Really Good Wood

Geometrik 1

Trevor Nichols - 11:30 am - Biz Profiles,

In a nondescript, industrial building in West Kelowna a pair of immigrants have built an internationally recognized company.

Geometrik Owners Vladimir and Natasha Bolshakov might not be that well known in the Okanagan “but whomever is involved in commercial construction, they are very much aware of the Geometric brand,” Vladimir says.

Sitting at a board table with his back straight and his hands folded, Vladamir is imposing but not threatening.

He and his wife Natasha immigrated to Canada in the early 2000s and his speech is still coloured by a Russian accent.

When the couple bought Geometrik in 2006 it was a small company making children’s furniture – but they knew exactly where they wanted to take it.

They both had years of experience manufacturing wood acoustic panelling, and they set about creating a brand new product.

“Me and my business partner, my best friend and my wife, we worked together in this industry since our graduation from university,” Valdamir says. “It’s now going to be 26 years since we got sucked into the manufacturing of wood acoustical ceilings and walls. All our life is here, it’s just that.”

Acoustic panelling is used in large spaces like hallways and auditoriums to dampen sound and create a more pleasant acoustic environment.

There are scores of products that can do that, but Vladamir says Geometrik’s wooden panelling is more “aesthetically intense,” appealing in buildings that want to “wow” visitors.

Starting out with just three employees, Vladimir and Natasha now employ about 30, and their product is used all over the world.

One of the big reasons for their success, Vladimir says, is the Okanagan’s unique climate, which is ideal for woodworking.

“I would probably have a hard time finding a place that’s better for woodworking industries,” he says, pointing to the regions ideal temperature and humidify, which allow them to work easily with climate-sensitive wood.

The crazy part, Vladamir admits, is that they weren’t even aware of that when they came here. Their decision to stay was based on the beauty of the region.

“We just arrived and it was a total wow effect,” he says.“It takes probably about 10 seconds to make the decision we are staying.”

Now, Vladamir says, the products from the business they built are all over the region, the country and the world.

But of everywhere Geometrik panels are found, Vladamir says Toronto’s Pearson International Airport is the most meaningful to him.

“This is our first step in Canada,” he says. He leans forward slightly and opens his hands. A smile creeps onto his face. “This is where we immigrated and now we are happy to provide them with acoustical ceilings, so it’s very emotional.”

He leans back, his smile widening.

“This is where we came, just hopeful for the future, hopeful for the product … and this is us now.”

“This is the beauty of our business. It’s not just a block of wood with a bunch of holes, there’s a storyline for almost everybody,” he says.

“We kind of hoped that we could make it when we left our shores and made it over here, and I think we are the proof that if somebody believes hard and works hard it is possible. Anything is possible, especially in Canada.”

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Pitch the Dragons

 nooks dragons den kelowna

David Wylie - Feb 16, 2017 

Calling all aspiring entrepreneurs – or at least those who dare to face the dragons.

Dragon's Den is holding its 2017 auditions, and Kelowna is on the list of locations where the show will be scouting for those who deserve an investment.

"The audition tour welcomes participants of all ages, with businesses at any stage of development," says a statement.

"Hopeful entrepreneurs should prepare to pitch their concept to the Dragons’ Den producers in five minutes or less. If they show the producers they have what it takes to pitch in the Den, they could be invited to Toronto to face the Dragons."

Auditions will be held in Kelowna on March 9 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Okanagan's College's Kelowna campus on KLO Road in the Centre For Learning - E building.

This is the show's 12th season.

Last season, a Kelowna company landed an investment on the show.

Nooks Design asked for a $100,000 investment in exchange for 15 per cent of the company. They had four dragons interested in investing, but settled on Manjit Minhas, who offered the money for a six per cent royalty instead of equity in the company.

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Community Futures Announces Business Development Bursary

CFDC logo

Community Futures Central Okanagan is pleased to announce that a Business Development Bursary has been launched in the Central Okanagan as a result of a generous donation received from Kelowna Jaycees on behalf of Rene Bourgault, a young entrepreneur who passed away suddenly in 2015.

Recipients of the bursary will receive business assessment, counseling, training and funding support for their new business.

“It is the intent of this bursary to support young entrepreneurs who might not normally be able to get support for their new business” states General Manager Larry Widmer. “Rene was a passionate young entrepreneur who struggled to get support for his new business when he was starting out so it is appropriate that this bursary will go to those that need it and deserve it most” explains Widmer. “We have a lot of valuable resources that will be made available to the recipients of this bursary that will greatly improve their chances of success”.

Community Futures Central Okanagan is a community based not for profit corporation that was established in 1990 that contributes to the social and economic well being of the Central Okanagan by providing small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs access to services tailored to their individual needs. From financing to training programs, Community Futures is a full support centre for new and existing businesses.

