A strong community can promote new ideas and ensure accountability. It can also act as motivation, support, and even provide a little friendly competition. The power of community is undeniable and the Okanagan tech community is no exception.
Our community is strong and growing with record speed and maintaining a connection through a period of growth like this can be a challenge. Nobody panic, we’ve got a plan.
We are #OKGNtech is a showcase of Okanagan tech entrepreneurs, partners, supporters, and cheerleaders designed to fuel more connection, more growth, and more excitement. Follow along on the blog and on Instagram @OKGNtech to learn more about our growing community and what makes them awesome.
Meet Arpan. Arpan Kandola is the Acquisitions & Development Coordinator at Mission Group and the co-founder & CEO of Proximy. When he’s not creating physical and digital spaces for the community, you’ll find Arpan playing music with his brother, hiking around the valley, or spending some time relaxing with his friends.
Where do you work in the Okanagan?
I work on acquisitions, design, and development at Mission Group, a Kelowna-based commercial real estate developer and residential home builder. I am fortunate to work with the talented Mission Group team as well as different landowners, engineers, architects, and place-makers to acquire land and design communities for people in the Okanagan to live, play and work.
And you’re also operating a startup?
I’m the co-founder and CEO of Proximy, an online marketplace that connects people to local experts in-person or online. We want to help create 1:1 connections and help people earn an income doing what they love to do. Humans are social creatures and we want to help create meaningful social interaction in our communities. One of my biggest responsibilities as the CEO is making sure that the company stays true to its mission and is continuously growing in meaningful and innovative ways.
What made you want to start Proximy?
About 4 years ago, I lost my dad. It was a very difficult and trying experience for me and my family. During that time, I came up with the concept for Proximy. I wanted to connect with people who could understand what I was experiencing, and social isolation was a growing issue then and a trending issue now as a result of COVID-19. I started developing Proximy to help myself and others going through something similar—I wanted to end social isolation, build community, and create a space where like-minded people could connect and feel like they belong.
What do you enjoy most about your roles?
If you look at my resume, you’ll see that the work I’m doing with Mission Group is exactly what I should be doing. The most enjoyable part is when we commit to land, we go through a process to envision what could be built and design it to be a solid viable building that will last hundreds of years to come. I was only able to think about Proximy after the hard times that I went through. I feel privileged to be able to work and build physical communities through Mission Group and now to build an online community with Proximy. For the former, we’re building spaces for people to live; in the latter, we’re building a space where people can feel they belong. It’s no coincidence that my jobs complement each other.
What advice would you give to someone interested in a job like yours?
They need to recognize that life is short and to take the leap. Some of the best things have come as a result of people taking risks. I believe everyone has a unique experience in the world and that their opinion matters and can make a positive impact. If they have an idea they are passionate about, they should try to pursue it. People are scared to fail, but those moments are what define us; growth comes from being uncomfortable.
What do you enjoy about the OKGNtech community?
The support you’re able to access is my favourite part. People are always willing to sit down with me, talk through my ideas, and identify next steps. That’s not something you can find in every community. There’s a lot of inclusivity—people want to support local entrepreneurs and I think the tech community is one of the best parts of Accelerate Okanagan. They’re here to support you whether you fail or do something well.
Do you see ways that the community can improve?
Being born and raised in Kelowna, one thing that I think we can do better in the community is embracing diversity. Building diversity into a company provides perspectives that they wouldn’t otherwise have. We’ve all gone through a very unique time together which has caused us to become socially isolated. But it’s also caused us to become more aware of events happening around the world. We need to take advantage of that awareness and celebrate what makes us unique while also recognizing what makes us similar.
The best piece of advice you’ve received?
“If you resist change, you resist life.” Life is about change. We are changing every single day through the experiences we accumulate. If you’re not changing then you’re not progressing. It can be hard, but change is always for the best at the end of the day. It makes us better. The more experiences we can have, the better we’ll understand one another.