Photo courtesy: www.tourismkelowna.com Photographer Brian Sprout - Picture BC Photo courtesy: www.tourismkelowna.com Photographer Brian Sprout - Picture BC Photo courtesy: www.tourismkelowna.com Photographer Brian Sprout - Picture BC Photo courtesy: www.tourismkelowna.com Photographer Brian Sprout - Picture BC Photo courtesy: www.tourismkelowna.com Photographer Brian Sprout - Picture BC Photo courtesy: www.tourismkelowna.com Photographer Brian Sprout - Picture BC Photo courtesy: www.tourismkelowna.com Photographer Brian Sprout - Picture BC Photo courtesy: www.tourismkelowna.com Photographer Brian Sprout - Picture BC

New awards a reflection of #trending business models

by Admin 20. May 2015 07:34

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

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Back in Black: What's so great about a surplus anyway?

by Admin 13. May 2015 13:19

 

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 

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Days of May

by Admin 7. May 2015 13:57

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 

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Budget Analysis: Federal Budget 2015

by Admin 5. May 2015 09:59
This is an election year, and this is undoubtedly an election budget. There is a strong emphasis on tax cuts for the (hardworking) Canadian families that will receive the bulk of federal largesse this year. Just the income splitting and the expanded universal child care benefit will cost $7.8 billion in 2015 and $4.5 billion per year thereafter. From innovation to infrastructure to the environment, this budget has something for everyone.
In fact, we at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce were pleasantly surprised by a number of the business-friendly tax adjustments and spending commitments. Back in the summer of 2014, the government was forecasting a $1.9 billion surplus on top of a $3 billion contingency fund. Then oil prices collapsed from $100 to $45 by the beginning of January and the Parliamentary Budget Officer expected that the resulting $5.5 billion hit to the federal treasury would leave a deficit of $400 million. Minister Oliver delayed the budget by a couple of months citing “economic uncertainty.”
Since then oil prices have recovered slightly, to around $56 this morning, and we expect them to be back in the $65 by year-end. The government also enjoyed a $3.4 billion windfall from the sale of GM shares. As a result, there is room for some helpful measures to support Canadian business, a few things that will make life easier for business, a couple of gimmicks and a nice healthy surplus of $1.4 billion.
Infrastructure
• The Canadian Chamber was very pleased to see $5.8 billion in funds for new infrastructure, with the majority spent over the next three years, on top of the existing $5.3 billion per year from the Building Canada Plan. There is also money for a new public transit fund: $750 million over two years, starting in 2017-18 and $1 billion annually thereafter.
• The debt caps for the Northwest Territories and Nunavut will be raised to $1.3 billion and $650 million respectively (pending Governor-in-Council approval) increasing the amounts these territorial governments can borrow to invest in the infrastructure needed for private sector economic development.
Taxes
• The big highlight was that the small business tax rate will be reduced from 11% to 9% by 2019 (0.5% reduction each year starting Jan 1, 2016), resulting in $2.7 billion in tax savings through 2020.
• The government is also targeting manufacturers by extending the accelerated capital cost allowance to 2025. The same 50% rate will be applied using the declining balance method. Previously, the straight-line method was used so that the full depreciation was taken in two years.
o The ACCA for LNG facilities will rise to 30% from 8% for equipment and from 6% to 10% for buildings.
Federal Budget 2015 Analysis | The Canadian Chamber of Commerce 2
o The government also promised to eliminate all remaining tariffs on M&E, manufacturing inputs, so no tariffs at all for industrial manufacturers, as well as eliminating tariffs on certain imported ships and mobile offshore drilling units.
• On payroll taxes, the Canadian Chamber was pleased by the government reconfirming the EI premium rate freeze (currently $1.88 per $100 of earnings through 2016) and, more importantly, the reduction to the seven-year break even rate in 2017. The government estimates this is somewhere around $1.49, a reduction of 21%.
• An area of special delight for tax enthusiasts, the long-awaited fix to regulation 102 of the Income Tax Act, the withholding requirement for non-residents. Previously, employers had to withhold tax amounts for any employee working in Canada even for very short periods, and the employee would have to file to get a refund. Now CRA will grant waivers to employers so they don’t have to withhold tax on foreign employees who visit Canada.
• A 10-year tax incentive measure to write-off investment in tools and equipment will benefit the Canadian manufacturing sector.
Capital
• Access to capital is always a big priority for the Canadian Chamber. The government announced changes to the Canada Small Business Financing Program that will expand availability: the maximum loan amount will rise to $1M from $500K, and the small business criteria will qualify a company with $10M in revenues, up from $5M.
• $14 million to Futurpreneur to support young entrepreneurs with start-up capital, learning tools and mentorship.
Trade and International Affairs