For more information, please contact:
Larry Widmer, CMC
General Manager
Ph. 250-868-2132 ext. 223
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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Okanagan Top 5 Finalists for Small Business BC Awards Announced

Congratulations to these Central Okanagan businesses on making it to the finals for the Small Business BC Awards!

  • Rambow Mechanical Ltd. - Best Apprentice Training
  • Infuse I.T. | VinStream - Best Concept
  • Central Kitchen - Bar - Best Employer
  • Mazu - Best Innovation
  • Two Hat Security - Best Innovation

This year, 699 nominations from 72 communities across the province and over 32,000 votes were received.

These awards recognize the outstanding achievements of British Columbia's entrepreneurs and celebrate the contributions new and existing businesses registered in B.C., with fewer than 50 employees, make to their local communities and the global economy.

These outstanding businesses will now face a Dragons' Den-style panel of business experts who will determine the winner in each category.

View press release

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Nooks get Dragon partner

- Castanet | Story: 182472 Nooks get Dragon partner link

Nooks Design have found a Dragon partner to work with.

The Kelowna company was featured on the CBC program Dragons' Den Wednesday night.

In the episode, taped back in May, Nooks Design asked for a $100,000 investment in exchange for 15 per cent of the company.

They had four dragons interested in investing, but settled on Manjit Minhas, who offered the money for a six per cent royalty instead of equity in the company.

Louis-Philippe Lavoie who, along his wife, Ruthy Penner, started the company four year ago, said he remains happy with the royalty deal.

"The royalty I think is going to work out in everybody's favour, because Manjit has a lot on her plate, and by no means is she interested in managing another business," said Lavoie.

"The royalty aspect is a good way for everyone to maximize benefits from the deal without having to involve too many people in the management of the company."

Seven months after the deal was struck, they are still negotiating the finalization of that deal.

There are times when a deal made on the program does not get completed.

Many businesses that appear in The Den get an initial bump after the show aired, whether they get a deal or not.

Lavoie said they have felt the "Dragon Effect."

"We've gained three new wholesale accounts overnight. We've had quite a few sales come through, and a lot of interest.

"More importantly, I think it re-established that we do intend on maintaining that cottage industry feel despite the volumes getting larger. Our plan is to remain true to our roots and true to the cause we originally created."

The entire pitch rarely makes it to air. Lavoie said the seven minute segment on the show was actually about 47 minutes in real time.

While much of the pitch didn't get to air, he said he was pleased with the way the episode was edited and produced.

Nooks Design, named after their oldest daughter Anouk, are shoes and clothing for children made out of pre-loved items.

Along with their success on the show, the company also agreed to participate in a commercial for Canada Post, one of the sponsors of the show.

The commercial will be filmed next week. The 30-second commercial will air on Dragon's Den next year, while a 90-second version will air on the website.

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Kelowna Businesses Nominated for Small Business BC Awards

Small Business BC, the province's premier resource for entrepreneurs, and the Insurance Bureau of Canada, opened nominations and voting for the 14th Annual Small Business BC Awards on October 1, 2016. Twenty-eight small businesses in Kelowna have been nominated:

  • Accelerate Okanagan – Best Community Impact
  • Allegria Homes Inc. – Best Concept
  • Brandnetic Studios – Best Marketer
  • Central Kitchen – Bar – Premier's People's Choice, Best Company and Best Employer
  • Cryo Care – Premier's People's Choice
  • Fermented Dining – Premier's People's Choice and Best Concept
  • Fun Bugs Indoor Playground – Best Community Impact
  • GreenStep – Best Community Impact
  • Infuse I.T. | VinStream – Best Concept
  • Kazuki Tomoda Photography – Premier's People's Choice
  • Lifeblood Marketing – Best Concept and Best Marketer
  • Mazu – Premier's People's Choice, Best Employer and Best Innovation
  • Mint Magazine – Premier's People's Choice and Best Concept
  • MOGA Moms – Best Community Impact and Best Concept
  • OGO Carshare Co-op – Best Community Impact
  • Okanagan Beauty Services – Premier's People's Choice and Best Concept
  • Okanagan co+Lab – Best Community Impact
  • Okanagan Mobile Hearing – Premier's People's Choice and Best Community Impact
  • Peter ZeGerman Street Food – Premier's People's Choice and Best Community Impact
  • Piscine Energetics – Best Community Impact and Best Innovation
  • Rambow Mechanical Ltd. – Best Apprentice Training, Best Company and Best Employer
  • Salted Brick – Premier's People's Choice
  • Scale My Life – Best Concept
  • Syilx Creations – Best Community Impact
  • Two Hat Security – Best Innovation
  • Vertical Edge Window Cleaning – Best Concept
  • Volinspire – Best Community Impact
  • Yeti Farm Creative (Bensay Innovative Inc.) – Best Company

