’s the chance to take home thousands of dollars in prizes to kickstart a business idea, and for all participants serious about their start-up, it’s an invaluable business boot camp.

The 2019 Enterprize Challenge, hosted by Community Futures North Okanagan, is now open for registration. Organizers say if last year’s entries are any sign of things to come, it will be yet another exciting competition.

“The people who participated in the Enterprize Challenge last year blew us away,” says Kazia Mullin, Business Services Coordinator, Community Futures North Okanagan. “There is so much creativity, passion and entrepreneurial spirit in the North Okanagan. That’s why we’re growing and expanding our event. We’re hoping to give Enterprize Challenge participants the opportunity to get the greater community excited and engaged in their new business, to get them started off on the right foot.”

See: Enterprize Challenge winners announced

This year, the entrepreneurship competition, designed to give new and start-up businesses the chance to pitch their business idea to a panel of judges, will hold its final presentations at the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre. There will also be a People’s Choice Award to the business earning the most votes from the audience.

First place winners will receive a prize package valued at $19, 389; second place receive a prize package valued at $9,139, and the value of the third place prize is $5,449.

Last year’s Enterprize grand prize winners, Kate Johnston and Julia Allen, have seen their business blossom and grow since the competition. The owners of Locality, which offers a quarterly subscription gift box filled with locally made artisan products, offer sage advice when it comes to entering and participating in the Enterprize Challenge.

“Get ready to work hard, because the results are worth it whether you win or not,” says Allen. “The Enterprize Challenge was such a great process to go through and helped us answer the tough questions and properly launch our business.”

“The experience and work that you go through sets you up for success. Be sure to attend workshops and make use of the services, mentorships and courses that are offered. Everything helps,” says Johnston.

See: Enterprize top-10 announced

Following orientation, eight weeks of business planning sessions and tasks, and working with a mentor, seven finalists are chosen to present and compete for the top three prizes. The first place prize package, worth more than $19,000, includes start-up capital, free business banking for a year and a range of legal, accounting, marketing and advertising services. All participants will be featured at the final showcase and awards ceremony.

The Community Futures Enterprize Challenge is presented by VantageOne Credit Union, along with BDO Canada and other corporate sponsors.

David Nardi, partner, BDO Canada LLP, says his organization appreciates the chance to lend participants their time and expertise as both judges and mentors.

“The Enterprize Challenge is a valuable partnership for BDO Canada because it allows us to work together with new business, helps to create a vibrant commercial environment for our community, and lights the flame in our local future entrepreneurs and CEOs. “

Registration is now open and closes at noon on Feb. 12. Participants can enter individually or as a team, and can register at enterprizechallenge.ca.


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Dan Proulx and his The Think Tank innovation finished in second place in the 2018 Enterprize Challenge. (Photo submitted)

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