Budding entrepreneurs recently had the opportunity to pitch their business idea to a panel of judges for the chance to win a business package worth nearly $25,000.
Similar to CBC’s Dragons’ Den, Community Futures and VantageOne Credit Union introduced the Enterprize Challenge program in an effort to support and encourage entrepreneurship in the North Okanagan.
“The quality of the business ideas and presentations was impressive,” said Leigha Horsfield, with Community Futures.
“Entrepreneurs did a 10-minute pitch and out of 22 participants, five were selected as finalists. It was an incredibly difficult decision for the judges.”
The five Enterprize Challenge finalists include:
JuiceBox Tool Box – Nancy Wilde
The JuiceBox Tool Box is big, silent, portable power. The patent-pending JuiceBox Tool Box will run rugged equipment or sensitive electronics both on the construction site, at the campground or during the big day. With a simple push of a button, it allows users to run 110, 12-volt or USB power.
The huge battery supply is recharged in multiple ways, with all of this housed in a custom, aluminum tool box that still has plenty of room for tools.
No power? No problem. The JuiceBox Tool Box is the solution.
Hops to Brew Company – Marc Pilon
Hops to Brew Company is a start-up business of harvesting hops to supply regional microbreweries, brew pubs, and U-brews with locally grown hops. The farm will harvest fresh hops as well as produce pellet-sized hops.
Supplying these hops locally will make a positive contribution to our rural economy providing brewers with a local supply instead of importing hops into Canada.
Growing hops in the Okanagan will complement other agricultural crops such as apples, cherries and grapes.
Kemper and Sons Millworks –
Kemper and Sons is a local artisan millwork company that builds custom millwork and creates functional wooden art. Their one-of-a-kind pieces include stump tables, wine racks, hand-carved bowls, natural edge cutting boards, large and small sculptures, just to name a few.
They use reclaimed wood from the Okanagan, selecting pieces that reflect the beauty of nature, much of which is salvaged from the landfills.
Rollin’ Spring Rolls –
Bernie and Mayleen Ramis
Rollin’ Spring Rolls aims to bring flavour to your street-dining experience. Anchored on spring rolls presented in a variety of creative ways (e.g. have you seen a “Canadianized” spring roll? Have you had spring roll for dessert?), this food truck business allows foodies to enjoy high-quality, affordable fast food, sold without pretense.
Soon to hit the streets and events in the North Okanagan, Rollin’ Spring Rolls has the potential to change our dining culture.
Orchard Green Flowers –
Orchard Green Flowers is part of a co-operative model farm and is located next to Okanagan College’s Vernon campus. Specialty cut flowers are grown and harvested at their peak and, as a result, last longer in the vase. Orchard Green Flowers is part of the slow flower movement, meanin they only offer what is grown on the farm and seasonal to our region.
They are currently selling CSA memberships that include a designer arrangement once a week or once a month- these are perfect for in the home or at the office.
Final judging for the Enterprize Challenge takes place April 1 with a trade show displaying all participants’ businesses and products April 8 at the Vernon Recreation Complex from 2 to 4 p.m.
The Community Futures Enterprize Challenge 2015 is presented by VantageOne Credit Union. Other partners and sponsors for this initiative include KPMG, Nixon Wenger, Sproing Creative, Real Focus Consulting, the City of Vernon, Okanagan College, Futurpreneur Canada and Sun FM.