Regional Pilot Communities in the Thompson Okanagan

Located in the interior of B.C., the Thompson Okanagan region stretches to the Alberta border in the east and to the U.S. border in the south. The distinctive landscapes range from Canada’s only desert and arid grasslands to abundant mountains, rivers and valleys, lakes, forested highlands and alpine meadows. This area is a popular tourist destination renowned for its sunny climate, beautiful landscapes and relaxed lifestyle. Visitors and locals spend summers hiking, biking, fishing and boating, and the winters skiing and snowboarding through pillowy champagne powder.
 
The Thompson Okanagan’s diverse economy includes health care and social assistance, retail trade, professional, scientific and technical services, accommodation and food services, and educational services. Its many fertile valleys grow the grapes used to make the region's world-class wines.

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Participating communities in the Thompson Okanagan region:

Chase

Community Description:
Chase is looking for entrepreneurs who are willing to open dine-in restaurants serving international cuisine to its residents and visitors. In addition, the community’s growing population needs a retail store that sells clothing and shoes, particularly focusing on children. Because of its strong tourism and outdoor recreation sector, Chase would also welcome the establishment of a boutique resort hotel with meeting rooms and some in-house food service (breakfast).

Chase is the business hub for a larger surrounding area of rural communities, so its businesses are diverse and provide a variety of services. The community also boasts an active Chamber of Commerce and visitor information service. The Chamber of Commerce supports its business members through shared knowledge and activities such as business walks.

Chase is a very active community with a wide variety of indoor and outdoor recreational opportunities including hockey, curling, golf, and hiking. Walking pathways are being developed within the community to promote health and wellness. Local volunteer groups provide all types of services and activities. In the summer months, the Festival Society sponsors free outdoor music performances. In winter, the Chase Country Christmas committee hosts a craft fair, musical events and a glistening parade.

Chase is growing, as more people are moving from larger centres to smaller communities. Chase has an atmosphere of working together and supporting fellow members of the community, so that everyone will prosper. There is vacant land available in Chase for residential and commercial development, and ongoing upgrades to the Trans-Canada Highway are improving travel to nearby cities such as Kamloops.

Priority Sectors:
7225 - Full-service restaurants and limited-service eating places
721113 - Resorts
448 - Clothing and clothing accessories stores
452 - General Merchandise Stores
 
Population: 2,300
Website: www.chasebc.ca
Contact: cao@chasebc.ca

Clinton

Community Description:
With a strong and well-known antique retail cluster, industrial supports, and a growing tourism industry, Clinton is looking to welcome businesses that support these trends through eating places, bakeries, and niche retail opportunities such as a recreation-based retail and rental store. Additionally, Clinton will continue to support businesses that help benefit the quality of life of residents, such as a pharmacy.
 
Clinton‘s Community Development Coordinator shares resources and information to support local economic development initiatives. An upcoming community and economic development toolbox update will provide local businesses with resources and information to grow their business, and give prospective entrepreneurs and businesses with the information they need to succeed.  
 
The Village of Clinton is a small, friendly community in a pristine natural environment, while still being close to larger centres. With a rich heritage, stunning scenery, and recreational opportunities, Clinton is perfect for visitors and residents that are looking for history, culture, and adventure. Clinton prides itself on providing residents with a great work-life balance, and welcomes new residents with open arms.
 
Clinton’s mission is to increase economic opportunity and improve the quality of life for all residents. It is a lively, resilient community, proud of its rich heritage while building a sustainable future with local Secwepemc and neighbouring communities. Clinton will continue to welcome new business ventures that support the community vision, and will also continue to access and support current and potential residents housing needs.
 
Priority Sectors:
4511 - Sporting goods, hobby and musical instrument stores
44611 - Pharmacies and drug stores
7225 - Full-service restaurants and limited-service eating places
 
Population: 654
Website: https://village.clinton.bc.ca
Contact: cdc@village.clinton.bc.ca

Penticton

Community Description:
Penticton is urgently seeking new manufacturing and media businesses. It is also in need of new professional and (non-IT) technical services, but will only consider proposals in areas that require professional licencing if the entrepreneur is already licensed in Canada. In all business sectors, Penticton is prioritizing climate-friendly businesses that will support the city’s climate action plan.

From the Chamber of Commerce, to Community Futures, to the Downtown Penticton Association, to a professional media industry, to a welcoming community of entrepreneurs, Penticton has an array of strong business supports in the community. Penticton also offers various business toolkits and fast fibre optic internet.

