CFBC Award for Excellence and Innovation

Community Futures Shuswap

The award for Excellence and Innovation goes to Community Futures Shuswap for thei Launch-a-Preneur porgram:


Shuswap Launch-a-Preneur is an entrepreneur support program and pitch competition designed and hosted by Community Futures Shuswap, Enactus, Okanagan College and Salmon Arm Economic Development Society. The purpose of the program is to assist individuals and teams to successfully plan for and launch their business in the Shuswap, while at the same time competing for prize packages in true “Dragon’s Den” fashion!

The program ensures participants have the upfront planning support and resources, as well as on-going support, to ensure their sustainability. Program goals include the following:

  • Support entrepreneurship / Increase business start-up’s in the Shuswap.
  • Provide training and support to ensure business sustainability and growth.
  • Create jobs in the Shuswap Region.
  • Build upon Salmon Arm’s reputation as an entrepreneurial community – developing a community reputation for supporting our small businesses.
  • Promote opportunities for collaboration and networking among new business start-up’s.
  • Establish a Shuswap grown “shop-local” campaign by engaging residents in the program

Following the close of Season 4 of Shuswap Launch-a-preneur:

  • There are 34 businesses currently in operation in the Shuswap Region that were established by individuals that went through the program. This includes a cross-section of business sectors including agriculture, technology and commercial (among others).
  • To date, close to 40% of participants in the Shuswap Launch-a-preneur program proceeded to launch their business. We expect this number to continue to increase over time as participants continue to work to launch their ideas.
  • These 34 businesses are estimated to be employing more than 72 FTE’s, 15 part-time positions, and there are 4 patents pending.
  • Just passing the 5 year mark since the first season of the program (2012), we are only aware of 1 business closure from a participant in the program. At a current business sustainability rate of 97%, we recognize this is a relatively young program and will continue to monitor the success of each business into the future.
  • Each season, over 50 local businesses provide sponsorship consisting of seed capital and in-kind prizes now approaching $40,000/season.
  • More than 20 business leaders from the Shuswap area volunteer to mentor teams on a one-on-one basis throughout the program.
  • Close to 300 community members each season (Sold out crowd) attend the final competition.

The best example of innovation related to Shuswap Launch-a-Preneur program is the approach and ultimately the outcome of community engagement. Through the involvement of the Shuswap community (via partnership, mentorship, sponsorship, sneak peek mini tradeshow, final event night attendance, media and follow-up stories) we have established the building blocks for an entrepreneurial community, one which strongly supports our local businesses and specifically new start-ups. By incorporating diverse opportunities for community members to support this program, what has resulted is a locally developed program which the entire community has taken ownership of. The most amazing part of the Shuswap Launch-a-Preneur program is how our community comes together to support the participants. The support extends well beyond the program and the prize packages and sees our community following their progress for years to come. The whole Shuswap gets behind these entrepreneurs and creates a supportive environment to foster their start-up. Our Final Event Night MC said it best….“It takes a village to raise a child and a community to Launch-a-Preneur!"


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About Community Futures

For over 30 years, we’ve been fostering entrepreneurship in rural BC. We offer small business loans, business counseling and specialized programs to help you start or grow a business, and to help communities become more resilient and dynamic. Find out more…

Contact us

#C230 - 7871 Stave Lake St.
Mission, BC  V2V 0C5

T: 604-289-4222
T: 1-888-303-2232


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