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7 North Okanagan businesses compete for top prize

Final pitch for Enterprize Challenge streams live tonight
Teresa Sanders presents her business FILL during the Enterprize Challenge Wednesday evening at the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre. (Kristin Froneman/Read Head Copywriting)

Drumroll, please.

The winner of the Enterprize Challenge is to be announced tonight (Wednesday, April 28).

Hosted by Community Futures North Okanagan, and presented by VantageOne Credit Union, seven local unique businesses compete in a Dragon’s Den-style competition with more than $40,000 in prizes at stake.

“This year’s Enterprize Challenge highlights the innovation and ingenuity of North Okanagan entrepreneurs during these difficult times,” CFNO business services manager Kazia Mullin said.

“The challenges demonstrate the need to adapt traditional business ideas to meet a new marketplace,” she said. “Our judges now face the difficult decision of selecting a winner from seven incredible finalists.”

The finalists this year include:

Bluegrass Farm Events (Troy and Thea Sievert): From its roots as an Airbnb on 13 acres overlooking the Spallumcheen valley and Otter Lake to its new venture as a wedding venue, Bluegrass Farms looks to be at the centre of the regional agritourism movement.

DOUBL (Jessica Bosman and Bryn Davis): A good bra should inspire confidence and with the help of 3D imaging technology, this company makes perfect, custom-fitting bras that provide comfort.

“We are looking forward to bringing the bra into the 21st Century,” Bosman and Davis said.

Food Waste Challenge (Jay Aarsen): “Food waste is one of the leading contributions to greenhouse gases,” Aarsen said. Food Waste Challenge turns leftovers into viable bio-pulp that helps enhance soil and aid plant growth.

Gambit (Paul Cousins): This is an all-ages custom board game created on home turf in the North Okanagan. Gambit has already made its way into many homes through Vernon stores, Creative Chaos and an interactive afternoon with École Beairsto students.

“Our ultimate dream scenario is to create a workshop to produce classic versions of the game while licensing out the concept to a major game manufacturer for worldwide distribution at the same tier as chess, backgammon or crokinole,” Cousins said.

Oasis Gardens Consulting (Keli Westgate): This company inspires, consults and educates about zero-waste edible and medicinal foodscapes that foster land and community connections.

“I am feeling the love from the community and the interest in edible landscapes is growing daily,” she said.

OTA Gear Rental (Tiffany and Olivier Asselin): This is a one-stop-shop for quality and affordable outdoor gear for every situation while exploring the beautiful Okanagan wilderness.

Shambhala Clothing (Amanda Homeniuk): This thoughtfully curated lifestyle shop is located in downtown Vernon and specializes in Boho, eclectic, fair-trade and handmade clothing, jewelry and gifts from eco-friendly brands.

“In all respects, we have started anew,” Homeniuk said of her 2020 takeover. “Based on feedback from our customers, we are looking already to expand our selection to include men’s clothing — first online and then in the future.”

The seven finalists will present their final pitch and showcase in a live-streamed event starting at 4:30 p.m. today.

Tickets are available online at

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