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The search is on for best small businesses in Thompson Okanagan

Small Business BC Awards accepting nominations until March 10
Small business owners can be nominated for a Small Business BC award until March 10, 2023. (Contributed)

Thompson-Okanagan residents can show their favourite small businesses some love by nominating them for a Small Business BC Award.

This year, Small Business BC (SBBC) is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the province’s biggest award contest for entrepreneurs, and small businesses are invited to compete for $40,000 in prize money.

The awards, which started out as a simple business planning contest, have evolved into the most recognized awards program for small businesses in Western Canada. More than 6,000 businesses from every industry and community in B.C. have competed for the awards.

“Over the past 20 years, SBBC has been honoured to shine a spotlight on B.C.’s entrepreneurs, celebrating those who put everything on the line to pursue their dreams,” said SBBC CEO Tom Conway. “To mark our 20th anniversary, we’re thrilled to be returning to an in-person gala where a $40,000 prize purse will be shared among four winning businesses. To help make this year the most inspirational awards ever, we’re asking the public to nominate a small business that has impacted your community.”

Past finalists from the Thompson Okanagan include Friendly Composting, a Kamloops-based business that finished in second place for the 2022 Business Impact Award. Friendly Composting provides organic waste collection, compost soil distribution and sustainable education.

“There’s something special about seeing your work get this kind of recognition. It’s given us confidence and pride that we’re on the right track,” said Friendly Composting Co-founder and CFO Claire McLoughlin.

Other past finalists from the Thompson Okanagan include Vernon’s Summit Tiny Homes (finalist for Premier’s People’s Choice Award in 2021), Grindrod’s Okanagan RAWSOME (finalist for Best Community Impact Award in 2019) and Coldstream’s Back to Earth Enviro Products Inc. (finalist for the 2016 People’s Choice Award).

“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and as a former business owner myself, I’m always overjoyed to hear about their success,” said Minister of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation Brenda Bailey. “I hope British Columbians can join me in recognizing their local businesses by nominating them for the Small Business BC Awards. I look forward to celebrating the successful recipients in June.”

Each winner will be awarded with $10,000 in prize money, a top business title, and one year of free advisory support from SBBC.

Award nominations are open until March 10 and can be submitted at

The 20th Small Business BC Awards features four award categories. Businesses can enter a total of two categories.

The Premier’s People’s Choice Award is decided exclusively by a public vote. Sponsored by the province, it is presented to the business that can demonstrate the unwavering and loyal support of its community.

The three other awards are decided by a mix of public vote and judges. The top five finalists are decided by a public vote and written responses judged by internal business experts. The finalists then pitch their business to a panel of B.C. business leaders who decide the winner of each category.

Sponsored by BCAA, the Business Impact Award goes to businesses that make a difference in their community, take positive action to invest in the community and view social responsibility as an integral part of their success.

The E-Commerce Experience Award goes to a business that presents a frictionless experience for their online customers.

The Best Youth Entrepreneur Award, sponsored by Kwantlen Polytechnic University, rewards entrepreneurial spirit and goes to a successful business leader aged 35 and under.

An in-person awards gala will be held June 2 in Vancouver to announce and honour the winners. Tickets to the event will go on sale in April.

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Brendan Shykora
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Brendan Shykora

About the Author: Brendan Shykora

I started as a carrier at the age of 8. In 2019 graduated from the Master of Journalism program at Carleton University.
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