*Cover photo courtesy of tourismkelowna.com
Central Okanagan embarks on 6th Annual Small Business Walk
On the morning of Wednesday, October 6th elected
officials, municipal staff and volunteers from business support organizations
will take to the streets to connect with local businesses in the Central
Okanagan. The walk takes place from 9am to noon in Lake Country, Kelowna, Westbank First Nation, West Kelowna and Peachland.
“With 94% of British Columbian workers employed by small and medium sized businesses, these businesses are truly the backbone of our economy and drivers of economic growth, yet many report feeling loosely connected to government. The Business Walks program is one way the COEDC captures the pulse of the small business community.”
Corie Griffiths, Director of Economic Development
Regional District of Central Okanagan
The COEDC introduced the program to Canada in 2012. Since that time, dozens of communities across Canada have implemented Business Walks of their own and the program is recognized as an economic development best practice by the BC government.
Over 2000 businesses have participated in Business Walks since 2012. Their responses to short, conversational surveys are fed back to municipal staff and policymakers, resulting in continuous improvements to the business friendly environment that saw the Central Okanagan named the #1 Most Entrepreneurial Region in Canada by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business in 2016.
“Lake Country’s staff and Council use Business Walks to build stronger relationships within the business community, while also making positive changes to make it easier to be a businessperson here. This COEDC program is respected across the Province, and was one of the factors that led to Lake Country being recognized as an “Open for Business” community in 2016 by BC’s Small Business Roundtable.”
Jamie McEwan, Community Development Manager
District of Lake Country
In addition to directly influencing the region’s business friendly environment, small businesses receive follow up expertise and access to resources as required. Business Walks is one way that the COEDC and its partners identifies businesses with growth potential or in need of additional support and matches them with the appropriate specialists and support programs.
“The Uptown Rutland Business Improvement Area (URBA) is an active participant in Business Walks. URBA staff and board members enjoy getting out in the community to listen to business owners and strengthen the diverse and vibrant small business community in Rutland.”
Laurel D’Andrea, Executive Director
Uptown Rutland Business Association
The COEDC encourages business owners and managers to be in their businesses on the morning of October 4th. Business Walks is one of many ways the COEDC supports businesses in the region. If you are a business owner in the Central Okanagan, contact us to find out how we can help you.