• There was an impressive list of commitments to expand trade, with a number of big wins for business and for the Canadian Chamber’s report that recommended expanded trade promotion. In fact, the government promised $50 million over five years for the Export Market Development Program to help SMEs explore export opportunities - market research, attending trade shows, pilot projects for between 500 to 1,000 exporters per year. There was also $42 million over five years to expand the Trade Commissioner Service.
• In the most innovative policy of the budget, the government will be creating a Development Finance Initiative to provide financing in developing countries. This was a major ask of the Canadian Chamber because one of the best ways for business to get into tough emerging markets and build relationships is to participate in a development project. With a capital base of $300 million, the DFI will be housed with Export Development Canada.
• There was a significant increase in funding for agriculture exports, including $18 million to promote competitiveness and trade opportunities and $12 million to market Canadian food.
• The creation of an internal trade promotion office in Industry Canada to reduce barriers to internal trade and promote efforts to renew the agreement on internal trade.
Federal Budget 2015 Analysis | The Canadian Chamber of Commerce 3
• The Canadian Chamber was disappointed that it did not see concrete investment in tourism promotion. The budget is proposing “support” to the Canadian Tourism Commission for a new initiative to promote Canada in the U.S. No dollar amount was given but details are to be provided in the coming months after consultations with stakeholders. We will be monitoring this closely.
Technology and Innovation
• The government promised $1.3 billion over six years starting in 2017-2018 to the Canada Foundation for Innovation for advanced research infrastructure at universities and research hospitals.
• $105 million for CANARIE, Canada’s high-speed research and education network and $46M to the granting councils such as NSERC, CIHR.
• $1 billion over five years for technical demonstrations in the aerospace industry plus $30 million over four years for Canada’s satellite communications sector.
• $100 million over five years for the Automotive Supplier Innovation Program for funding for R&D in the auto sector.
• $86 million over two years for the Forestry Innovation Program and the Expanding Market Opportunities Program.
People and Skills
• Skills featured prominently in the budget and the Canadian Chamber was pleased to see a focus on aligning post-secondary curricula with employers’ needs. The Canadian Chamber applauds the government’s $65 million investment for business and industry trade associations to work with post-secondary institutions to align curricula with the needs of employers. For example, CME will work with Siemens Canada and several post-secondary institutions to develop a curriculum for an advanced manufacturing skills certification.
• The government also emphasized that it was negotiating with provinces on the $2 billion labour market development agreements to reorient training to labour market demand. The government will also support provinces to harmonize apprenticeship training and certification requirements in Red Seal Trades, along with $7 million for improved labour mobility, which is helpful.
• For years, the Canadian Chamber has been advocating improved labour market information, so it was pleased to see $4 million over two years to launch a new one-stop national labour market information portal. We welcome this as a first step toward more investments in actual surveys.
• $35 million to the Foreign Credential Recognition Loans Program, which pays for immigrants to take courses and tests to have foreign qualifications recognized in Canada.
• Improvements to the Canada Student Loans Program will expand access by reducing the parental contribution and excluding income earned while studying at a cost of $119 million and $116 million respectively.
• $248.5 million to support Aboriginal labour market programming - skills development and training.
• On Temporary Foreign Workers, the government offered no changes.
• A $200 million investment over five years in First Nations education through the Strong Schools, Successful Students Initiative for capacity building of school boards.
Federal Budget 2015 Analysis | The Canadian Chamber of Commerce 4
Natural Resources & Environment
• The budget included some previously announced programs to support Canada’s natural gas and mining sectors through tax breaks and the forest products sector through support for innovation. Many of the measures accounted have been on the Canadian Chamber’s agenda for a few years, representing a win for the resource community.
• No significant changes in direction for natural resource or environmental policy were revealed, with continued or incremental funding for community consultation through environmental assessments, environmental programs like the chemical management plan, and marine transport of oil.
• Perhaps most significant for the budget is what the budget did not mention. Despite the major upcoming climate negotiation at the UNFCCC in Paris this December, the budget made no mention of climate change.
Paperwork and Other
• New service standards and regulatory plans to reduce the paperwork burden on business. There will be quarterly remittance of employer taxes for very small employers. CRA agents will have a standard ID number, will partner with the CFIB and will be clearer in their communications.
• Should we look forward to a kinder, gentler CRA? Not if you’re one of Canada’s largest and most complex entities and you’re engaged in aggressive tax avoidance. The CRA will spend an additional $58 million over five years to go after these entities. Interestingly, the government estimates that it will collect an additional $191 million per year and is so sure about the amounts that it has included them as revenues in the budget.
 
