Vernon’s downtown Boho shop, Shambhala Clothing, was named the 2021 Enterprize Challenge winner and took home the first-place prize package valued at more than $20,000 April 28.
New owner, Amanda Homeniuk turned the keys on the shop’s new chapter in 2020 and soon, a new name will accompany it: KALECO.
“This has been such a great experience,” Homeniuk said after being announced the winner. “The community here is so great.”
Seven unique and local businesses went head-to-head in the Enterprize Challenge, a Dragon’s Den-style competition, which concluded Wednesday night in a live-streamed virtual event.
Hosted by Community Futures North Okanagan and presented by VantageOne Credit Union, Homeniuk took home top prize, the business services package, valued at more than $20,000. This prize includes business capital, banking, accounting service, marketing, legal services and more.
Although Shambhala has been in Vernon for some time now, its new ownership complete with a new business model qualified Homeniuk as a start-up in the program.
Surrounded by eco-friendly clothing and jewelry from socially conscious brands, Homeniuk espoused the environmental and social need for change that drives her sustainable clothing business, the announcement reads.
“A global pandemic has not kept this years’ participants down,” says Michelle Hill, chair of the CFNO board of directors. “While navigating social bubbles, shifting restrictions and digital platforms, our participants have really risen to this year’s challenge.”
Sustainability and eco-conservation were a common thread that connected many of this year’s seven finalists in the competition.
Tiffany and Olivier Asselin’s OTA Gear Rental took the second top spot claiming more than $10,000 in prizes. This adventurous duo was also dubbed People’s Choice earning an additional marketing prize valued at $750.
DOUBL, by Jessica Bosman and Bryn Davis, and their 3D-imaged, custom-fitting bras took third place with a prize package valued at more than $6,000.
All finalists, Bluegrass Farm Events (Troy and Thea Sievert), Food Waste Challenge (Jay Aarsen), Gambit (Paul Cousins) and Oasis Gardens Consulting (Keli Westgate), were assigned a mentor and spent 10 weeks preparing for the final expo on Wednedsay.
“The innovation we have seen this evening both at the Expo and in the final pitches is very impressive,” VantageOne Credit Union CEO Glenn Benischek said.
“The display of entrepreneurship shown during the Enterprize Challenge is to be commended, and we congratulate all of those that participated as well as all seven of our finalists.”
In total, this year’s first virtual contest saw 25 business join the challenge.