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Welcome to the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce

The Chamber works to ensure the Okanagan region will become the most economically prosperous region - and the most desirable place to live and work - in Canada. As the area's leading membership driven business organization, we are committed to providing value to our members.


Get involved & expand your reach with over 60 Chamber events each year! Connect with the Community calendar too!


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  • Kelowna Chamber Identifies Access to Technology & Innovation as Key Economic Issue ahead of the Federal Election
    May 26, 2015

    Today, the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce has added its voice to the Canadian Chamber of Commerce's, who released its electoral platform this morning in Ottawa. This document outlines a list of recommendations the Canadian business community has for the federal political parties as they prepare for the upcoming fall election.


    Amongst the four key areas outlined in the Canadian Chamber's platform is one that is especially important to the members of the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce: access to technology and innovation.


    "Access to new technology can be a real game-changer for many businesses. Innovative manufacturing and export methods can significantly reduce costs and help create new products," said Ken Carmichael, President of the Kelowna Chamber. 

    Specifically, we are requesting that the federal parties commit to the following:

    • Providing incentives to move ideas from mind to market, such as an "innovation box" regime in Canada that would see any sales/revenues earned on a patent or a new technology developed here in Canada taxed at a much lower rate
    • Investing in digital infrastructure (networks and switching required to handle the volumes of next generation data transfer) and rewarding private sector investment driven by profit motives
    • Providing incentives that encourage collaboration through technology clusters or centres of excellence

    Three other key areas that are critical to enabling Canadian businesses to compete and win in the global economy were identified by the Canadian Chamber in its platform today: access to a powerful workforce, access to capital and access to markets.


    "The challenge, today, is that we are racing against the greatest competitors in the world's toughest marathon-the global economy-and are losing ground to the front-runners. Only by putting in place the measures that we recommend in our platform can our next federal government turn this trend around and bring us back into the leaders' circle. We certainly hope the candidates are listening because local chambers are counting on them to contribute to the discussion and will be voting accordingly," said the Hon. Perrin Beatty, President and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. 


    "We look forward to hearing from both the national parties and their local candidates on how we can address the issue of access to capital and we are, of course, open to meeting with our local political representatives," said Carmichael.


    To download a copy of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce's electoral platform, please click here

  • New awards a reflection of #trending business models
    May 20, 2015

    Kelowna is home to world-renowned, nationally recognized, and otherwise excellent businesses. With each year that passes, more and more developers, entrepreneurs, corporations and the commerce-savvy are recognizing the economic viability and feasibility of Kelowna as a place for business.

    For the past 27 years, the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce has been celebrating business excellence during small business week (3rd week of October) and has handed out nearly 200 awards to well-deserving businesses at the Annual Business Excellence Awards Ceremony. With the ongoing support of key sponsors such as Farris and the Business Development Bank of Canada, we have been able to carry on this tradition and host this prestigious event. 

    This year's Business Excellence Awards have been enhanced with the addition of two new categories, refinement of others, and the introduction of the 1st Annual Nominee Reception & Judging Kick-Off Party!

    After a review of our annual awards process, categories and ceremony, the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce determined that this year's awards needed to develop in order to reflect the changing business environment in the Valley.  

    It is common knowledge that 95% of the Okanagan's businesses employ fewer than 20 employees. 85% of those businesses fit into our "Small Business of the Year" category (which was defined as employing 1-10 individuals). Upon further research, we realized that 73% of those businesses, actually employed 4 or less individuals!1 Thus the creation of the Micro- Business category. This new category is for businesses with 1-3 employees, and the Small Business category has been revised to recognize businesses employing 4-15 employees. 

    During our review we also recognized the need to include a trending business model which has had a major impact on BC over the past couple of years. Social Enterprises - organizations committed to a social mission that direct their revenue to drive social change - have   generated over $60 million in revenue and provided services to over 700,000 people.2 We agreed that this year's awards wouldn't be complete without a social enterprise aspect and as a result, the Social Entrepreneurship category was born. 

    These two new awards will round out the categories for a total of 12 awards. For more information on the awards, categories, criteria and ceremony please visit our website at kelownachamber.org/news-events/Business_Excellence_Awards.aspx


    The call for nominations is open until June 12th! 

