Social enterprise profile
Purppl - Jan 15 - Columnists

The Clubhouse Child Care Centre

Image: Contributed

NAME OF COMPANY: The Clubhouse Child Care Centre

TYPE OF ORGANIZATION: Registered Charity




THE PROBLEM: Children often do not get enough outside time for play and that can affect their cognitive, social, emotional, and physical development at all ages. As we start to adapt programs for childrens’ modern needs and get outside more often, we find that there are not enough outdoor-oriented qualified educators to meet demand.

THE SOLUTION: We have been developing our outdoor play spaces and programs to increase childrens’ time outside and are beginning to see the benefits. We have to get our story out to let outdoor educators and community supporters know what we’re doing!

ACCOMPLISHMENTS: The Clubhouse Farm was started in 2012 and brings daycare, preschool and school age groups to get outside and see where food comes from. In this 12-acre nature play space, children can explore, get creative, garden, build, play or just relax under the trees. Through outdoor play, creativity and happiness bloom, stress and anxiety are reduced, and skills for better academic performance are enhanced!

WHAT WE NEED HELP WITH: Recruitment of qualified early childhood educators and people with nature play landscape design skills. As our agricultural social enterprise grows at the Clubhouse Farm we will be able to increase salaries to retain skilled staff.

Spotlight: Getintheloop
Accelerate Okanagan - Jan 12 - Columnists

Image: Accelerate Okanagan

GetintheLoop is a Kelowna-based startup with a mobile marketing platform designed to connect its members with local businesses. It partners with companies across Canada and the world, including many leading team sports franchises and media organizations.

Its mission, to create a win-win for consumers and businesses alike, is what gets people like founder and CEO, Matt Crowell, and marketing development manager, Tyson Armstrong, out of bed in the morning.

This group of hard-working local lovers credits their insatiable willingness to learn and collaborate for their continued success.

Armstrong’s latest blog explores the importance of interning, the power of pressure, and the success that comes from taking chances. Here are some of his thoughts:

On the Importance of Interning

Beginning an internship for a relatively young tech startup, I had zero expectations or ideas as to what I would be doing day-to-day. I wasn’t sure if I would be brewing pots of coffee or getting involved in sales meetings, all I knew was I needed to be part of it.

Thankfully, the role had nothing to do with making coffee runs, taking lunch orders, or shovelling the walkway during snowstorms. I was there to provide real value and soak up as much knowledge as possible.

I gained hands-on experience by writing blogs about businesses partnered with GetintheLoop, attending development meetings with the tech team, and chatting with the team about business and life over beers and foosball. I learned about all facets of a tech company through real-world experience, and received career and life advice at the same time. It was incredible.

On the Power of Pressure

Working in such a fast-paced environment will teach you many things, and quickly. As a relatively young employee in the startup community, you are constantly learning, whether it be through co-workers, other influencers in the community, or mistakes made along the way.

I have been with GetintheLoop for nearly three years and I can safely say I am still learning every single day. The pressure and demands put on the team to succeed every day are heavy, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

There is nothing cooler than being able to see the growth of a company and being able to reflect and look back and say, “I was a part of this.” The bonus–we all earn equity in the company. Everyone is in this together and driven to make GetintheLoop a success.

On Taking Chances

As Kemp from our office says, “an idea is only 1 per cent, execution is 99 per cent.” In other words, executing and taking chances is what it’s all about.

If you have an idea, go for it. Many ideas will fail, some will succeed, but if you learn from the failures, it’s a success.

A quote that always stuck with me is one my Dad has been telling me for as long as I can remember: “your attitude determines your altitude.” If you’re not asking questions, taking chances and learning, you’re not growing yourself.

Top 40: Ezra Cipes
Okanagan Edge Staff - Jan 12 - Columnists

Image: Contributed

This year, Okanagan Edge and the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce have partnered to showcase some of the Okanagan’s most exciting entrepreneurs, through the Top 40 Under 40 program.

