Our Business Programs


Export Navigator

This might be the year to start exporting—and the new Export Navigator advisor for the Thompson-Okanagan is providing free support along the way.

Successfully exporting overseas was once a possibility only for those who could travel across the globe to meet with potential partners in-person at trade shows. Now, with travel at a halt, and relationships and opportunities moving ahead online, exporting is a possibility for just about anyone with an exportable product or service.

“There has always been a huge potential with exporting, and now with the global economy, it’s a much more even playing field with opportunities worth exploring,” says Amber Piché, the new Export Navigator Advisor for the Thompson-Okanagan region. The Provincial Export Navigator program supports entrepreneurs with free advice from export specialists to help determine readiness and strategies for exporting successfully, from product development and marketing to financials, networking and logistics.

Piché, who grew up in West Kelowna, has a strong understanding of marketing for key Okanagan industries and experience running a business and doing business internationally. Her career began in three core sectors: tourism, hospitality and wine, with roles at Mission Hill Family Estate Winery, the Kelowna Museum Society, The Laurel Packinghouse Wine Museum and The Grand Okanagan Resort. Piché’s recent role in business development for an international corporate technology firm allowed her to travel the world, while making important contacts along the way. She says she is looking forward to putting her background to work to help business owners explore the possibilities of exporting.

“I’ve always enjoyed helping companies improve their business operations in the areas of marketing and business development, for example. I love seeing others realize their dreams and am grateful that I get to be part of the process,” says Piché, who will be supporting Export Navigator clients across the North Okanagan as well as Penticton, Summerland, Salmon Arm and Sicamous.

At a time when many business owners are looking at ways to overcome challenges and stay competitive, exporting could be the possibility entrepreneurs are looking for, offering a more diverse market, fostering innovation, and growing profitability through economies of scale.

Piché says it’s helpful to have an outside specialist to ask questions and help think beyond the day-to-day running of a business.

“Even inter-community exporting can feel like a big step when you’re first getting started, but it’s a great way to get your feet wet and see what’s possible. These small steps can build confidence in yourself, your business, and present the opportunities that further exports bring.”

Business owners considering exporting their products are encouraged to learn more and fill out an online application form at https://www.futuresbc.com/business/existing-businesses/export-navigator/.


BC Business Match

BC Business Match is a business transition service that connects business buyers, sellers and communities across BC. It's a Network 34 initiative from Community Futures designed for:


  • Business owners thinking of exiting their business

  • Business owners already in the process of trying to sell their business

  • Entrepreneurs looking to expand their business by acquiring another one

  • Anyone considering entrepreneurship

The program helps buyers find the right business for their skills, interests and needs, and helps business owners professionally prepare their businesses for sale. This is a full scope program with assistance available at every step of the way.

Buyers receive:

  • Tools and training to understand the business purchase process

  • Access to business listings & exclusive unlisted business opportunities

  • A custom Business Match Report of available opportunities

  • Ongoing professional business valuation & advisory services

  • Advice, support & business mediation during a business purchase

  • Connections to community resources & local business support


Sellers receive:

  • Exposure to buyers across western Canada and beyond

  • The option for a confidential business listing

  • Access to a pool of serious, qualified buyers

  • Assistance creating a comprehensive Sales Information Package for buyers

BC Business Match aims to sustain and grow the local economies of non-metropolitan BC communities, support business owners as they make their exit, and lead the way for new owners to set up shop and continue to offer the goods and services their communities need.

We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Province of British Columbia.




Entrepreneurs With Disabilities

Persons with disabilities may face unique barriers to business creation and development. In recognition of this, The Entrepreneurs with Disabilities Program (EDP) was established in 1997 through funding from Western Economic Diversification and the support of the Community Futures network.


At Community Futures, we see the business and the person’s ability first, then strive to provide extra support to entrepreneurs who are also managing disability and health issues. The goal of EDP is to increase access to business services and repayable financing to level the playing field for these entrepreneurs.

The EDP loans program, BizAble is available for people who self-declare a disability or health condition and who have completed a viable business plan. Business loans are repayable and through the EDP, loan terms are designed to be flexible and are tailored to meet your needs.


Through the EDP, specialized support and mentorship may be available for entrepreneurs in need of additional business skills training. This support is for people with disabilities who have a viable business concept and are in need of enhanced services to move their business forward.

Contact us for more information.



Community Futures Shuswap is proud to be a community partner of Futurpreneur Canada (formerly the Canadian Youth Business Foundation). Futurepreneur is a national charity providing pre-launch coaching, business resources, start-up financing and mentoring to help you start your own successful business. If you are between the age of 18-39 and have a business idea… they can help! You may be eligible to receive up to a total of $45,000 to launch your business. CYBF offers up to $15,000 in start-up financing and you could receive up to twice your approved CYBF amount through their partnership with the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC). CYBF’s world-class mentoring program matches you with a mentor who will coach and support you as you establish and grow your business.


Taking over an existing business?  They help with that too!  Applicants must meet the same criteria as start-up loan applicants and attain 51 per cent ownership of the company by the fifth year of operation.


For more information about this program or to apply for funding, please visit their website. When applying for assistance from CYBF, please be sure to mention that you were referred to them by Community Futures Shuswap.


Youth 4-H

We believe 4-H is a great way for children and youth to get involved in their communities and “Learn to do by Doing.” We have specialized loan programs to assist with the purchase and care of a marketable animal for a 4-H Beef or Swine project.


Applicant must be a member in good standing with a 4-H Club in the
Shuswap region.


Maximum of $2500 for Beef, $400 for Swine.


Application Process
Applicant and Parent/Guardian must complete an application form and Club Leader must confirm and sign the application form.


Repayment and Interest Rate
No payments are required during the term of the loan which is due by October 1 each year A 5% administration fee is charged on the outstanding balance each month, and the loan will be repaid when your animal is sold at the annual stock show and sale. The administration fee collected is donated back to the participating 4H club.


Promissory Note and Letter of Offer must be signed by the applicant and a Parent/Guardian.


For more information, please contact us. We'd love to hear from you.

Succession Planning

Advice & Support For "Generation Exit"

We all know that the “baby boomers” are getting older and starting to retire – and some of them are small business owners. We call these individuals “Generation Exit” – a whole generation of business owners wanting to exit the small business world. Are you one of these people?

In 2006 it was estimated that more than 40% of small business owners planned to leave their businesses in the next five years, and more than 70% within the next ten years. Yet up to 71% of these business owners didn’t have a plan on how to exit their business.

It is anticipated that over the next 20 years there will be many more businesses than there are owners and employees – resulting in the potential closure of many small businesses throughout the Shuswap. This will have an impact on employment, economic output, business formation and the availability of services in our region.

We at Community Futures Shuswap recognize the importance of succession planning – of the need for services and resources for business owners wanting to retire from their business.

For more information about the potential impacts of “Generation Exit” please contact us.

Venture Connect is a valuable resource for business owners who are ready to plan for the transition and selling of their business. They are the succession planning experts – find out more information at www.ventureconnect.ca.