Startup Basics Route 97 | Behind the Scenes Kelowna

Blog January 24, 2019

Posted by Eryca

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Last November we launched the Route 97 Edition of Startup Basics. On November 5th our team hit the road and spent time in four different Okanagan cities over four days. The purpose of the Route 97 Edition of Startup Basics was to engage in a meaningful way with entrepreneurs and community organizations and to support the growing entrepreneurial ecosystem across the Okanagan.

In each of the four cities (Penticton, Kelowna, Vernon, and Salmon Arm), Accelerate Okanagan mentors presented two back-to-back workshop-style sessions, followed by a panel discussion featuring local entrepreneurs and innovators, and we ended each evening with a networking opportunity designed to build community and inspire connection. This was our teams first time taking Startup Basics on the road, and we were overwhelmed by the response from the valley.

Day two of Startup Basics took place here at Accelerate Okanagan with our Executive in Residence, Scott Macfarlane.

If you weren’t able to join us in Kelowna for Startup Basics Route 97 Edition, here is a behind the scenes look at what went down.  


Macfarlane spent the afternoon helping the entrepreneurs walk through customer discovery, and building their business model canvas with the two startup basics sessions; Business Building and Laws of Attraction.

“When starting a business it’s more important to listen and learn that it is to speak and sell,” said MacFarlane. “It can be difficult as an entrepreneur to step back because you are so passionate about your idea but you have to be open to advice from others.”


There was quite a range of entrepreneurs in the room for the afternoon’s sessions. We connected with entrepreneurs who had ideas but were looking for the building blocks to take the next steps and then we also met experienced entrepreneurs who were there to grow their network and refresh their business knowledge.

After the workshops, we gathered in the Accelerate Okanagan lounge for the panel portion of the evening. The Lessons Learned Panel was an opportunity for local entrepreneurs to share their journey, insights, challenges, and successes in order to inspire early stage entrepreneurs to take the leap.

The panelists in Kelowna were; Cooper Simpson Co-founder of Central City Solar, Rochelle Founder of Motherlove Ferments, and Samantha Smith Founder of Dwell In. The panel was moderated by Phil Ashman the Regional Dean of the Central Okanagan.

Cooper Simpson from Central City Solar had a lot of great advice for the entrepreneurs in the room. “If you have an idea tell people about it!” said Simpson.  “A lot of people keep their ideas close to their hearts so other people won’t steal them – but the reality is everyone is so busy that they probably don’t have time to take your idea! And the fact is that they probably have some good advice for you”. More evidence that the power of community and reaching out to those around you for help is so valuable for an entrepreneur. 

A big thanks to Valley First and MNP for teaming up with us and helping us bring Route 97 to life. This project allowed us to connect with so many entrepreneurs from across the entire Okanagan and we couldn’t have done it without your support.

Want more? Check out our coverage of Penticton, Vernon, and Salmon Arm

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