What does being a small business in Vancouver mean to you?

Dec 19 2017, 8:58 pm

The Small Business BC Awards recognize the outstanding achievements of BC’s entrepreneurs. These awards are a celebration of the contributions small business owners make to their local communities and to the global economy.

“What does being a small business in Vancouver mean to you?”

Some of B.C.’s small-business nominees took time to answer this question before the nomination and voting period for the Small Business BC Awards close on November 30.

Take a moment to read their thoughtful answers, then go view all the nominees and cast your vote.

Kim Trehan, Co-Founder, Soirée Lounge

Kim Trehan, Soirée Lounge

“Being a small business in Vancouver means an abundance of local support.  The community all jumps aboard to help you achieve your goals and treat you like family.  That’s what it means to be a small business in Vancouver – being a part of community.”

Kathryn Loewen, CEO, Control

Kathryn Loewen, Control

“Thinking Silicon Valley big, but  remaining  determined to build that vision here.”

Susan Cumberland, ‎Owner and Franchisor, School Is Easy Tutoring

Susan Cumberland, School Is Easy Tutoring

“I love Vancouver and I love what I do for a living. We help kids gain confidence in school by providing one on one in home tutoring in all subjects (grades 1 -12). We are diligent in screening tutors and matching them to students. I am rewarded everyday by grateful parents and happy students who experience success. Helping kids gives meaning to my life.”

Sarah Bundy, Founder and CEO, All Inclusive Marketing

Sarah Bundy, All Inclusive Marketing

“As someone who was born in Vancouver, I’m proud to be part of this vibrant community of small business professionals and smart business owners. There are a lot of incredible people here, many with huge vision, big dreams and solid successes both locally and internationally. As a recognized digital marketing company with its roots in Vancouver’s ground, it’s important for us to continue to support small business owners here and contribute as much as we can to help Vancouver’s vibrancy and business growth. For me, it’s an honor to be from and part of this incredible city we all love.”

Andrew Hall, Co-Founder, Mealshare

Andrew Hall, Mealshare

“Being a small business in the city pushing to be world’s greenest means being a pioneer; it means being part of the leading edge of the impending new economy, where people, planet and profit are all respected equally.”

Karina Eva, Founder, Amando Natural Stone

Karina Eva, Amando Natural Stone

“In my experience being a small business in Vancouver has made me realize that a career in entrepreneurship is about making a difference in the community via leadership and team work.”

“It means that you must be self-motivated, assertive, and skilled in your ability to learn independently as well as to collaborate with a diverse team. To a certain extent, we must be able to generate our own enthusiasm and excitement about our passion; and be able to communicate it, in a concise and compelling manner, to the people around us.”

Doretta Pintaric, Owner, Market Ink Consulting

Doretta Pintaric, Market Ink Consulting

“It means giving back: whether to our community and peers by providing referrals, buying local, and hosting Think Seminars; or, environmentally by using Car2Go and Modo, and being energy-conscious.”

Ashley Wiles, Founder and Head Coach, Sole Girls

Ashley Wiles, Sole Girls

“Being a Small Business in Vancouver means community building, supporting those who support us. It means we get to live in the most beautiful place in the world, we are surrounded by many cultures and therefore are always learning and growing inside and out.”

Chris Brandt, Executive Director, Music Heals

Chris Brandt, Music Heals

“There is a tremendous amount of creative freedom in operating in this environment. The ability to turn on a dime, and find bold thinkers who help inspire and steer those turns, is what makes us better organizations. Vancouver is a hub of philanthropy and innovation, which makes it the perfect place to launch a foundation that provides a unique offering and connects passionate supporters in the community. The tools we use are homegrown. Services like Hootsuite and Chimp drive our business, and it instills confidence knowing that both are just across town. Music Heals has built upa strong following because we are based in Vancouver. This city has the perfect mix of money and hunger to push people to do better. Vancouverites strive to be better. We have been able to donate $250,000 to music therapy programs in Canada in our first 2 years in operation. I don’t know that we could have accomplished that in any other city.”

Mehrnaz Jackie Bassiri, Founder, MyGradeBooster

Mehrnaz Jackie Bassiri, MyGradeBooster

“As a local tutoring company it means we help Vancouver’s future leaders gain confidence in their abilities, reminding them that the only person they are meant to become is who they decide to be.”

Josef Shechter, Director, eeko Couriers

Josef Shechter, eeko Couriers

“Running a business in Vancouver allows me to wake up daily with a sense of community, responsibility, pride and purpose. It’s an honor to create a corporate identity that resonates with our city.”

