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.
Introducing, We are #OKGNtech. 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 Richard. Richard Takai is the business development manager at Grant Thornton, the export development manager at COEDC and the director of the OKGN Angel Investment Society. When he isn’t helping companies strengthen their relationships with the community, you’ll find Richard indulging in his intellectual curiosity—devouring podcasts, audiobooks, and articles.
Why did you choose the Okanagan to call home?
I’ve had the good fortune of living in a few different places around the world and travelled extensively. I can’t think of a better place to raise kids and engage in the lifestyle more than the Okanagan.
Where do you work in the Okanagan?
I wear many hats. I have a business development role with Grant Thornton, where I work with our clients to thrive and grow. I work with the Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission helping local companies develop export markets. I do other projects as well, such as the OKGN Angel Summit. I’ve been in Kelowna for 12 years and have built a diverse network, so what really brings me a lot of enjoyment is connecting people.
What advice would you give to someone interested in a job like yours?
The real beauty of the Okanagan is that we’re still small. What I mean by that is it’s really easy to get connected if you make the effort. To get plugged into the community you need to develop relationships—it’s easy to do. If you meet the right 5 people you can get connected to anyone. A little bit of effort can be the springboard into whatever you want to do.
What do you enjoy about the OKGNtech community?
The people that are involved in the community are what make it valuable. The Okanagan has had a few good exits where the founders decide to stay here and start again. That mentality of putting back into the tech ecosystem is what really allows it to grow.
How do you like to give back or add value to the community?
By virtue of the various experiences I’ve had, I help entrepreneurs avoid mistakes and capitalize on opportunities. I’m looking for opportunities where I can help grow the community, tech or otherwise. The OKGN Angel Summit is one way where I hope I can accomplish that.
What impact did the Okanagan’s first Angel Summit have?
It was a huge success. To put it in perspective, San Diego launched its first Angel Summit last year, following the same format as we did, and raised 11 million dollars. The Okanagan had $4 million in investments placed in our first year. That’s over a third of San Diego’s funding and we’re only a quarter of their population.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve received?
Adam Robinson came out with these guiding rules of life that profoundly changed me. He said you should “find delight in everything you do, genuinely connect with everyone you encounter, and lean into every encounter expecting magic or miracles.”
Who inspires you?
There are people in my life that I refer to as “rockstars”. These are friends or colleagues that are just otherworldly in their abilities and their personalities. They’re people that I unreservedly recommend. I’m very fortunate to know a small handful of people like that, and they inspire me.