Celebrating local business achievements

On Saturday, the 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 honor just to be nominated’ but it is especially true this year as the City has issued over 4000 business licenses (3258 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 Olympics where their products were key design elements of some very high profile public buildings which now include the new Lakeside Hotel 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.