As the second- and third-place winners of Enterprize Challenge 2018 were announced, Julia Allen and Kate Johnson admit their hopes began to fade.
“We let go of each other’s hands,” said Allen. “There were still so many other great participants left.”
But after VantageOne Credit Union CEO Glenn Benischek listed the prizes the top business would win, the pair were stunned when their names were announced as the winners.
After a quick embrace, their arms were linked all the way to the stage, where they posed for photos, smiling in the spotlight behind an enormous cheque for $3,000 – start-up capital and just one of dozens of prizes worth nearly $35,000 shared by the top three winners.
Allen and Johnson founded LOCALITY, which delivers quarterly subscription boxes of Okanagan goods.
The win was the culmination of six weeks of Dragon’s Den-style presentations.
The competition pushed them to create a solid business plan that will now see them sending subscribers boxes filled with Okanagan-made goods from wines and cider to jams and soaps.
Second place went to Think Tank, Dan Proulx and third was snatched up by Steakholder, Richard and Danielle Toperczer.
“To make it to the finals from 26 participants, and then to get second place, the whole process has been amazing,” says Proulx. “I really look forward to the next step, which is probably the hard and the fun part, but now I have this validation from the judges and the community, and that’s huge.”
Leigha Horsfield, general manager, Community Futures North Okanagan, says the chance to start a business with so much of the planning and networking underway gives all participants a leg up in their journey.
“This competition has shown, year after year, that if you have a good idea and you do the hard work to show your idea is viable, you can succeed in this competition, even if you’re not one of the top three winners.”
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