Sponsored by BDO, the Top 40 Under 40 recognizes innovative young professionals in our community, and showcases their accomplishments.

Okanagan Edge will feature a new honouree each week, so check back often.

This week we recognize Ezra Cipes, of Summerhill Pyramid Winery.

Image: Contributed

Ezra Cipes is well-known as the CEO of Summerhill Pyramid Winery, but he’s also held several leadership roles in both the provincial and national wine industries.

Cipes was first elected to the British Columbia Wine Institute board of directors in 2014, and now sits as the vice-chair of the organization. He’s also been the director of the Canadian Vintner’s Association since 2012.

Through both organization Cipes challenged labelling issues, leading a conversation that resulted in industry-wide agreement to to change wine labelling in Canada, and put to rest one of the most divisive issues in the industry.

As the chair of the BC Wine Appellation Group, Cipes also helped author a set of recommendations that helped the industry “join the bigger wine world and put itself on the international map.”

Cipes’ accomplishments at Summerhill are well-known, and on top of them he sits on the board of the Kelowna Waldorf School, the Inner Fish Theatre Society, and the host committee of the 2018 Breakout West Festival.

Cipes also advocates with local, provincial, and federal government on behalf of the David Suzuki Foundation’s “Right to a Healthy Environment” Blue Dot Campaign.

The ‘bust’ isn’t coming
Bill Hubbard - Jan 11 - Columnists

Image: Contributed

As I predicted in the last quarter of 2016, we saw a slight softening of the market in 2017.

However, that softening had a very unusual twist: the market slowed slightly because the demand was too high.

This is an anomaly.

The demand from buyers from the coastal areas of B.C. and Alberta was so high that the number of homes on the market dropped so much people could not find a suitable house to buy.

We heard from sellers that did not want to sell because there was nothing to buy; we heard from realtors that there was nothing to show their buyers. When they did find something, there were multiple other buyers going after the same house.

Despite these problems, prices rose in all three zones in 2017: up 11 per cent in the Central Okanagan, 12 per cent in the North Okanagan, and 10 per cent in the Shuswap.

The Central Okanagan experienced a slight softening in its market, but realistically that is like saying a Ferrari slowed down from triple the speed limit to a just double of the speed limit.

The market was still very strong.

As I mentioned last month, 2018 will not make headlines. This year will see a slight softening through all zones, but prices will continue to rise—probably around 5 or 6 per cent.

We can jump up and down and scream from the rooftops about bursting bubbles and crashing markets, and it will get us a lot more press if we do.

However, the reality is there is nothing in the Okanagan Shuswap statistics that predicts it and it is just not true.

Bill Hubbard is a real estate broker and the owner and broker of a four-office real estate firm in the Okanagan-Shuswap. He has been in real estate for 28 years and has been an owner and broker in Vernon for 20 years. At almost 60 years old he is just as passionate about real estate as the day he started.

‘Impact ideas’
Andrew Greer - Jan 11 - Columnists

Giving back may not solve the problem

Image: Katie Huisman

I’ve been thinking a lot about giving back and community needs. I’d like to build solutions from the ground up rather than waiting until I’ve made it to give back.

The practice of ‘giving back’ has become expected. Many companies, events, and products contribute something back to those who are experiencing either temporary or permanent need.

Tips at your favourite lunch spot go to the food bank. Ten dollars from your oil change goes to the women’s shelter. A few thousand a year might go into a corporate foundation which employees can help decide where to spend the money in the community. One percent of your purchase might go to the planet. A company may take a day off per year to volunteer together. There are myriad ways to give back to serve diverse needs.

Giving back isn’t going away. It’s changing.

The next evolution of company or organization will build solutions from the ground up rather giving back. Staff, customers, communities, and investors are looking for organizations who live and breathe value and outcomes rather than profit and programs. It means addressing the root of the problem from the ground up.

This is starting to show up in different ways for different organizations.