-Hendrick Brakel, CCC 

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What to do about Income InEquality

by Admin 21. April 2015 12:36

Is it time to worry about the middle class and the rising gap between rich and poor? It’s not just academics anymore—even businesses like McKinsey and TD Bank are taking a hard look at income inequality and what it means for economic growth.

Firstly, it’s true that income inequality has been getting worse in most OECD countries. In Canada, the top 1% earns about 12% of all income, up from 8% in the early 1980s. In the U.S., the top 1% earns 23% of all income, up from 15% in the 1980s. What’s more troubling is that income growth for the average family has been fairly flat. After a decline in the 1990s, Canadian incomes have been rising but they’ve recovered to only just above the inflation-adjusted levels of 1988. In the U.S., they actually fell slightly. So why are wages flattening across the developed world?

The most important factor is technology. For centuries, civilization has been automating repetitive tasks—from the steam engine to robotic welders and computer software. But today, technology is accelerating and it’s pressuring the job market. A recent Oxford study estimates that 45% of jobs in the U.S. are at risk of being automated and taken over by computers by 2033.

Secondly, increased trade has massively grown the global availability of labour and capital. Thanks to falling trade barriers and advances in shipping, countries that were previously left out of global trade have seen exports and incomes flourish. The global poverty rate, which was over 25% in 2005, is falling by 1-2% every year, lifting around 70 million people annually out of destitution, mostly by bringing them into the global labour force.

Thirdly, the Internet is breaking down barriers and bringing the world to our doorstep. Retailers are competing every day with Amazon, Walmart and the best stores on earth. Manufacturers have to perform because they are up against the most innovative companies in the U.S., the least expensive products from China and new products from anywhere. There is no place to hide from global competition.

For Canada, this means that goods are better and cheaper, which raises our purchasing power—we all appreciate lower prices for clothes, food and TVs. The challenge is the adjustment required of Canadian industries. Thirty years ago, Canada’s textile industry employed tens of thousands of workers hunched over sewing machines. Today, our textile industry has become a smaller, leaner fashion industry, with highly skilled designers, highly automated factories and the bulk of the manual fabrication done in Asia. Business is far more efficient, but these trends are hard for large parts of the labour force.

Technology and trade are polarizing incomes, causing fierce competition for highly skilled knowledge workers while reducing demand for low-skilled jobs. What can we do? If we know employers will pay more for skills, then part of the response must be improved education and training. But we also have to invest more in R&D, in tax incentives and in venture capital for new innovative companies, so that the technologies to compete and win are located right here in Canada. The firms that succeed in the global economy will happily pay higher wages, hire more people and create prosperity for Canadians.

