Third business walk planned for Central Okanagan

Business walks gather crucial information from local businesses.

The Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission is telling local business leaders to take a walk…again.

Hundreds of Central Okanagan businesses will be visited Oct. 1 in another Central  Okanagan Business walk event.

The walk, which sends out teams of volunteer business and municipal leaders, as well a provincial ministry officials to briefly talk to operators of local businesses and gauge how they are doing, what their concerns are and find out what they need from the local economic development commission, the municipality, the province and the federal government, will  help launch Small Business Month in Kelowna.

The award-winning program was launched by the Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission in 2012 and two walks have taken place so far, a general one in Oct. 2012 and one specifically aimed at manufacturing in the spring.

The upcoming event will include walks in Peachland, West Kelowna, on Westbank First Nation land, Kelowna and Lake Country.   More than 75 business leaders or “walkers” will call on hundreds of businesses to get a sense of the business climate in the region.

The program is a partnership between the EDC, area business improvement associations, the Westbank First Nation, and chambers of commerce throughout the region.

According to the EDC, business the walks have proven highly effective in gathering information that can be used to retain businesses in a community and creating an environment where they can grow.

The local program was named Community Project of the Year by the the Economic Development Association of B.C. in 2012.

“The Business Walk provides an opportunity for our partners and stakeholders to connect face-to-face with individuals in the business community – to ‘take the pulse’ of the economic climate as well as identify businesses that require one-on-one support or expertise from the Commission,” said Corie Griffiths, business development officer with the EDC.

To date, approximately 400 Central Okanagan businesses have participated in the local business walks, including the industry-specific walk to manufacturers in May.

As a result, one-on-one follow up assistance has been provided to approximately 100 businesses related to such topics as signage, zoning, parking, exporting and B2B connections.

In response to the information from the manufacturing walk earlier this year, the EDC  developed a half-day seminar, to be held on Sept. 25, to assist the region’s manufacturers in addressing employee recruitment and retention issues as well as the development of a Central Okanagan Manufacturers’ Resource Guide.


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