  • Living wages are being paid rather than giving back to food banks to support employees who don’t have enough money to pay rent and buy food;
  • Hybrid organizations, like Community Contribution Companies (CCC) are incorporating as for-profit social enterprises but have 40% caps on profit to shareholders; the other 60% has to go into community investment;
  • Organizations are choosing diversity of sex, age, income, ability, race, and more in hiring practices, boards, senior leadership teams, partners, etc.;
  • Organizations are building products and services differently with suppliers who rebuild the community rather than destroy it;
  • Shared value models are developing which truly share strengths between companies and community organizations to provide benefits to both.

Taking from the community, the planet, and the people while giving a little bit back is outdated and insufficient.

Building organizations who replenish, rebalance, and build is the way forward.

Andrew Greer is a co-founder and community catalyst at Purppl (Purposeful People), a social enterprise accelerator in Kelowna, British Columbia. He is an experienced program manager, sales manager, and community builder. He also plays an active role in building acceleration programs for tech startups with Accelerate Okanagan.

The experience economy
James Grieve - Jan 08 - Columnists

Innovation doesn’t have to be complex

Image: Contributed

As we embark on a new year, many businesses aspire to build upon last year’s performance and implement innovative new ways to make 2018 their best year yet. Learning from past experiences, they endeavour to uncover new opportunities to generate great ideas to improve performance.

Some innovative companies will set realistic goals to become more customer-centric, make actionable plans, and have the discipline to execute effectively.

Unfortunately, many others will rely heavily on their products and services only, banter about buzzwords, and let their boardroom promises becomes a toxic substitute for strategy—a sure-fire recipe for disaster and unmet expectations.

Thankfully, for companies seeking to improve their customer experience to improve business performance, innovation doesn’t have to be a complex or complicated process.

By combining a deep understanding of customer needs, attitudes and behaviours with hard data on their market landscape, companies can gain valuable insights and solutions that will attract and retain more customers.

A simple, yet effective way to do this is to understand and apply the “Jobs to Be Done” approach to customer experience popularized by Harvard Business School Professor Clayton Christensen.

Christensen’s work focused on looking not at what products and services people are buying, but rather what the underlying jobs they are trying to get done by doing so.

Regardless of whether your company sells products or services, customer insights are the cornerstones of innovation. Understanding what jobs your customers are trying to get done, and removing the obstacles that they fact in doing them, will provide solutions that will generate competitive advantages and yield profitable results.

The key to success in employing the “Jobs to Be Done” method of customer innovation is to gather the right information from your customers and analyze it properly.

Instead of relying solely on what customers want, it’s important to understand the pains they want to alleviate, or gains they want to achieve.

Investing too heavily in customer surveys, and gathering opinions without understanding why customers are reacting the way they do, makes it difficult to figure out the right direction to take, and can leave you with mounds of data without a clear strategy to execute customer-centric and innovative solutions to relieve pains and provide gains that support your company’s value proposition.

As Henry Ford repeatedly said, “If I’d asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”

Comprehending what jobs your customers want done and how your products or services satisfy them makes good business sense. It enables companies to find high potential avenues for growth, generates fresh ideas, and provides a roadmap for execution.

It also signals early warning signs of roadblocks, develops the success criteria to determine if goals are being met, delivers and sustains value, aligns employees toward common customer-facing objectives, and sets your company apart from the competition.

Focusing on your customers’ “Jobs to be Done” doesn’t require flashes of creative genius. It simply requires a commitment to developing a fresh perspective on how you approach your business from the customers’ needs, rather than relying on the attributes of the products and services you offer.

Satisfied customers’ needs translates into satisfied customers, and this an important outcome that will make 2018 a very happy new year for your business.

James Grieve is a certified management consultant and partner in Nucleus Strategies, a Kelowna-based consulting firm that specializes in working with businesses in a variety of industries to design great service experiences that delight customers and improve business performance. He can be reached at 778.214.6010, or [email protected]

Top 40: Jennifer Thorne
Okanagan Edge Staff - Jan 05 - Columnists

Image: Contributed

This year, Okanagan Edge and the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce have partnered to showcase some of the Okanagan’s most exciting entrepreneurs, through the Top 40 Under 40 program.