Brian French, President, Peregrine Plastics

Brian French, Peregrine Plastics

“Being located in East Van allows us to collaborate with local designers and craftspeople.  The pool of talented people that love to create unique products in this neighborhood is incredible.”

Kevin Luethi, Owner and Founder, Komo Roofing

Kevin Luethi, Komo Roofing

“Being a small business owner is very import to me because it allows for me to provide valuable services to my local community, employee people locally while living and personally working in the area as well.”

Arron Williams, Events Director and Co-Founder, Oui Entertain Events

Arron Williams, Oui Entertain Events

“The diversity of everyday folk in this city excites me and is a part of Oui Entertain Events success. The encouraging support from communities that attend our events drive us to think outside the box!”

Phil Mowatt and Rupert May, Co-Founders, Cycle Component Network

Phil Mowatt and Rupert May, Cycle Component Network

“Small business = Passion, friendship and innovation”

Bojan Paduh, Founder and President, Electronic Recycling Association

Bojan Paduh, Electronic Recycling Association

“Vancouver is so diverse, vibrant and forward thinking. What may work in other cities won’t work here; people won’t settle for choices that aren’t progressive and environmentally viable. Business success here is based on real ingenuity and trust.”

Joe Facciolo, Co-Founder, Guusto

Joe Facciolo, Guusto

“It is a special time to be a small business owner in BC, especially in the tech sector.  The government is doing a great job helping to support companies like Guusto by offering grant opportunities that are legitimately accessible. They are encouraging the advancement of technology and the proof is in the pudding.  With the likes of Hootsuite, Mojio and Layer7 leading the way, there are new success stories coming out of BC all the time!”

“With about a dozen accelerators that offer mentorship, affordable office space and help with fundraising there are a ton of resources available to the start-up community.  There was a time when if you truly wanted to find success in tech, the migration to San Francisco was a must.  This is no longer the case. Tech giants like Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon and AirBnB are all setting up shop in Vancouver.  There really has never been a better time to launch a tech business in Vancouver and we are excited to be a part of that community!”

Isabelle Guay, Owner, Flow Home Staging & Design

Isabelle Guay, Flow Home Staging

“Owning a business in Vancouver means directly contributing to our economy. Hiring employees, buying from local suppliers, working with other businesses, and giving back to my community are examples.”

Mellisa Mills, Founder, Spread’em Kitchen

Mellisa Mills, Spread'em Kitchen

“It means sharing something that will bring people together, excite and nourish them. Supporting and collaborating with other small businesses to help build a stronger community because that’s when sparks fly and cool stuff happens!”

Shafin Diamond Tejani, Victory Square Labs

Shafin Diamond Tejani, Victory Square Labs

“Being an entrepreneur is a roller coaster of emotions with lots of highs and lows, but one thing that always helps me through the ups and downs is taking the ride in my home town and most beautiful city in the world…Vancouver!”

Jeremy Wong, ‎President, ManCakes Bakery

Jeremy Wong, ManCakes Bakery

“Being a small business in Vancouver means that we are part of an eco system that is consistently one of the most forward moving and thinking communities in the country, and the world. Because of this, all successful small businesses continually push the envelope and create products and services that are world class while helping other businesses raise the bar for not only local, but international customers alike. It’s no easy task, but the ManCakes Bakery Café team is committed to continually raising the bar and revolutionizing the cupcake and dessert industry!”

Colin Stansfield, Executive Director, Potluck Cafe & Catering

Colin Stansfield, Potluck Cafe Society

“For us it’s about pride of place and a commitment to affect positive change in our community. Inclusive employment and local purchasing are just two of the ways that we demonstrate this commitment.”

Leah Price, Sorter-In-Chief, Our Social Fabric

Leah Price, Our Social Fabric

“Our Social Fabric is a volunteer-run non-profit that redirects fabric destined for landfill into the hands of creators.  We use our creativity to blaze this new path.  What an empowering, inspiring thrill to do good with like-minded people!”

Jeffrey Jang, Art Director, Boximals

Jeffrey Jang, Boximals

“Being a small business in Vancouver, to me, means being part of a diverse and incredible community that all have unique stories—you just need to listen! You never know what might come out of just a conversation.”

Lisa Fraser, Founder, CEO, and Principal Designer, Snug Vest

Lisa Fraser, Snug Vest

“We have a ton of support through mentorship programs, an abundance of resources including R&D grants, and a community that want us to succeed. It’s great to be in the bustling city by weekday and the peaceful mountains / ocean by weekend.”

