On Saturday, the Penticton & Wine Country Chamber of Commerce will be hosting the 30th Annual Business Excellence Awards.
There are over 100 nominees in 17 categories recognizing area businesses that are setting a new standard in their fields.
As a guest speaker at these awards, I always look forward to the opportunity to focus on the achievements within our community and in particular, our business sector. The nominees should feel a sense of fulfilment that the community recognized them for their achievements and that their work has made a difference.
We often joke that ‘it’s an honour just to be nominated,’ but it is especially true this year as the City of Penticton has issued over 4,000 business licenses (3,258 if you remove non-profit licenses) and there are 424 more regular licenses this year compared to last year. That’s exciting and worth celebrating on its own. It should also illustrate the distinction the nominees should feel amongst their peers.
It is very exciting to see that the success of our businesses extends beyond our city limits. At our last council meeting, staff gave an update on economic development spotlighting a few local businesses that are making a difference globally. They told the story of a local business doing projects in Turkey, China and Guatemala. They also spoke about another business that is creating the components to make the new Apple 2 headquarters earthquake proof – described as the ‘mothership,’ it’s a stunning circular building that provides workspace for 13,000 Apple employees. Structurlam is in this same category and attracted international attention during the Vancouver Olympics where their products were key design elements of some very high-profile public buildings which now include the new Lakeside Resort expansion. These examples add to the cool factor and uniqueness that our industrial district provides and showcases that we are more than just tourism.
While we are impressed with our national and international success and acclaim some of our local businesses have attained, we should also be supportive of the new companies and small start-ups who are building the foundation for their ideas and aspirations to grow.
It takes a bold leap of faith to venture into business on your own. And, some of our smaller industries are starting to take hold. Penticton is now being recognized for its craft beer industry as well as being one of the top wine regions of the world. We’ve been recognized as a very entrepreneurial city and as a collective we should feel a sense of pride for what we have in our community and what we are aspiring to achieve. I think the community can be just as proud of the entrepreneurial spirit and driven business community as we are of our beautiful landscape.
At the nominees reception I met a woman who used to visit the area in her youth and dreamed of one day moving here. When her kids finished school, she and her husband made the move and started a business. They have been here for about a year and have already been nominated for a Business Excellence Award. What impressed me most was her enthusiasm for the city, her business and living the dream.
More than being the engine of our economy our business owners are members of our community. Their families and staff fill our schools, our arenas, our shops and contribute to the lifestyle of our community.
I’m excited by the new faces, younger entrepreneurs and variety of businesses nominated and celebrating our business achievements. It is a validation that our business community is flourishing, growing, and is something worthy to be celebrated.