'Futurebiz' runs at Lakeside

The City of Penticton is hosting its first annual “Futurebiz” convention today at the Lakeside Resort.

The sold-out event has attracted delegates from across the Okanagan and around B.C., aiming to provide the business community with more information about the local economy.

Director of development services Anthony Haddad said when they were rewriting their new strategic plan for the city’s economic development department, local businesses voiced a desire for more intelligence on what can be expected down the road. 

Speakers included economists, futurists, leadership coaches and more.

The event opened with a panel featuring Haddad, economic development officer Jennifer Vincent, and Penticton Indian Band Development Corporation CEO Johnathan Baynes.

“Now a diverse and growing economy, we are seeing the lowest rates of commercial vacancy of the first floor of our downtown in years,” Vincent said, painting a rosy picture of the economy by crediting the bedrock industries of agriculture, tourism and manufacturing.

She said the city is now the primary trade centre for 150,000 people in the South Okanagan and Similkameen.

Vincent said modern economic development is no longer about “smokestack chasing” — pursuing large single employers — and instead should focus inward on growing existing business.

With attendance of over 175 people, Haddad said they plan on turning “Futurebiz Pennticton” into an annual event.

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