Sep 23, 2015 | Posted by Corie Griffiths


The Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission (COEDC) is the proud recipient of two awards from the Economic Development Association of Canada (EDAC). The awards were presented at EDAC’s 47th National Economic Development Conference in Whitehorse on September 22, 2015.

  • 2015 EDAC / RBC Royal Bank Economic Development Achievement of the Year Award for the Okanagan Young Professionals (OYP) Collective program
  • Marketing Canada Award for Best Brand Identity/Application for the Make it Here Campaign


Established in February 2012, the OYP Collective, the first program of its kind facilitated by an Economic Development Organization in Canada, has become the collective umbrella that fosters and supports the existing community groups by opening the lines of communication, helping cross-pollinate memberships, as well as hosting its own outstanding events and activities, all with a focus and shared vision of creating a dynamic, vibrant and engaged culture that attracts and retains talented professionals in their 20’s and 30’s to the Okanagan Region.

The OYP has gained significant traction over the last three years:

  • To date the OYP has raised over $260,000 in funds and services for non-profits and charities.
  • Over 3000 volunteer hours of business service valued at $150,000 (accounting, web development, business planning, HR, etc.) have been provided to local not-for-profit agencies.
  • Social media reach has increased exponentially to 1019 followers on Twitter, 1162 likes on Facebook, 660 monthly website visitors, and 455 newsletter subscribers with a weekly reach of up to 1500.

The EDAC/RBC Economic Development Achievement of the Year Awards recognizes the evolving excellence in community driven economic development projects across Canada and it is only given to one community-driven economic development project every year. Projects are assessed on degree of originality, involvement of community partners, effectiveness of the delivery mechanism, and attainment of program goals and objectives.

Corie Griffiths, Manager for the COEDC, states “It is a great honour to have the COEDC’s Okanagan Young Professionals Collective program selected among the many exceptional economic development projects taking place across Canada. We are very thankful for the recognition and want to acknowledge the collaboration and continued support from many organizations and individuals in the community that contribute to the OYP’s continued success”.

To learn more about the OYP Collective visit


On its continued support for the local business community and efforts around attraction and retention of new and innovative companies and skilled talent, the COEDC led the creation of the Make it Here campaign kicked off by the campaign video released in May 2015. The Commission would like to thank those organizations within the local tech community that provided in-kind expertise and staff resources to develop the brand and video.

The COEDC acknowledges that individual recruitment efforts and one-off campaigns are both expensive and ineffective. Focusing on a culture of collaboration, the Make it Herecampaign was created to help promote the region around the globe with a consistent message that can be applied to any industry and business sector. In May 2015, an invitation was extended to business and stakeholder organizations in the Central Okanagan to use theMake it Here video for their promotion and recruitment efforts. To date, approximately 15 companies and multiple organizations, including the Okanagan Centre for Innovation, Accelerate Okanagan and Tourism Kelowna, have made use of the video.

Find the essence of why you do what you do, tell your story. Anyone can make “IT” happen in Kelowna and the Central Okanagan. What is your “IT”? Entertainment? Adventures? Games? Robots? Money? Love? Family? Dreams?

EDAC recognizes the marketing community as an integral part of the economic development profession and therefore provides the Marketing Canada Awards competition as an opportunity to exchange and review promotional and marketing material produced by municipalities across Canada. Projects within the Brand Identity/Application category are evaluated on the brand’s creativity, memorability and consistent identity, as well as its ability to inspire and influence the community.

To view the Make it Here Video click here . If you wish to learn more about the Make it Here Campaign or use the video for your promotion and recruitment efforts contact the COEDC or 250-469-6280.

The COEDC would like to recognize the team behind the Make it Here video, for their role in concept development and for contributing over 500 volunteer hours: Kelsey Helm, Nick Clements, Deanna Kent-McDonald, Neil Hooson, Joseph Pauls, Karen Mason and Nathan Karsgaard.