That’s why the Canadian Chamber of Commerce wants business competitiveness to be the #1 issue in the coming election. Because to create prosperity in today’s globalized economy, you have to win.

 

-Hendrik Brakel, CCC 

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6 Must Read Tips for Start-Up Businesses

by Admin 15. April 2015 11:03

Chambers are often asked for advice on how to start a business. Building your own business from the ground up is no easy task. There is no template or formula to creating a hugely successful business. There is just sheer hard work, determination and a will to succeed. Apple founder Steve Jobs once famously said “If you really look closely, most overnight successes took a long time.”

1.                Make Sure You Have Support

Starting up your own business is a difficult task and this can be made even more so if you feel that you are not being supported by the ones closest to you. How can you expect to succeed if you feel that those nearest and dearest to you do not believe in your abilities? If you’re married and/or have kids, you should also be asking your family how they feel about your working from home, as your decision will affect them both financially and psychologically. If the response is negative, spend time addressing any concerns. If you are unable to change their minds decide whether your goal is worth continuing against their wishes. This does not just end with family, asking close friends, colleagues or peers for their support can give you that added confidence.

2.              Research

In any start-up, you don’t know what you don’t know. This is especially true when you’re entering an unfamiliar industry.

Get started through research, studying the competition and talking to mentors. The first thing when thinking of establishing a new business is to take the time to do research on your market. This doesn’t have to involve substantial costs, you can find out key information by taking the time and undertaking it yourself. This will allow you to perform a SWOT analysis, assessing your competitor’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats within the marketplace. It will also give a clear picture without any further investment at this time as to the viability of your proposition.

3.              Business Plan

Numerous studies have shown that one of the major reasons new businesses fail is poor planning. If you are planning on starting up a business, you must have a business plan. This will serve as a road map to guide you, and communicate with your bank or investors what you’re doing and why they should invest in you.

It should include a mission statement, executive summary, product or service offerings, target market, marketing plan, industry and competitive analysis.

A detailed and comprehensive business plan should ideally be able to answer the following questions;

·         What primary product(s) or service(s) will you provide?

·         What will you charge for your products(s) or services(s)?

·         What does it cost you to deliver this product or service?

·         How many pieces must you sell or how many clients must you secure to generate the revenue you desire?

·         Who is the target market for your product(s) or service(s)?

·         Why will they buy from you?

·         How exactly will you reach your target market to sell to them?

·         How will you get going right now with your currently available resources? What do you absolutely need that you’ll need help with?

·         What could stand in your way of generating sales—and how will you overcome such obstacles?

·         What benchmarks must you reach to qualify your business as a success?

4.              Find the Right Funding

Potential sources of funding include a small-business loan from your local bank, tapping into your savings, money from other investments, borrowing from family/friends and, as a last resort, credit cards. Ideally, this investment will help you break even after a year, but keep in mind that even successful businesses can remain in debt for the first few years. The best way to start a business is to start out small and dip your toe in, so to speak. The advantages to testing your market will ensure you do not end up in a hole, with nothing to show. There are a lot of successful businesses, which have started out with a very minimal investment a great product and a great business strategy.

The amount of avenues in which you can obtain capital is large and research can help you uncover them.

5.              Learn Why Others Have Failed

People naturally want to emulate success by analyzing successful business models, but it’s more important to learn from companies that have failed. You can learn from success stories but that same is true of failures. Learning from others mistakes significantly decreases your chances of following the same path. Former US Secretary of State Colin Powell once said “There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.”

There can be thousands of factors that contribute to business success, but when a business fails, it’s often easy to pinpoint the reasons. You must avoid making these mistakes yourself.