Sponsored by BDO, the Top 40 Under 40 recognizes innovative young professionals in our community, and showcases their accomplishments.

Okanagan Edge will feature a new honouree each week, so check back often.

This week we recognize Jennifer Thorne, of Odlum Brown Limited.

Image: Contributed

Jennifer Thorne’s career has evolved over the years, but she says “the underlying theme has remained.”

“I act with competence, passion and integrity to champion my family, my clients and my community,” she says.

Thorne began her career as a litigation lawyer, where she says she “advocated fiercely for some of the most vulnerable members of society.”

From there she transitioned to a career as an investment professional, where she says she continued her work as a “champion” for her client’s interests.

“Making a major career transition was not easy: it was a humbling process that came with a steep learning curve. I love my role as an Investment Advisor, but the skills that I gained as a lawyer continue to serve me well every day,” she says.

Thorne also says she “genuinely” loves to support and promote her community.

“Through various projects, I have become a connector of awesome people, and a valuable resource in the business community. I have performed hours of pro-bono legal work, and served on several non-profit Boards over the years,” she says.

Among her current board positions, she is the director of Elevation Outdoors, a local organization that teaches vulnerable youth important life skills through outdoor pursuits. She’s also serves on the board of directors for Aberdeen Hall Preparatory School Society.

“Kelowna is my home, and I love this city,” she says.

Thorne attributes most of her professional success to her “entrepreneurial spirit.” She says she’s “constantly driven” to plan, create and achieve, and is determined to expect at everything she does.

She says her investment advisory clients represent the “future of the Okanagan.” She works with entrepreneurs and established business owners, professionals, and high potential up-and-comers.

“Working with these people to build a prosperous and vibrant future gives me tremendous satisfaction,” she says.

Options amid new mortgage rules
Bill Hubbard - Jan 04 - Columnists

Image: Contributed

It’s 2018 and the federal government’s new mortgage rules are now in force.

Right now, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions regulates national lending Institutions like the chartered banks.

The office’s tightened mortgage regulations force more borrowers—even those putting up down payments of 20 per cent or more—to prove they could handle the bigger payments that come with higher interest rates.

It is called the “stress test,” and I think they call it that because of the stress it causes people.

The bank of Canada has estimated that as many as 10 per cent of Canadians approved for an uninsured mortgage in 2016 and 2017 wouldn’t have qualified under the stricter rules. But the new regulations will also mean it’s going to be difficult to borrow based on the equity you might have in other properties.

In other words, if you are an investor buying property, it is going to be more difficult to borrow money.

However, buyers are discovering that there are other options.

In British Columbia, home buyers are discovering that the lending Institutions regulated by the province do not have to follow these new rules.

While chartered banks are governed by OSFI, provincial credit unions are governed under the Financial Institutions Commission in BC, which is just a provincial organization.

All the big mortgage changes that have been in the news are coming from OSFI, and therefore don’t affect the lending requirements of local credit unions.

Real estate firms like ours are now building relationships with mortgage lenders in the credit unions to be able to advise clients who have been turned down because of the new rules to get a second opinion.

There are some different considerations when dealing with credit unions over banks, but they can offer some people an alternative to borrowing through a chartered bank.

Be sure to consult the appropriate experts for suggestions and solutions.

Bill Hubbard is a real estate broker and the owner and broker of a four-office real estate firm in the Okanagan-Shuswap. He has been in real estate for 28 years and has been an owner and broker in Vernon for 20 years. At almost 60 years old he is just as passionate about real estate as the day he started.

Top 40: Myles Mattila
Okanagan Edge Staff - Dec 29 - Columnists

Image: Contributed

This year, Okanagan Edge and the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce have partnered to showcase some of the Okanagan’s most exciting entrepreneurs, through the Top 40 Under 40 program.

Sponsored by BDO, the Top 40 Under 40 recognizes innovative young professionals in our community, and showcases their accomplishments.

