Penticton is being praised for its successful economic development community and readiness for investment.
A letter addressed to economic development officer David Arsenault from Dale Wheeldon, chief executive officer of Economic Development Association of B.C., gave praise for Arsenault’s work increasing the profile of Penticton in a positive manner.
“Your positive and energetic presence at events has been noticed by your colleagues,” said Wheeldon. “The role you are playing will not only help Penticton, but also economic development in general as we reach out to let people know about the work that EDOs are doing around B.C.”
Arsenault has taken on a number of initiatives to spur economic development, including provide information to established business on expansion and retention efforts.
“Our companies that are out there representing our community and selling their product are our best ambassadors,” said Arsenault, passing the praise on to local businesses. “The association recognized that some of the work we are doing here is leading edge. It’s nice to get the recognition from them and they are going to use some of our information at the ministry and use us as a best practice around the province. Our marketing material is fresh, different.”
Wheeldon pointed to Penticton’s positive participation with the EDABC subsidiary organization LinxBC and its B.C. Business Counts program. Penticton is ranked third for the number of interviews completed and data entered for this business retention and expansion program. The top two communities hired consultants to do the interviews and data entry and had larger budgets to work with, said Wheeldon.
Last November, Arsenault attended the Investment Opportunities in British Columbia event held in Vancouver, where site selectors met with economic development officers regarding potential investment.
Wheeldon said Penticton was considered among the top communities prepared for investment according to the site selectors.
“There were 11 site selectors from the Unites States, so these are people and companies such as Walmart, Costco and Fortune 500 companies who are always looking for opportunities. They go out and spot diamonds in the rough, or communities that have potential. Our community was prepared for that event and we sat down one-on-one with these individuals and showcased what we had to offer, more than just lakes. You have to be more sophisticated in your marketing. We not only talked about beautiful lakes and quality of life, but about labour skills, talent, workforce, operating costs, taxes, tax incentives, real estate, transportation and business environment,” said Arsenault. “Our package was more comprehensive than other cities.”
Arsenault said there are companies in Penticton that are bucking the trend, from a national perspective, because they are growing. They are strategically thinking about finding new markets.
“That is where we come in sometimes and help them with export development and bringing trade representatives to Penticton to showcase the innovation that happens here. It’s exciting because we have some really bright minds here, that are really entrepreneurial and they are thinking way outside the box. We have products being shipped to Indonesia, China, Australia, U.K., United States and working on some local companies getting into the Brazil market,” said Arsenault.