6.              Getting Your Name Out There – Networking

There is usually a local or national trade show expo or conference in every industry, where the “who’s who” all gathers in one place. Your local chamber may even host a business expo. Attend these events. You’ll have the chance to learn the lay of the land, meet hundreds of people in person and learn about what’s new in your industry. It’s also a great place to form new partnerships. Bring lots of business cards!

The moment your business strategy has evolved, start attending networking events. Becoming a member of your local chamber will probably give you access to a whole host of networking events throughout the year. If not, reach out on social media for ways to grow your network.

 

Brian Cleary is the Chief Executive of Clonmel Chamber of Commerce, one of the largest business services organizations in Ireland. He’s also the past director of Chambers Ireland. He writes for a number of online publications and is a regular co-presenter of the 'Small Business Show' a syndicated radio program broadcast on a number of stations throughout Ireland and available as a podcast.

 

 

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Canada's Oil Sands: The Truth Unveiled

by Admin 10. April 2015 09:50

As a recognized business leader in Kelowna, I was invited to participate in a Canadian Chamber of Commerce Energy Tour that provided an in-depth opportunity to hear from a good cross section of energy companies and actually go on mine sites in Fort McMurray.

 

My perceptions on the opportunity, constraints and threats to this economic behemoth as it relates to our local community and to Canada are as follows;

 

I agree with the views of the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters Association. Rather than being seen as a negative force, the oil sands or other major natural resource developments (including mining, forestry and energy) Canadians must view these projects as generational opportunities for economic growth. We must leverage and harness their development to maximize economic opportunity today and for future generations.

 

The twelve companies I met on my trip had something in common beyond oil sands, the staff demonstrated pride in the work they do and are professionals in their field, most career oil production people. The commitment to working under the strictest federal government regulations and their passion for improving environmental conditions was evident and credible.


Between 1990 and 2012, GHG emissions associated with every barrel of oil sands crude produced were reduced by 28%. Today, Canada's oil sands only account for 0.13% of the entire world's GHG emissions.

 

I saw evidence of environmental collaboration, as oil sands companies have formed OSIA,Canada's Oil Sands Innovation Alliance. Through COSIA, participating companies capture, develop and share the most innovative approaches and best thinking to improve environmental performance in the oil sands, focusing on four Environmental Priority Areas (EPAs) - tailings, water, land and greenhouse gases. There is collaboration and transparent exchange that is reducing environmental impacts and costs of production. Both are positives to us as consumers.

 

Petroleum exporters are also making great strides in reducing their environmental footprint.

 

It was clear to me personally, that for transporting oil safely for long distances, pipelines are unmatched in their safety performances.  In fact I feel very strongly that Canada needs to export oil products to Asia markets. I would much rather have Canada extracting and shipping oil with our strict regulatory conditions than, Asia purchasing from countries with less than stellar safety records or government instability. We all use products derived from oil every day, from plastic cellular cases, to computers and tires for our bikes or shoes on our feet. Let's get real, the world needs oil to make products and move the products to stores and homes.

 

Apparently, Canada's role as a responsible innovator in commodity production is matched by the resources sector's ability to pay good wages. Mining, oil and gas extraction wages flow back to every province as do the workers that call B.C. home. Resource jobs produced up to 15 times more value for Canada's economy than the average job. Recent talk of raising minimum wages would be moot points if people searching for real raises identified fields that create the most value, and then search out the training needed.

 

Manufacturers play a critical role in this development. In 2010, B.C. manufacturers sold over $6 billion worth of high tech products and services into the development and operation of Alberta's oil sands. It is a large and growing portion of sales for many sectors and many companies - especially those manufacturing machinery and equipment, steel and steel products, and construction equipment. And these opportunities are being felt right across the country in every province and region including here in the Okanagan.

 

 

Canadian manufacturers can focus their attention on how can continue to grow their sales into the oil sands and capture more of these opportunities.

 

As a first step, Canada's manufacturers must understand the specific opportunities that oil sands development offers them. Second, governments, oil sands producers and manufacturers must work much more closely together to improve domestic supply chains and to make them more efficient.