Okanagan Edge will feature a new honouree each week, so check back often.

This week we recognize Kelowna Chiefs’ winger and social entrepreneur Myles Mattila.

Image: Contributed

At a young age, Myles Mattila discovered entrepreneurialism and quickly began to embody the key attributes and characteristics, by taking initiative, risks and generating hope.

In his youth, Mattila worked excessively with mental health advocacy, founding in Prince George and spearheading a mental health summit. The self-developed wellness program aims to educate individuals about their mental health and the health of others, through resources and connections to community services.

Despite facing rejection, Mattila adapts to the rugged terrain he faces in this field of community work and continually pursues reduced stigma associated with mental illness.

Mattila is also involved with and Foundry BC/Foundry Kelowna, which both work to transform the way mental health is perceived and to integrate youth into these efforts.

Beyond these primary focus projects, Mattila has also continually participated in fundraising efforts and campaigns associated with mental health advocacy and programs.

These projects and achievements have not only developed Mattila’s community, but have set a standard for growth of awareness and reduced stigma at a national level.

Mattila was even recognized by PrimeMinister Justin Trudeau for his efforts in mental health advocacy, become a finalist for

the Young Male Volunteer of the Year Award in Kelowna, earned the 2017 Chair of the Board Award for being humanitarian of the year from BC Hockey

After graduating from Prince George Secondary School with Honours, Mattila began a Business degree at Okanagan College, which he plan to complete in Europe. Following the completion of his business degree, he intends on continuing his education at UBC to become a lawyer.

Today, Myles continues to retain the entrepreneurial spirit by embracing educational initiatives, supporting mental health advocacy, engaging in non-profit and business ventures and through his role as a player in junior hockey.

Top 40: Christopher Martin
Contributed - Dec 22 - Columnists

Image: Contributed

This year, Okanagan Edge and the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce have partnered to showcase some of the Okanagan’s most exciting entrepreneurs, through the Top 40 Under 40 program.

Sponsored by BDO, the Top 40 Under 40 recognizes innovative young professionals in our community, and showcases their accomplishments.

Okanagan Edge will feature a new honouree each week, so check back often.

This week, we feature UBCO research professor Christopher Martin.

Image: Contributed.

As a research professor at UBCO, Christopher Martin tackles problems relating to how educational institutions can address social issues such as inequality, as well as how education can develop skills people need to flourish in their communities.

His work on student debt and fair access to higher education has received local and international media attention.

“It is impossible to succeed as a researcher without being entrepreneurial,” he says. “One has to innovate and take risks in the pursuit of knowledge and new ideas. In my research, I address enduring education issues in creative and unconventional ways.”

He has also been invited to speak about his work at universities in Canada, the U.S. and the United Kingdom.

Martin’s work on democracy and educational policy has also been recognized in numerous academic publications, including three books.

When not at UBCO, Martin enjoys long-distance running and long-distance swimming.

He has placed in competitions such as the Rattlesnake Island Swim and the Peak to Beak road race.

Martin said he considers his leadership role to focus on community engagement between UBCO and the broader community.

“For example, I have co-organized a campus speaker series that is open to the public and focused on public policy issues relevant to the Okanagan, including the future of the salmon fishery and youth civic engagement,” Martin says. “As an educator, I have played a lead role in developing innovative educational programming aimed at supporting the local community.”

He co-led the redevelopment of the Faculty of Education’s teacher education program. The new program is designed to meet the demands of the new B.C. curriculum.

“I am also a member of a campus leadership team creating a new UBCO program (called “Interprise”) aimed at developing student’s entrepreneurial skills by working with local industry.”

Martin’s educational accomplishments include a bachelor of science degree, bachelor of education and master’s of philosophy degrees.

He has a doctorate in philosophy and education from the Institute of Education, the University of London, UK. Martin completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Memorial University in Newfoundland.

He’s volunteered with Project Literacy in Kelowna since 2015 and is a Scout Leader with the Glenvalley Beavers Colony.

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