Accelerate Okanagan, Community Futures of the North Okanagan to launch new innovation centre in Vernon

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Accelerate Okanagan and Community Futures of the North Okanagan are set to launch a new innovation centre aimed to bring together entrepreneurs in the North Okanagan region of British Columbia. The new hub, which is being called the Vernon Innovation and Entrepreneur Workspace (The VIEW), will begin offering flexible office space on September 1.

“By leveraging the existing organizations in our networks, we can help to accelerate economic growth in the North Okanagan.”

The VIEW will offer local tech businesses access to mentorship, support services, and collaboration with other members of the community. Tech companies in the region will also be able to directly access Accelerate Okanagan’s resources and accelerator programs, including the Venture Acceleration Program, RevUP, and the new W Venture program.

“In order to fully serve entrepreneurs and community members, we need to create more connection opportunities to the broader innovation ecosystem,” said Brea Lake, CEO of Accelerate Okanagan. “By leveraging the existing organizations in our networks, we can help to accelerate economic growth in the North Okanagan.”

The VIEW is supported by an undisclosed amount of funding secured by Community Futures through Western Economic Diversification Canada, the regional development agency (RDA) for British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. Undisclosed funding also comes from the City of Vernon. In April, the federal government committed $962 million to RDAs and the Community Futures Network to support businesses that have not qualified for the federal COVID-19 emergency programs.

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The new space will be located in downtown Vernon and will feature coworking desks, private offices, meeting rooms, lounge space, and kitchen. The VIEW is currently completing renovations, and a waitlist is currently available for the shared workspace.

Accelerate Okanagan recently launched the W Venture program, alongside the University of Victoria, VIATEC, and the Digital Technology Supercluster. The program is targeted toward women in Victoria and the Okanagan region of BC looking to accelerate their business and is now available to tenants in The VIEW.

“Something that has been front-of-mind for us is the positive impact we’re hoping to see on surrounding businesses,” said Leigha Horsfield, general manager of Community Futures North Okanagan. “Our hope is that we’ll see more organizations benefit from the increased activity around The VIEW.”

Image source Unsplash. Photo by Annie Spratt.

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle is a Vancouver-based writer with 5+ years of experience in communications and journalism and a lifelong passion for telling stories. For over two years, she has reported on all sides of the Canadian startup ecosystem, from landmark venture deals to public policy, telling the stories of the founders putting Canadian tech on the map.