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It's apropos that 'Rise Above' is the theme of this year's 36th annual Kelowna Chamber Business Excellence Awards.
To thrive in this post-pandemic, near-recession, wildfire-and-smoke environment companies, entrepreneurs and non-profits literally and figuratively have to 'rise above' an array of barriers.
"Kelowna's growth of businesses, residents and educational opportunities has meant that we are seeing local businesses and not-for-profits excel, rising above ongoing economic and other challenges," said Kelowna Chamber of Commerce board chairman Dan Price.
"We look forward to seeing which companies and which individuals take home the hardware in 2023."
Anyone can nominate a deserving company or individual in 16 categories at https://gammatech.wufoo.com/
All nominations will be reviewed by the chamber's independent judging panel and the places of business of finalists will be visited by judges before award winners and runners-up are determined.
Two finalists in each of the 16 categories will be announced at an event in October and winners will be crowned at a gala dinner on Nov. 17 at the Delta Grand hotel.
"This process is an enormous undertaking for the chamber," said Price.
"Excellence in business practices, equity, diversity and inclusion, ethical business procedures, strong human relations support -- many considerations go into the judges' reviews."
Two categories have been scrapped for this year -- social leadership and marketing campaign of the year.
They have been replaced by excellence in community impact and people's choice business of the year (selected by the public as best of the year).
Companies are eligible for nomination in a maximum of two categories.
Past year award winners cannot be nominated in the same category for two years, but are eligible for other categories.
Past finalists can be nominated in the same category or any other category.
An additional category -- business leader of the year -- doesn't have a nomination process.
Judges determine who the winner will be and their name is announced before the Nov. 17 dinner as a way to hype the awards and gala.
Last year, Brea Lake of Accelerate Okanagan was 'business leader of the year.'
Here is the list of categories:
- Business leader of the year
2022 winner: Brea Lake of Accelerate Okanagan
- People's choice business of the year
New category for 2023 with the winner selected by the public
- Excellence in community impact
New category for 2023
- Large business of the year
2022 winner: Northside Industries
- Mid-size business of the year
2022 winner: Modern PURAIR
- Small business of the year
2022 winner: Strut Footwear & Apparel
- Rising star (for a business in operation less than three years and is not a franchise)
2022 winner: Fortune Creek
- Young entrepreneur of the year
2022 winner: Dr. Harmony Mir of Harmony Chiropractic and Wellness
- Excellence in tourism
2022 winner: Oyama Zipline Adventure Park
- Excellence in agriculture
2022 winner: AgriForest Bio-Technologies
- Technology innovator of the year
2022 winner: Innovative Aerospace Services
- Indigenous business of the year
2022 winner: First Nations Finance Authority
- Excellence in equality, diversity and inclusion
2022 winner: Tranq Sleep Care
- Excellence in environmental impact
2022 winner: Meadow Vista Honey Wines
- Arts and entertainment excellence
2022 winner: Sncewips Heritage Museum
- Not-for-profit excellence
2022 winner: Mamas for Mamas