 

Perhaps most importantly, we must all work together to ensure that Canadians fully understand and appreciate the economic importance of natural resource development, and specifically Alberta's oil sands, to ensure their development continues responsibility and is not unnecessary restricted.

Canada's forest product producers are also constantly adapting to service the world's marketplace.

As the Forest Products Association of Canada said recently, business as usual is no longer an option. The industry employs more than 235,000 Canadians and plans to renew its workforce by 2020. It's also one of Canada's most innovative and sustainable sectors. This sector too is demonstrating environmental responsibility. In fact, a recent report found Canada has only a .2% deforestation rate while also leading the world in forest product exports.

 

I urge you to consider this. Ensure that your opinions are based on today's facts. Today's oil sands do not resemble the first mining foray.Today's natural resource industries, are responsible, transparent, motivated to reduce emissions and lower environmental impacts. They are also critical to our economic future. I stand behind the technology and the knowledge that leads Canadian resource development.

 

-Caroline Grover, CEO, Kelowna Chamber of Commerce


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The secret to a successful AGM

by Admin 8. April 2015 15:07

Annual General Meeting. Just the sound of it can induce an unitentional mid-day nap. Yet, it is an imperitive event for most non-profit organizations. This is when the organization must present to its stakeholders and members the past year's audited financial statements, vote for any bylaw changes and zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. 

The main challenge with holding an AGM is that you have to actually have people attend. If quorum isn't achieved- AKA if a specific number of members don't show up, then it doesn't count... and you have to try again.

How could we be sure people were going to come? We needed to convince them...

This Year's AGM helod on April 8th, we had the best bait yet... we had W. Brett Wilson. The beloved, bearded business mogul who has stakes in Kelowna and was everyone's favourite Dragon's Den dealmaker agreed to speak to our members. With a resume like his, it's no wonder his fee alone is $25,000! Wait, back up... we paid what?!  Note:This year's financials to be presented at the 2016 AGM. Be in attendance to find out. Wink  

Our AGM really was more than financial statements.. it was an opportunity for the Outgoing President to highlight our accomplishments of the year, recognize our amazing volunteers & membership, and introduce the Incoming President & Board members. 

If you missed it, here is a recap: 

Awards:

Director of the Year: Gladys Fraser

Ambassador of the Year: Shawna McCrea

Volunteer of the Year: Patricia Livingstone

Outgoing Directors:

Peter Angle

Sherri Chapman

Outgoing President:

Curtis Darmohray 

Incoming President:

Ken Carmichael

Incoming Directors:

Una Gabie

Al Hildebrandt

Stuart Grant

Angela Nagy 

And of course a keynote by W. Brett Wilson that garnered a standing ovation. For pictures of the event visit our Facebook page or for more info on our Board of Directors, please visit our Board of Directors Webpage.

-KCC Contributor 

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#Winning in fight against invasive mussels

by Admin 31. March 2015 13:48

The Province is expanding its fight against invasive mussels with a $1.3-million boost toward early detection and rapid response. 

Although these invasive species have never been detected in British Columbia, this program expansion increases protection of B.C.'s lakes and rivers against the threat of quagga and zebra mussels.


The Kelowna Chamber of Commerce has been at the forefront at the federal and provincial level calling for this type of action to prevent an economic and ecological crisis of our lakes

 

"The Chamber supports the efforts of the Okanagan Water Basin Board in increasing public and governments awareness of the serious threat this has to BC and the Okanagan." States Ken Carmichael, President of the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce.

 

"This is another step in our government's ongoing efforts to prevent invasive mussels from becoming established in B.C.," says Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources and Kelowna-Mission MLA Steve Thomson. "I encourage all recreational boaters to familiarize themselves with the 'Clean, Drain, Dry' program so they can also do their part."