Penticton has a thriving downtown and boasts ample arts, cultural, and recreational opportunities to support a high quality of life. The city is located between two beautiful lakes and has a regional airport with daily connections. Penticton also has established immigrant and community services and organizations that will support both the business and personal aspects of new residents’ lives.

Penticton’s vision is to be a community with a broad and rich base of entrepreneurs that will support a safe and vibrant community. With anticipated population growth of 2% per year, and with approximately $100 million in future municipal amenity upgrades, Penticton continues to grow into a beautiful and fun place to live and do business.
 
Priority Sectors:
512 - Motion picture and sound recording industries
311 - Food manufacturing
5411 – Legal Services
5412- Accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping and payroll services
5413 - Architectural, engineering and related services
5414 - Specialized design services
5416 - Management, scientific and technical consulting services
5417 - Scientific research and development services
5418 – Advertising, public relations and related services
5419 – Other professional, scientific and technical services
 
Population: 45,792
Website: www.penticton.ca/business-building/business-economic-development/bc-pnp-program
Contact: economicdevelopment@penticton.ca
 

Salmon Arm

Community Description:
Salmon Arm is looking for innovative tech businesses working in advanced manufacturing or specializing in computer systems design, or that provide management, scientific and technical consulting services. It is also looking for businesses to provide recreational experiences for both locals and tourists. In addition, Salmon Arm is looking to attract food processing businesses that can take advantage of its rich agricultural land.

Salmon Arm boasts a welcoming, mentorship-minded business community and a diverse economy. It has a well-established Downtown Business Improvement Association, a business support hub and accelerator program. Progressive municipal initiatives that support small businesses include commercial and industrial revitalization tax exemption programs.

Located along the Shuswap Lake shoreline, Salmon Arm has big opportunities for anyone seeking a more grounded lifestyle. Salmon Arm’s cost of living is notably lower than larger urban centres, particularly when it comes to housing. Designed as a walkable community, residents have easy access to biking and hiking trails and neighbourhood parks.

Salmon Arm is an emerging innovation hub with unmatched quality of place. Over the next five years, Salmon Arm expects to see continued population growth, with a focus on attainable, affordable housing, agricultural innovation to support local food production, and a commitment to diversity and inclusion. Salmon Arm continues promoting and developing tourism assets that will attract visitors from far and wide.
 
Priority Sectors:
5416 - Management, scientific and technical consulting services
5415 - Computer systems design and related services
71399 - Other amusement and recreation industries
333 - Machinery manufacturing
311 - Food manufacturing

Population: 19,296
Website: https://www.saeds.ca/bc-provincial-nomination-program/#pnp
Contact: eip@saeds.ca

Vernon

Community Description:
The City of Vernon is seeking entrepreneurs who can bring their expertise, experience, and passion to enhance the vibrant business community. Vernon welcomes entrepreneurs to take advantage of opportunities in key sectors, including: specialty food manufacturing to compliment the North Okanagan’s agriculture; bakeries & restaurants that offer a broad mix of international flavours and specialties; and management, scientific, and technical consultants to support existing businesses, and develop new technologies.

Vernon offers a full suite of business and settlement services for immigrant entrepreneurs. Local government and business associations and organizations provide additional support to help businesses successfully establish in the community. The city’s unique offering of assistance through the Economic Development and Tourism Department ensures that property investors and entrepreneurs are supported throughout the process of building and construction of any commercial or industrial project. 

Families choose Vernon for the outdoor activities, small town feel, public schools, and close proximity to the Kelowna International Airport and the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan Campus.  Entrepreneurs seek out Vernon for its supportive local government environment, availability of affordable commercial and industrial property, and strong consumer preferences to ‘shop local’.  

Continued development of commercial and industrial properties is creating a range of spaces for entrepreneurs to start and expand their businesses. Vernon is growing, and that growth is expected to continue throughout the next 5 years as more domestic and international families discover the many benefits and opportunities available in the community.
 
Priority Sectors:
2361 –Residential building construction
2362 – Non-residential building construction
3112 - Grain and oilseed milling
3114 - Fruit and vegetable preserving and specialty food manufacturing
3118 - Bakeries and tortilla manufacturing
4421 - Furniture stores
4481 - Clothing stores
4511 - Sporting goods, hobby and musical instrument stores
7225 - Full-service restaurants and limited-service eating places
 
Population: 44,171
Website: https://www.vernon.ca/pnp
Contact: ecdev@vernon.ca