It is my pleasure and privilege to deliver the 2021 Venture Kamloops Annual Report. This report is presented on behalf of the Venture Kamloops Board of Directors, the group of community volunteers who are responsible for the governance and strategic direction of the organization. The Venture Kamloops 2019 – 2023 Strategic Plan which can be found here, serves as the blueprint to achieve the board’s vision as “facilitators of an economically sustainable, diverse and thriving community.” The board is a mix of members who participated in the development of the plan and those who have joined Venture Kamloops since that time. The diversity of viewpoints brought to the table by the architects of the plan and those who view it in terms of their own tenure is invaluable to keeping the plan alive as a vital part of the organizations mandate to serve the City of Kamloops.
To that end, the board meets annually to review the plan and determine its relevance to the current local economic environment. This discussion has become especially important as we navigate the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The drastically changing business landscape has created challenges that few organizations anticipated but must be dealt with. For Venture Kamloops, it has become clear that the basic Economic Building Blocks contained in the existing plan must form the basis for continued COVID-related support for businesses and for the way forward as we emerge from the pandemic. The board was unanimous in its direction to staff to ensure that these Building Blocks are delivered to local businesses in an effective, efficient and timely manner.
The idea that the services and support that Venture Kamloops provides must be effective and efficient comes as the organization takes on more new clients than ever before. Before 2021, staff had never worked with as many as 300 new clients in any year. But last year, Venture Kamloops took on more than 400 new clients. It’s an astounding number that few within the organization thought possible. As impressive as this is, the surge in client numbers has stretched our resources and forced Venture Kamloops, like so many others, to adapt and innovate in the way we do business. Staff have developed new support tools, streamlined the client intake process and adapted our existing programs to function under the weight of the pandemic-fueled need for business support.
As we look forward to 2022 and beyond, I would be remiss if I did not glance backward and acknowledge the board service of past president Tony Ryan, who completed his term this past year. Tony was the original architect of the current Strategic Plan and I and the board owe him a debt of thanks for his years of service.
In closing, as a board driven organization, I cannot say enough about the value of the contribution the Venture Kamloops staff has brought to the community of Kamloops. Without their devoted, and professional commitment to supporting local business and the economic development aspects at the same time, the impact of the pandemic in this community would have been much worse than what it was. It is said that good things come from dire situations and the value propositions of your Economic Development organization are second to none.
- Brant Hasanen, VK President
Kamloops has an outlook for modest and consistent GDP growth of 2% annually to 2022, increasing from approximately $4.4 billion in 2018 and up to $4.8 billion in 2022.