Tyson Still said the Small Business B.C. Awards gala was a night he and Winecrush president Bill Broddy will never forget.
The Penticton startup took the Best Concept category at the annual awards, held at the Pan Pacific Hotel in Vancouver on Feb. 23.
“The whole ceremony was just amazing. It was such a good atmosphere, lots of business people talking,” said Still, vice-president of Winecrush.
“To get this recognition for all of B.C., after being in business for just over a year, we couldn’t ask for more.”
The province-wide award is a prestigious victory for a company that just got started last year.
Still said Broddy saw the call for small business awards nominations last year, and sent him a note saying they should work on getting into the 2018 awards.
“A matter of a week later, someone nominated us for this award,” said Still. “Here we are today with the award we thought we should try for next year.”
It’s been a busy year filled with development and ideas for Winecrush, which uses pomace, the pulpy residue of the crushed grapes, to make a range of unique edibles.
“Every time we turn around we are figuring out new products we can infuse our wine crush powder into,” said Still. “We started off making sourdough bread and a year later we have three different sausages, four different cheeses, there’s four different mustards and all kinds of stuff.”
Still said attending the awards gala was a nice breather after a very hardworking year. The benefits of winning go beyond just the very important recognition.
“Along with the award, we got a $1,500 cheque and we got a business advisor for a whole year for free to teach us how to grow the business to the next level,” said Still. “There is so much more than just the award. We got classes from Small Business B.C. for a year and the free business advisor.
“It is a very important thing when we are starting a new business.”
Winecrush products are available from their storefront location at 221 Main St. and the company plans to have picnic stations at 50 different wineries through the Okanagan Valley this summer, so people can try their products as they sample the valley’s wines.
The Small Business B.C. Awards recognize the outstanding achievements of the province’s entrepreneurs and their contributions to their local communities.
This year, 699 nominations were received from 72 communities across the province. Besides Winecrush, Penticton’s Henna Hut also made it into the top five finalists in their category, and had to face a final panel of judges to make it through as winners.