KELOWNA CMA (CENTRAL OKANAGAN), BC – For an area celebrated as a four-season playground, it’s electrifying to see how much entrepreneurial energy exists in the Central Okanagan. OKGo, a new partnership between the Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission, Tourism Kelowna and Accelerate Okanagan, tells the stories of innovators and entrepreneurs in key business sectors and positions the region for future economic prosperity.
The three organizations have always worked alongside each other in raising awareness of the Central Okanagan’s economic and tourism opportunities. Now, due to the Covid-19 impact, the organizations are collaborating in a new initiative, leveraging their shared audiences, mutual messaging and common goal of long-term economic recovery to promote the region as a knowledge centre for Advanced Manufacturing, Aerospace, Agriculture, Viticulture and Digital Tech. The new OKGo campaign will attract new talent, entrepreneurs, business investment and events to the region, ultimately increasing growth across all economic sectors.
“Following the lead of our national destination marketing organization, Destination Canada, we will promote stories of local innovation and success that will help attract meetings and conferences using this new strategy. With the necessary cancellation of the majority of meetings and business events that were booked in Kelowna in 2020, unique partnerships like OKGo, help us successfully position Kelowna for their future return in addition to attracting new business.” Lisanne Ballantyne, President & CEO, Tourism Kelowna.
Telling the story of the Okanagan through our local entrepreneurs sparks connection and communicates our values as a region. The multi-year sector strategy includes plans for targeted campaigns in key markets including the Pacific Northwest and select major Canadian centres. Central Okanagan residents, businesses and organizations are encouraged to share the OKGo stories through their local, national and international networks.
“While we continue to feel the impacts of Covid-19 in our community and around the globe, a medical resolution is underway and recovery is on the horizon. This has been an intensely difficult year for our community and many of our local entrepreneurs. While the COEDC and our partners continue to support businesses in navigating the immediate impacts of the pandemic, with the OKGo campaign we are also preparing for new economic opportunities. When the time is right, the region will be ready.” Krista Mallory, Manager, COEDC
Companies featured include Yeti Farm Creative, Pela, and SunRype. These entrepreneurs opened up to share the benefits of growing a business in the region and what has been the economic factors driving their success. The OKGo campaign includes aligned print and digital assets that tell a cohesive regional story and showcase local companies in the target industry sectors as it relates to innovation, entrepreneurship and infrastructure.
“Entrepreneurs in our region have always been eager to share their experience doing business in the Okanagan. OKGo gives the community a tangible representation of the diverse and vibrant energy in the valley that they can use to tell the world of how much is happening here.”
Brea Lake, CEO, Accelerate Okanagan
The project was funded with matching dollars from Global Affairs Canada as the OKGo campaign supports Canada’s economic recovery by improving the Central Okanagan’s capacity to support local businesses, highlight the region’s competitive advantages and attract investment, talent and business events to the Central Okanagan.
More information about the OKGo campaign, including a promotional video of the region, a digital copy of a high-end magazine that showcases the stories of some of the region’s local companies and a media kit, can be found on the campaign’s website ok-go.ca.
About the Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission
As the region’s primary business resource, the Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission, a service of the Regional District of Central Okanagan, works to foster a healthy and dynamic community economy by supporting existing business growth and encouraging new business investment in the region. For information on the COEDC’s Covid-19 response and resources for business, visit investkelowna.com.
About Tourism Kelowna
As the lead destination marketing organization (DMO) for the Central Okanagan, Tourism Kelowna works on behalf of over 400 local businesses and the larger tourism and hospitality community to generate overnight visitor demand that economically benefits Kelowna and its surrounding areas. Meetings, conferences and event tourism play a major role in Tourism Kelowna’s four-season development strategy, helping to round-out hotel occupancies and local spending during traditionally slower tourism months. Prior to the impact of COVID-19 on the travel and tourism industry, Kelowna would attract approximately 1.8 million visitors who would generate $443 million in spending at local businesses. Also, pre-COVID, the industry provided nearly 13,000 jobs, contributed $204 million in tax revenue, and generated $2.1 billion in total economic output annually.
About Accelerate Okanagan
Accelerate Okanagan (AO) is a not-for-profit organization that gives entrepreneurs the mentorship, connections, and community they need to build technology driven ventures. At Accelerate Okanagan we work with everyone from students to well established companies. Aspiring entrepreneurs, startups, job seekers, career-changers, companies looking to expand and grow, and companies with proven track records come to Accelerate Okanagan to learn and foster their success. Our programs are designed to meet the ever-changing needs of our community. To find out more, visit: www.accelerateokanagan.com or www.okgntech.com.