It’s a night two years in the making. After a cancelled challenge in 2020 and a virtual showcase in 2021, the next generation of North Okanagan entrepreneurs is ready to share their businesses with the community — live.
Community Futures North Okanagan’s (CFNO) seventh annual Enterprize Challenge is returning to the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre stage April 27.
“We’re thrilled to put on the finale in person at the Performing Arts Centre once again. It really adds a whole new level of energy and reinvigorates the whole team and participants. It brings energy back to the program,” said Kazia Mullin, CFNO business services manager.
“When we first met in February, one of the most commonly asked questions was if participants will be pitching in person. When we made that decision in March, you could feel the excitement among the participants. It elevated the whole Enterprize Challenge experience.”
Hosted by CFNO and presenting sponsor VantageOne Credit Union, the 2022 Enterprize Challenge connected 20 budding entrepreneurs with mentors from the local business community. Between the start of February and the final pitch on April 27, participants refined their pitch as they engaged in online workshops and one-on-one coaching.
The challenge culminates in a Dragons’ Den-style night of live pitches where a group of volunteer judges selects a winner to take home start-up capital plus thousands of dollars in business services prize packages. The event will also be livestreamed for online viewing.
This year’s diverse and nature-friendly finalists include:
Louis Saitowitz, Okanagan Foothills Poultry
A small poultry farm producer, raising up to 2,000 birds annually and offers poultry processing to local farmers. Under Saitowitz’s new leadership, Okanagan Foothills Poultry will expand to partner with local land owners, who have a minimum five-acre property, to raise poultry. As a result, the property owners attain farm status and the accompanying tax benefits while empowering Okanagan Foothills Poultry to raise more birds on their land. As the business continues to grow, Saitowitz envisions working with local grocers to sell the company’s fresh and sustainable poultry. In the future, Saitowitz looks to use his connections as a Red Seal chef to partner with local restaurants to promote Okanagan Foothills Poultry.
Olive Butler, Conspiracy Cosmetics
A makeup brand that sells natural, low waste, vegan cosmetics with minimal and compostable packaging. Conspiracy Cosmetics encourages its customers to live authentically as themselves through self-expression and their personal lifestyle choices. The brand operates an online store through its website, conspiracycosmetics.ca, so that customers can access its makeup products no matter where they live. Conspiracy Cosmetics also partners with local storefronts throughout the Okanagan that carry its products.
Sean Ling-Allen, Centred Pilates Studio
Situated on a private orchard in the BX, Centred Pilates Studio began as Ling-Allen’s private home studio. In November 2021, the studio expanded to offer group classes in a dedicated studio. With two instructors and plans to add a third instructor soon, the studio is dedicated to giving a high-quality pilates experience to small groups. Empowered by the City of Vernon’s slogan, Activate Life, Centred Pilates Studio dreams of becoming a household name in health and fitness that offers wellness retreats, pilates education, workshops and other health-focused modalities.
Tickets for the April 27 final pitch are free. Register online through Eventbrite to reserve a spot in the audience. Doors open at 3 p.m. Pitches start at 4 p.m. with the winners announced before the finale ends at 7 p.m.