Local businesses benefit from annual Business Walk

Central Okanagan Business Walk an important fact gathering exercise during Small Business Month.

The fourth annual Central Okanagan Business Walk on Thursday, Oct. 1, will help launch Small Business Month in the Central Okanagan with more than 70 volunteer “walkers” representing business stakeholder organizations throughout the region ready to hit the pavement and connect with up to 400 businesses.

Those business visits will take place from 9 a.m. to noon in Lake Country, Kelowna, West Kelowna and Peachland.

Since the Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission (COEDC) introduced the Business Walk to Canada in 2012, the program has become a model adopted by more than 15 communities across  B.C. and Alberta.

The COEDC Business Walk was awarded Community Project of the Year from the British Columbia Economic Development Association of BC (BCEDA) in 2012 and is recognized as an Economic Development Best Practice by the provincial government.

Through a brief conversational survey, the Business Walk gathers important information that identifies program and service opportunities aimed at helping Central Okanagan businesses grow.

This year’s walk will include questions about employee retention and recruitment challenges, an increasing area of need in many parts of Canada.

The COEDC conducted a human resources-focused Business Walk to 50 Central Okanagan manufacturers in April, and will conduct another HR-specific Walk to 50 tourism/hospitality businesses in November.

To date, more than 1,200 Central Okanagan businesses have participated in the Central Okanagan Business Walk program.

One-on-one follow-up has been provided to more than 160 businesses related to such topics as signs, zoning, parking, exporting and business connections.