On behalf of the Venture Kamloops Board of Directors, it is my privilege to offer this Annual Report for 2020. As we all know, 2020 was a year of unprecedented upheaval in the business community. Business support organizations, such as ours were thrust to the forefront of the monumental effort to help local businesses survive – and succeed – during the global pandemic. For the Board of Venture Kamloops, this meant the re-evaluation of our carefully laid strategic plan.
While our province came to a near standstill in March of 2020, our Board did exactly the opposite. Board meetings, normally held once per quarter, became bi-weekly. The commitment of time and energy to this organization was exponentially greater than ever before – and it came on top of each director’s own professional responsibilities to their own businesses and organizations. The need for information sharing between all the directors was of utmost importance as the economic crisis worsened. I’m proud to say that each and every director rose to the challenge and each made significant contributions to the direction of Venture Kamloops during an uncertain time. As President, I was able to carry our suggestions forward to the Mayor’s Taskforce on Economic Recovery and Renewal.
In the past, Board Presidents, including me, have used the word “successful” to describe the year Venture Kamloops had just completed. It is hard to use that word for 2020, but the impact the organization had on the local business community was significant. Staff worked with more than twice as many Kamloops businesses in a single year than ever before. They delivered every existing program in pandemic-modified forms to ensure relevant and effective business support was readily available. One of the most important things they were able to do was to keep contacts aware of the constantly changing landscape of COVID recovery programs. Meanwhile the board set about re-writing the entire 2020 portion of the organizations strategic plan.
As the pandemic continues into 2021, it can be argued it is premature to refer to outcomes from 2020 as “results,” but we do know much about the recovery of the local economy and Venture Kamloops’ role in that recovery. The organization continues to welcome record numbers of enrolments into programs like VK Accelerate, VK Venture Advisors and new clients contact us daily through Start Here. All of this tells us that there is a continued need for local business support and that Venture Kamloops plays a major in that support through these everchanging times.
Speaking of change, 2020 saw change in our Board as Margot Middleton completed her term as a Director. During her 6 years with Venture Kamloops, Margot held every Executive Committee role. Her commitment to the organization is truly appreciated by staff and Board alike.
The board met in October to establish a strategic direction for 2021. But, as we learned very clearly in 2020, plans can, and must, be flexible and ready to change. As I look forward to the coming year, I can say with certainty that I believe the organization can meet those changes head on and continue our important work for the community.
- Tom Dickinson, VK President
The population of Kamloops is expected to grow by 5,000 people between 2017 and 2022.