A shopping cart pulled from an infested lake

 

The strengthened invasive mussel defence program begins operations in April for the 2015 boating season and consists of:

  • Three mobile decontamination units.
  • Six trained auxiliary conservation officers.
  • Highway signage throughout the province.
  • Expanded monitoring for zebra and quagga mussels.
  • Report All Poachers or Polluters response line coverage.
  • Increasing "Clean, Drain, Dry" education and outreach activities.

Through this program, teams will inspect and, if necessary, decontaminate boats entering B.C. from Alberta. They also will respond to boats from the U.S. identified as a concern by the Canadian Border Services Agency, as well as U.S. partner agencies. Each crew will be equipped with mobile self-contained decontamination units.

The teams will consist of trained auxiliary conservation officers coming from university compliance training programs offered by Vancouver Island University, providing valuable experience for students and recent graduates.

Twenty-four new highway signs featuring the Clean, Drain, Dry program are also being installed at significant entry points into the province.

 

Aquatic invasive species, such as zebra and quagga mussels, pose a significant threat to B.C.'s and Canada's freshwater ecosystems. These mussels threaten native species and fisheries in lakes and rivers. They clog water intake pipes, leading to increased maintenance costs for hydroelectric, domestic water, industrial, agricultural and recreational facilities.


Provincial legislation already in place empowers the program expansion. The Report All Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) line is expanding to receive and co-ordinate reports of mussel threats or incidents. The Province continues to develop and implement a perimeter defence plan for zebra and quagga mussels with neighbouring jurisdictions, keeping Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, British Columba, Alberta and Saskatchewan free from these invasive species through a coordinated effort. 
 
-KCC Contributor 

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Is Canada Headed for Recession?

by Admin 24. March 2015 11:56

Since the Bank of Canada lowered interest rates as “insurance” against the risk of a sharper downturn, many have been asking: How long will it take for the fall in oil prices to impact the broader economy and how severe will the slowdown be? What will it mean for Canadian business?

Canada’s fourth-quarter GDP growth came in at a brisk 2.4%, which looks pretty good, but when we examine where the growth came from, there is cause for concern. Household consumption was OK, but exports and business investment both declined. Instead, you can see in the adjacent graph that the biggest contributor, accounting for three quarters of the rise in GDP is inventories.

A sharp rise in inventory can be caused by businesses stocking up in anticipation of stronger sales in the future or, alternatively, if a sharp deterioration in demand leaves unwanted stock. What’s the likelihood that business was stocking up in anticipation of a bonanza at the end of 2014? Not very good. Instead, we’ve heard anecdotally that companies in the oil patch were hit with a particularly sharp drop in sales, and the concerns are broad-based with the auto sector accounting for a big part of rising inventories.

There are three reasons we’re expecting a significant slowdown in Canada. Firstly, the big declines in capital expenditure have not yet been seen in the broader economy. Remember that oil prices remained above $75 until the middle of November and only fell into the $50 range in December. There were many announcements of cutbacks at the end of 2014 but these will not be seen in operations on the ground until the first half of 2015, a point confirmed by many service providers in the energy industry.

Secondly, consumption looks soft as retail sales fell by 1.7% in January, signs that consumers are staying home. Also, that big boost from inventories will reverse and become negative in the quarters ahead as the closures of Target, Mexx, Jacob and Sony subtract billions from the inventory tally this year.

Thirdly, it is true that many manufacturing industries are seeing a boost in sales from the weaker loonie and a stronger U.S. economy. Canada’s auto sector and aerospace industry exports have been particularly stellar. However, oil and gas accounts for 24% of Canadian exports, and those prices have fallen by half. It will take a long time before manufacturing can compensate for a 12% hit to Canadian exports.

Canada’s domestic economy has a hit a soft patch, so we should be braced for bad news in the first half of 2015. Overall GDP growth should come in around 1.8% this year, and Canadian businesses will have to focus more than ever on exports if they want to maintain the strong growth rates we’ve seen. In the meantime, it looks like we may need that insurance.

 
-Hendrik Brakel, Canadian Chamber of Commerce 

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