The Okanagan Valley has a growing reputation for its entrepreneurial ecosystem. One of the hidden undercurrents is a growing cohort of social entrepreneurs. These people are using non-traditional organization models and business models to help achieve community, social, or environmental objectives. They can be for profit or non-for-profit, but a majority of the profits must be directed to achieving social objectives.

Here in BC, the number of ventures with a social or environmental mission has increased 35% over five years (2015). Here’s a quick look at six local social enterprises who will be sharing their stories at ChangeUP: Presented by Valley First on February 28, 2019.


Trellis Social Enterprise Inc.

Trellis is an event management web platform for charities and non-profits to create, manage and grow their events and campaigns. Trellis is uniquely positioned to offer both the back-end functionality required by today’s charitable organizations and an easy-to-use interface for ticket purchasers and donors. Trellis is the event platform for good and is commonly talked about as the Eventbrite for charities.

Trellis was formed around the mission to increase impact within our communities. They believe that people are inherently good, and equipped with the right tools, can be a force for change. They are passionate about empowering individuals, charities and nonprofits with easy-to-use and impact focused technology to events and community initiatives.

Started in 2018, Trellis is a for profit social enterprise.


Kelowna Women’s Shelter

The Kelowna Women’s Shelter is a non profit organization that offers free emergency and transitional housing, counselling support, advocacy, and preventive education services to women and their children fleeing violence. Their social enterprise Thrift Store sells donated goods (including clothing, shoes, and accessories, household goods and decor items) at affordable prices in order to raise money to support services provided by the Shelter.

At Kelowna Women’s Shelter their mission to end abuse and build hope drives all that they do. The Thrift Store exists purely to serve that goal, which means any financial success translates immediately into more support for the women and children in their care.

Started in 2003, The Kelowna Women’s Shelter Thrift Store is a registered charity.


Current Taxi

Current Taxi is British Columbia’s first all-electric taxi fleet owned and operated locally in Kelowna with an aim to provide luxury car service using environmentally friendly Teslas. They are committed to guiding the taxi industry towards a much more economical and environmentally responsible future. They offer premium service and charge customers the exact same price as the competition. To date, Current Taxi’s fleet has saved over 350,000 lbs of CO2 emissions from the environment.

Started in 2016, Current Taxi is a for profit social enterprise.


Seed and Sparrow

Seed and Sparrow designs biologically rich and resilient ecologies that are functional, beautiful, and meaningful to our community. Their work might be considered unconventional, yet it implements the best practices of their profession and other related fields.

With a considered and thoughtful approach, Seed and Sparrow uses design as a powerful tool – one that supports a rich human experience (beauty, enjoyment, inspiration), while supporting ecological health and abundance.

Started in 2018, Seed and Sparrow is a for profit social enterprise.


Healthy Essentials Clinic

50% of Canadians will deal with a mental health problem or illness by the time they turn 40. This is one of those problems that feels like it’s moving backwards not forwards. Christina, a Counsellor and Dietitian, has implemented a family centred care model with a nearly 100% return to work and return to school rate with her clients and an almost 100% reduction in hospital visits in 2017 and 2018; this is unheard of in the medical community. This multi-disciplinary approach brings in multiple practitioners to support recovery of the client and their family; it’s being recommended by health authorities. They also use their business model to support people with financial barriers to participate on their program.

Healthy Essentials Clinic is expanding in Lake Country to bring diverse practitioners under one roof and vastly increase the number of people who can benefit from the program. 

Started in 2014, Healthy Essentials Clinic is a for profit social enterprise.


New Vintage Theatre

New Vintage Theatre is a not for profit, professional theatre company that produces new and innovative works, provides training for artists of all ages, and accessible theatre experiences for the community. They also produce an artist centred international pop culture festival every March called Kelowna Fan Experience (KFX). New Vintage Theatre believes theatre should be accessible, engaging and exciting for all.

Started in 2013, New Vintage Theatre is a registered charity.


On February 28th these six social enterprises will be sharing their stories and solutions to our toughest community, social, and environmental challenges at the next ChangeUP: Presented by Valley First. Tickets to the event available here.

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