Two local businesses are looking to make it into the finals of the province’s 17th Annual Small Business BC Awards in Vancouver.
Out of 611 nominations, Blissed Out Yoga and Sweet Lavations are semi-finalists in the categories – community impact and youth entrepreneur. Owner of Sweet Lavations, Alaina Lipsett, started her skincare company three years ago as a stay-at-home mom.
“It was a way for me to do something different than just be a stay-at-home mom,” said Lipsett who now works full-time at Fischer Place in 100 Mile House. “Sweet Lavations is my side full-time job. When I come home, I work on Sweet Lavations.”
Lipsett’s products are all handmade – soaps, bath bombs, face masks and more.
“We try to source as many local ingredients as possible,” said Lipsett. “It never was so much about making money, but about the community. The more I got into it, the more I realized I can control what I put into the products.”
Lipsett was shocked after learning she made it into the youth entrepreneurs category.
“I feel like a little old Cariboo gal whose making things,” said Lipsett. “It’s an honour to be thought of like this.”
Semi-finalists from each category will have less than a month to provide a panel of judges a detailed appeal outlining why they deserve to win the award.
“For every top 10 finalists, we will send them an extended application,” said Kelsey Malden, communications coordinator at Small Business BC. “For example, if a business was nominated in the best marketing category, they would be required to submit a campaign that they were really proud of.”
Malden said to have two local businesses in the top 10 out of 70 small communities across B.C. is a representation of the support a community can have.
“It was exciting when we saw that two small businesses from 108 Mile Ranch and 100 Mile House had made that rank,” said Malden.
Owner of Blissed Out Yoga, Karen Peterson said she was thrilled to be nominated.
“I was thrilled just to be nominated and then to find out I had made it into the top 10, it was incredible,” said Peterson.
Before her studio, Peterson spent five months teaching free yoga classes to the community.
“Nobody really knew me here,” said Peterson. “Offering those classes helped me establish relationships with the community. The people got to know me and the practice.”
Peterson has since established a studio space and a regular following.
Small business winners will receive a prize of $1,500, a one-year all-access pass to Small Business BC education and experts and the title of a top B.C. small business.
Peterson is hoping to open a studio from the ground up. She said the education component of the prize will be beneficial in helping her achieve that goal.
“All I want to do is to be able to serve the community,” said Peterson. “If I won, I would be humbled. This opportunity will help me achieve my goals that much further. This would be huge for our town, to be recognized like that.”
Two other South Cariboo businesses were also nominated. Cariboo Floor Design Ltd. was nominated for Best Marketer and Hammer Collision and Glass for Best Company.
The winners will be announced at the gala at the Vancouver Convention Centre on Feb. 21.