Talent shortages, rising interest rates, and growing inflation; the mounting weight of decisions and challenges on business owners is heavy.
The pressure to adapt and make the right moves in a rapidly changing economic climate is top of mind for all leaders right now. What’s coming next? How can we better prepare for the future? And what changes do I need to make in my business? These are common questions we are hearing.
Heading into our new fiscal year and coming out of pandemic restrictions, our team was eager to assess and ensure that our programs, events, and member services were adapting alongside the needs of the businesses we support. Providing entrepreneurs who are growing businesses in the Okanagan with the resources they need requires a lot of listening, shifting to meet them where they are, and addressing their challenges in real time, as they arise. Our Scale Up initiatives are working with executives and senior leadership teams to address and remove barriers to growth, and our Venture Acceleration Program is helping startups find their product/market fit.
Over the past two years, Accelerate Okanagan has also had the privilege of helping more than 470 small and mainstreet businesses enter into the digital economy and increase their online presence. This work has been done through collaborative support initiatives like Advisor Access and Level Up Local. We also increased services for entrepreneurs seeking to access capital. Since inception in 2018, our OKGN Angel Summit has trained over 80 angel investors and engaged 168 companies resulting in $580K of direct invest and over $22M in indirect investment.
Looking ahead at the changing needs of our community, we’re prioritizing the most critical challenges. We’re ready to elevate entrepreneurs, address the talent challenges companies are facing, and spark meaningful connections in our community. We’ve built this work into our annual priorities to increase visibility, improve our likelihood of success, and hold ourselves accountable.
At Accelerate Okanagan, we use a combination of Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) and the NoW OS framework as a way to set, track, and execute our annual goals. With offices in Kelowna and Vernon and team members located throughout the Okanagan Valley, these two systems are key to making things happen. The combination allows our team to understand and prioritize the most important work that moves Accelerate Okanagan forward while creating community impact. It also helps us stay clear and connected in a hybrid work environment.
Here is a look at our areas of focus and OKRs for the next year »
Drive our community to address critical talent challenges collaboratively.
Access to talent is unquestionably one of the most critical challenges facing businesses today. From the Great Resignation to rising inflation, leaders are concerned about their teams and looking for actionable solutions. If we are going to sustainably grow the Okanagan innovation and entrepreneur ecosystem, we must lean into the benefits of living in the Okanagan and focus our efforts on becoming a talent destination. This means connection and collaboration across industry, government, and academia.
- 3 talent initiatives piloted, resulting in a satisfaction rating of 80%
- 50 perspectives on talent needs collected
- $350,000 secured to fuel talent initiatives
- Publish a compensation report that represents data from 50 companies
Build multi-year sustainable programs that significantly elevate entrepreneurs.
Entrepreneurs are at the core of everything we do. The pressure of building a business in a rapidly changing economic landscape is hard, for even seasoned entrepreneurs. We’re committed to digging deeper into the biggest challenges that are getting in the way of their success. This means; questioning what we know, listening to what founders are saying, and designing for the future. Giving entrepreneurs the support infrastructure they need to succeed is a community effort.
- 40 referrals from entrepreneurs
- 90 out of 100 entrepreneurs endorse accelerator program stack
- $1.5M in multi-year funding secured
Unite the community by sparking meaningful connections.
Connections, collisions, and entrepreneurial density are critical to any strong startup ecosystem. After two years apart, creating opportunities for new and existing community members to come together is just what we all need. Let’s leverage our events, workspaces, and networks to re-establish in-person connections and collisions.
- 12 in-person innovation challenges hosted
- 50 community-led gatherings supported by AO in the Okanagan
- 500 validated connections made through in-person activities
- 64,000 people visit our innovation hubs
Lastly, I would like to give a special mention to our partners, patrons and core funders. These extraordinary organizations and the individuals behind them are investing their dollars and time into #OKGNtech. Achieving these goals would not be possible without their support.
If you’re looking for AO in the next year, we’ll be here, working on these lofty goals. If you growing a business and would like to find out more about support services available, give us a shout or stop by one of our offices. Also, if you have any questions, comments, or feedback about AO’s annual priorities, I would love to hear from you, connect with me anytime.