Luke Aulin, CEO, RTOWN

Luke Aulin, RTOWN

“Building something remarkable from the ground up. Crafting a mission and vision that the world hasn’t heard yet. Building a team that oozes with culture and enjoys the stages of rapid growth that comes along with it.”

Adarsh Pallian, CEO, Trippeo Technologies

Adarsh Pallian, Trippeo.com

“Two words: community and inspiration. The tech community is very supportive of new start-ups in the industry and it’s only getting better. I’ve noticed a big difference with the launch of my new company, Trippeo, compared to just a few years ago. There’re also some brilliant folks doing really smart things here and it’s hard not to get into the entrepreneurial spirit.”

Marie Be, Principal, EarthSun

Marie Be, EarthSun

“Being a small business means not having to compromise on sustainable business practices. It also provides the leverage to educate customers on healthy lifestyles.”

Peter Tu, Owner, Selfology Spa

Peter Tu, Selfology

“Vancouver offers an excellent opportunity for small business owner to explore ways to serve a truly multilingual and multicultural society.  Being inclusive is always good for business, however creating great customer experiences through a small business group is a unique challenge.  The essence is to learn and respect the various cultural norms and apply them creatively to the existing process.  Genuine respect will be earned along with a new level of cross-cultural and cross-lingual bond created.”

Lisa von Sturmer, Founder and CEO, Growing City

Lisa von Sturmer, Growing City

“Besides the fact that the city is beautiful, and there’s a wonderful culture of “getting out & enjoying the wild”, there’s also a vibrant and warm SME business community here. Growing City’s heart will always live in Vancouver, no matter how many other cities we grow to. We love this town!”

Lisa Wilkinson, Principal, Ambleside Environmental

Liisa Wilkinson,  Ambleside Environmental

“Being a small business in Vancouver means we get to wake up with a smile on Mondays, eager to start work in our beautiful community.  As environmental consultants, we are all over the city serving our Client’s environmental needs, and despite a little traffic on rainy days, we love what we do.  We get to see the mountains and the ocean every day and are proud to be doing our part to keep the city clean and conserved for generations to come.  Vancouver is one of the greenest places to live in the world and it’s natural beauty constantly inspires us.  Not to mention the massive opportunity for business growth that exists, which every company needs to prosper.”

Chris Day, CEO, Fully Managed

Chris Day, Fully Managed

“Over the years I’ve learned that owning a small business in Vancouver means that you have to be creative – it’s a complex market.  To be successful, you have to define your purpose, core values, and surround yourself with people that believe in what you’re trying to create (including your partners). When I started Fully Managed, I spent a lot of time educating and surrounding myself with leaders that inspired me; I read about a hundred different business books on how to scale and build a business, and joined every peer group I could – these things helped me to become a better leader and ultimately more successful. Owning a business in Vancouver isn’t a right, it’s a privilege – never forget where you came from and commit to your purpose and core values.”

Lisa Falconer, Chief Sock and Slipper Officer, Polar Feet

Lisa Falconer, Polar Feet

“Polar Feet is all about getting outside no matter the weather and that’s an important part of Vancouver culture, too!  We love the proximity of the mountains and test product there all year round.”

Ilya Brotzky, Founder, tickett.co

Ilya Brotzky, tickett.co

“Being a Small Business in Vancouver means finding a way of making a great city even better through an innovative product that is in line with the population’s values.”

Andy Zaremba, Co-Founder, Float House

Andy Zaremba,  Float House

“I choose to do business from the standpoint of, how many people can I serve as opposed to how much money can I make.  Start a business to serve a fundamental need of people/society.  In our case, at the very least, it’s stress management (anyone commuting in Vancouver can concur with that notion). Do better than just creating a piece of junk that will end up in a land fill in one years time, to turn a short-term profit.  Do something meaningful, and the money will take care of itself.”

Mischa Chandler Farivar, Owner, Flatspot Longboards

Mischa Chandler Farivar, Flatspot Longboards

“To me, being a small business is an opportunity to fulfill a role in my community I couldn’t as an individual, promote a culture I care about, and encourage others to do the same. It is an engagement with people here and now.”

Jennifer LeBrun, Owner, ULAT Dryer Balls

Jennifer LeBrun, ULAT Dryer Balls

“Rich in diversity + community driven + resource abundant + surrounded by this uniquely beautiful landscape = the sky’s the limit.”


DH Vancouver StaffDH Vancouver Staff

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