Blog October 2, 2018

Posted by Thuy Tran


The first ever OKGNtech LIVE event will be taking place October 4th and 5th at the Innovation Centre in Kelowna. The purpose of this event is to support and grow our entrepreneurial community and innovation ecosystem. Think of this event as your chance to connect with players from multiple sectors and learn more about our growing community of game changers.


The Accelerate Okanagan team first dreamed up this new flagship event in response to the OKGNtech Techstars Community Assessment that took place last fall. Chris Heivly and the Techstars team chose the Okanagan as one of only five pilot communities. Using a model developed by one of the world’s top accelerators, Techstars, Heivly assessed and scored the OKGNtech community, then highlighted a roadmap to support its success and enable the next set of leaders to thrive in the community that focused on two key priority areas: capital and talent. These key areas have been the foundation from which OKGNtech LIVE was been built.


Ten inspired speakers, one wine-fuelled intermission, and some real conversation around investing and raising capital. Emcees Krista Mallory and  Richard Takai from the Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission will kick things off at 6pm sharp but if you have time, join us for High Voltage Happy Hour from 5-6pm and mingle with some of the Okanagan’s finest.


We’ve got some exciting speakers ready to take the Money Talk stage. Here is a sneak peek at the big names you’ll be hearing from

1.pngJohn is focused on the Seattle Angel Conference and the Lean Startup Seattle Group, where he offers consulting around startups and building the startup ecosystems. As an entrepreneurial collaborator, he focuses on entrepreneurial and innovation efforts as a way to develop new projects and companies. John focuses on building the tools, skills and processes that enable people to make a positive impact on the world. 

2.pngJill Earthy is the Head of Growth at Female Funders & Founders, powered by Highline Beta. Jill is an entrepreneurially minded leader with an MBA, passionate about connecting entrepreneurs to the resources needed to grow a thriving business, including capital. She has successfully built two businesses, grown them nationally and then sold them. For the past 8 years, she has held leadership roles within non-profit organizations with a focus on supporting entrepreneurs. Earthy is passionate about identifying opportunities to help businesses start, grow and evolve. Jill also believes strongly in contributing to the community and serve on several boards as well as act as a mentor to many.

3.pngDavid Saltman is a successful executive, cleantech entrepreneur and leading advocate of environmental innovation and sustainable business development. Prior to moving to Canada he was CEO of Malama Composites and Open Energy Corporation, and the CMO of Flexform Technologies. David also served on the Presidential Task Force that developed green procurement guidelines for the US government.

4.pngLynda Brown-Ganzert is an entrepreneur, health innovator and digital media leader with a lifelong passion using technology to create connection. Through senior positions across almost every platform (TV, web, telecommunications, video games, mobile) she has pioneered over 100 products and projects that have uniquely used digital media for the purposes of improving health, education and business. Lynda is currently leading the talented team at Curatio — the world’s first social health prescription. The Curatio mobile platform uniquely combines social support with disease management delivering a solution that results in better outcomes, and patient empowerment.

5.pngPaul is an entrepreneur, speaker, investor, and Airstreamer. Previously, Paul was a Managing Director at 1776 and a General Partner in 1776’s Seed Fund. Prior to 1776, Paul was the founder of Disruption Corporation and general partner of Disruption’s post-seed venture capital arm, Crystal Tech Fund. Before that, Paul was a Partner at 500 Startups, an accelerator and venture firm headquartered in Silicon Valley that has invested in over 1,900 companies across 50+ countries.

6.pngKelly is the author of Build Your Dream Network: Forging Powerful Relationships In A Hyper-Connected World. Kelly has been lauded from Forbes (“1 of 5 Women Changing the World of VC/Entrepreneurship”) to Fast Company (“1 of the 25 Smartest Women On Twitter”) to Empowering A Billion Women By 2020 (“100 Most Influential Global Leaders Empowering Women Worldwide”) and Inc. (“1 of the 10 Most Well-Connected People in New York City’s Startup Scene”). She has appeared on CNBC’s Power Pitch, contributes to publications such as Forbes, GO Banking Rates, Fast Company and Inc., and works with inclusive companies including Capital One and Comcast.

7.pngCorey is the co-founder, and CEO of Bananatag, a SaaS product that helps communicators design and track emails sent within their company. Corey and his co-founders started the company in 2011 and now have over 60 employees. Even though they raised a small angel round, they focused on creating predictable, customer revenue and have effectively bootstrapped the company to $400,000 USD in monthly recurring revenue.

8.pngMark has been with BDC since 2004, and currently holds the position of Regional Director, BC and North Technology Group. He attended McGill University obtaining his Bachelors of Science majoring in Chemistry and then prior to joining BDC he completed his Management Diploma. Marc has extensive experience in small business and technology. He has been actively involved in BDC’s technology initiatives over the years. He received the BDC President’s award of excellence in 2014 for outstanding contributions to the Bank, Client and Employee Experience. 

9.pngTrent Kitsch has founded multiple companies including; Saxx Underwear, Kitsch Construction & Development Company, Kitsch Wines, and most recently, DOJA Cannabis Co. To say he is a serial entrepreneur would be an understatement. The Kitsch family’s Okanagan roots stretch back to 1910, when Kelowna was still a small, lakefront pioneer settlement. Four generations later, this entrepreneurial family takes great pride in helping to shape the past and the future of the Okanagan Valley.

Are you excited yet?! This action-packed event is all about exploring the wild and wonderful world of innovation brewing right here in the Okanagan. It really is all here now and we want to make sure our community can be a part of it. Haven’t got your ticket yet? You’re going to want to grab one before they’re gone!

For more information check out www.okgntech.com or connect with me. 

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