    To nominate a business: http://bit.ly/1A795fy


    For further information contact:


    Dicky Dack

    Operations Manager

    Kelowna Chamber of Commerce


    Direct line 250 469-7355


    1Based on the 2015 Okanagan Valley Economic Profile 

    2Based on a 2012 Survey from the Canadian Social Enterprise Sector Survey Project

  • Back in Black: What's so great about a surplus anyway?
    May 13, 2015


    With the tabling of the federal budget, the curtain falls on the best spectacle we’ve seen for a while–the government’s fight to rescue its carefully orchestrated plan to balance the budget in time for the election. This pledge has been the long-standing centerpiece of the Conservative economic platform. Last year’s estimates even gave them a $1.9 billion in surplus to play with, even with huge promises on income splitting and family benefits.

    But, you know, stuff happens. Specifically, that lovely surplus disappeared as oil prices tumbled more than 50%. The first quarter of 2015 would be “atrocious” according to the Governor of the Bank of Canada. Suddenly, a party running on fiscal prudence might have to face the voters without a single balanced budget in its nine-year record.

    In the end, they pulled it off, of course. The budget was delayed, the government’s shares of GM stock were sold, the contingency reserve was emptied. The government will go into the election with its image of sound economics intact.

    The whole show raises the important question: “Do balanced budgets matter?” And if they do, is it always appropriate to cut your way to them?

    Spending cuts are painful, but the IMF showed that economic impacts are usually modest. A spending cut of 1% of GDP typically shrinks the economy (GDP) by about 0.5% within two years–short-term pain for long-term gain.

    But what if the economy is already in recession? This is very different because “automatic stabilizers” kick in. A recession causes tax collections to fall because business revenues plummet and people buy fewer things while government spending rises because more folks are dependent on employment insurance and social assistance programs. Deficits soar, and it becomes difficult to cut spending in the midst of a downturn. If government and the private sector are both in cut-back mode at the same time, then unemployment can soar in a manner that is terribly damaging.

    The two-year recession in Europe is the best example of self-defeating austerity. In a follow-up report, the IMF said that for economies in recession, the hit to GDP from spending cuts can be up to four times greater, resulting in a much more severe hit to the economy that actually increases debt levels. This means a tough recession can result in years of deficits no matter what the government does.

    And that’s why surpluses are important, so that governments have room to maneuver in a downturn and don’t have to layer public cuts on top of private sector cuts à la Greece and Spain, which are struggling with 25% unemployment.

    Canada’s debt levels are certainly manageable, and the provinces can borrow 10-year money at an interest cost of 2-2.5% per year–which is just above “zero-risk” U.S. treasuries, so clearly markets aren’t worried.

    Let’s remember that a $1.4 billion surplus on a $280 billion budget is 0.5%, barely a rounding error from a business perspective. More important is to have responsible spending and the type of investments in infrastructure and skills that will generate future prosperity. Surpluses make us much more comfortable so that we can cope with a storm, but let’s also build a speed boat so that we can race ahead.

    -Handrik Brakel, CCC 

  • Days of May
    May 07, 2015

    May is upon us- signifying flowers, a day for "mom" and the end of tax season (insert sigh of relief here).


    This month also holds meaning for some associations. All week, Mental Health awareness has been campaigned across the nation. A subject that used to be kept mum in the past is gaining a much needed voice. #GetLoud



    Additionally, in an effort to recognize the significant impact of a trending business model, the province proclaimed May 2015 asSocial Enterprise Month. Social Enterprises are organizations committed to a social mission that direct their revenue to drive social change. Based on a 2012 survey, B.C. social enterprises provided services to nearly 700,000 people and generated at least $60 million in revenues. #Impact4BC



    To do our part in recognizing these big-hearted businesses, we've added Social Entrepreneur of the Year to our Annual Business Excellence Awards. To nominate a social enterprise, click here.

    Finally, let's not forget one of the Okanagan's favourite things about May - great golf! If you haven't signed up for this year's tournament,act fast! We've got your Friday May 29th planned down to a "tee". Over $50,000 worth of prizes will be up for grabs. Have a prize to donate? Great! Please contact Sarah at 250.469.7350 or email.


    Want to sponsor a hole? We've got a few opportunities left. Call 250.469.7358 or email Caroline Miller. 

    -KCC Contributor