South Okanagan business a finalist in provincial awards

What The Fungus is one of five finalists in the Best Company category.

A Summerland business has been named as a finalist in the 13th Annual Small Business B.C. Awards.

What The Fungus is one of five finalists in the Best Company category.

The others in this category are all from the Lower Mainland.

In October and November, British Columbians were encouraged to nominate and vote for their favourite small businesses.

This effort resulted in a total of 535 nominees from 71 communities.

The top 10 semifinalists in each category were announced in December and the top five finalists in each category were announced last week.There are a total of 10 categories.

“I think people can really relate to our business. Local food systems are coming back in a big way, especially in the Okanagan,” said Brian Callow of What The Fungus. “The public is demanding local, farm fresh produce that is sustainably grown.”

Callow started out in 2011 and for two years, he spent his time researching about mushrooms. He later attended workshops, arranged phone interviews and joined Facebook groups to connect with other mushroom growers.

In 2014, he took on Thor Clausen as a partner.

Today, What The Fungus operates on a 1.6-hectare property in Summerland.

“We’d like to congratulate the top five and wish them the best of luck as they pitch the judges,” said George Hunter, CEO at Small Business B.C. “The participation of greater numbers of nominees from even more communities across the province this year has made for an entertaining and very high-spirited competition.”

The winners will be announced at a ceremony in Vancouver on Feb. 25. More than 4,000 entrepreneurs have participated in the awards since their inception.