Two Penticton businesses have made it to the finals of the 15th Annual Small Business BC Awards.
Duffy Baker Construction Corp. is in the running for the Premier’s People’s Choice award and a winner from last year, Winecrush, is in the running for the Best Innovation Award.
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“It’s great to make the top five again. I think it will be a lot less nerve-wracking than it was the first time because we know the process,” said Tyson Still.
Since winning the Best Concept award last year, Still said their business has continued to grow. Last year they were found just in the Penticton region, now their product is in the Kelowna, Vernon, Kamloops, Vancouver, Langley and Abbotsford marketplace.
“People are now calling us to have our product instead of having to go out and get those hard sales. We can be found in Save-On Foods, Urban Fare and we are working on getting two other grocery chains,” said Still. “For sure having that award behind us has been a part of our success and if we win again I think it will only help to continue our growth.”
Still said one of their biggest successes since winning the Small Business BC Award last year was getting into the Save-On stores.
“From doing demos in stores and talking to other businesses we learned that it takes a long time to accepted into their stores and they basically don’t even talk to a business that hasn’t been around for at least three years,” he said.
Out of the nearly 600 small businesses from across B.C. who were nominated for the awards, there are now only five businesses in each of the 10 award categories moving forward in the judging process, and one step closer to being named a top B.C. small business.
“We are thrilled with the engagement that B.C.’s small business community has had with this year’s awards and we extend our heartfelt congratulations to all,” said Small Business BC CEO George Hunter. “We are very much looking forward to celebrating the outstanding achievements of local entrepreneurs at the Small Business BC Awards Gala.”
For the last step in the awards’ judging process, the finalists will pitch their business, and its success, to a panel of business experts in early February. The winners will be announced at the Small Business BC Awards Gala and will receive the premier’s prize in the amount of $1,500, a one-year all-access pass to Small Business BC education and experts and the honour of being named one of B.C.’s top businesses.
Koa Hughes, said if they do win the award they will be donating the $1,500 to local charities. The money would be split between the Meals on Wheels program and the food bank.
“After reading about the level of food insecurity in the community, and the amount of children who are living in poverty, we decided that these two programs help keep kids and families fed,” said Hughes.
Duffy Baker Construction Corp. started five years ago and Hughes said they have been growing steadily, now employing 11 people. They do sub-contracting and regular contract work on commercial and residential buildings.
The winners of the Small Business BC Awards will be announced at the awards gala held on Feb. 23.
“British Columbia has a vibrant small business community and the Small Business BC Awards are testament to the entrepreneurship happening throughout the province,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology. “We are proud to support creative leadership in the small business sector and this year’s nominees demonstrate that B.C. continues to be a place of remarkable innovation, where people benefit from good jobs and a strong, sustainable economy.”