The Small Business BC Awards is the largest small business awards competition in the province. These awards recognize the outstanding achievements of BC's entrepreneurs and celebrate the contributions new and existing businesses registered in BC, with fewer than 50 employees, make to their local communities and the global economy.
Nominations and voting close on November 30, 2016. Entrepreneurs are invited to nominate their businesses and the public is encouraged to nominate their favourite small businesses in any of this year's 10 categories:

    Presented by the Province of British Columbia

    Presented by ITA and Kwantlen Polytechnic University

    Presented by Vancity

    Presented by Sage

    Presented by Small Business BC

    Presented by TruShield Insurance

    Presented by Small Business BC

    Presented by BC Innovation Council

    Presented by UPS Canada

    Presented by Yellow Pages

Recipients of Small Business BC Awards are recognized with the Premier's Prize in the amount of $1,500 cash. The winners are also offered a one-year all-access pass to Small Business BC education, resources and experts, and one-on-one business mentorship opportunities with notable advisors from the award sponsors.

Nominated business owners are tasked with gaining as many votes as possible through social media, word of mouth, e-mail or any other means by November 30, 2016 to make it to the Top 10 in each category. The Top 10 will be announced as finalists on December 12, 2016.

The winners of each category will be announced at the Small Business BC Awards Ceremony on February 23, 2017 at the Pan Pacific Vancouver Hotel.

More details on the Small Business BC Awards can be found at
"The Small Business BC Awards are about celebrating the people who help make communities across the province thrive -- entrepreneurs. By creating jobs and making neighbourhoods flourish, small business owners are the backbone of B.C.'s growing and diverse economy." – Premier Christy Clark

"It's important to recognize small businesses for what they do for B.C. -- grow the economy, create jobs and, most importantly, be the heart and soul of B.C.'s communities. I invite all small businesses across B.C. to apply for the Small Business BC Awards, so that you can be celebrated for all your hard work, you deserve it." – Hon. Coralee Oakes, Minister of Small Business, Red Tape Reduction and Liquor Distribution, Province of British Columbia

"Small businesses are playing an increasingly vital role in the social well-being and health of small communities and the overall BC economy. Their efforts deserve the respect of all British Columbians and the Small Business BC Awards are the best way to celebrate and acknowledge their success and contribution." – George Hunter, CEO, Small Business BC

"IBC is proud to support small businesses in British Columbia and across Canada. Insurers and consumers know that when small businesses succeed it promotes job creation and economic growth. That is why Canada's insurance industry is committed to working with small business owners to make sure they have the protection and coverage they need to help them grow and prosper." – Bill Adams, Vice-President, Western and Pacific, IBC

"The BC Innovation Council recognizes that small and medium-sized enterprises have a significant impact on economic growth, jobs and innovation. They make up the majority of companies in our thriving technology sector. We're very proud to be presenting the Best Innovation Award in this year's Small Business BC Awards competition." – Shirley Vickers, President and CEO, BC Innovation Council

"BC's economy wouldn't be where it is today without the contributions of all the small businesses across the province. Hiring and training apprentices are integral pieces of growing and sustaining businesses of all sizes and strengthening BC's trades community. We are excited to recognize a champion employer with the Best Apprentice Training Award this year in partnership with Kwantlen Polytechnic University." – Gary Herman, CEO, Industry Training Authority

"At KPU, we work hand-in-hand every day with small businesses who support our students in a variety of ways, including co-ops, internships and experiential learning opportunities. We are pleased to partner with the ITA for these awards to honour those small businesses who support our apprentices by ensuring they receive on-the-job training that is such a critical component to their success in their chosen trades." – Salvador Ferreras, Ph.D., Provost and Vice-President Academic, Kwantlen Polytechnic University

"At Sage, we value the importance of supporting small business growth, because we understand just how integral it is to job creation and overall economic prosperity. We are excited to encourage recognition for entrepreneurs by sponsoring the Small Business BC Awards, and will continue to provide market-leading accounting, ERP, payment and payroll solutions that will help small businesses succeed in the province and across Canada." – Paul Struthers, Executive Vice President and Managing Director, Sage Canada

"TruShield is pleased to support and recognize the best of the BC small business community. Thanks to all nominees for being inspirational to future entrepreneurs." – Tony O'Brien, EVP, TruShield Insurance

"UPS Canada is proud to collaborate with Small Business BC in an effort to lead the way in building the already strong entrepreneurial presence in British Columbia. Together, we are advancing small business success and the 14th Annual Small Business BC Awards competition will help acknowledge those making a difference." – Paul Gaspar, Director of Small Business, UPS Canada

"Looking forward to recognizing all those entrepreneurs investing and creating an impact in our communities!" – Morgan Beall, Microfinance Program Manager, Vancity Community Investment

"Serving over 244,000 local Canadian businesses, Yellow Pages champions the neighbourhood economy by enabling local businesses and their consumers to connect, interact and build relationships. We are proud to be part of the Small Business BC Awards, acknowledging achievements of BC's entrepreneurs" – Sonny Magon, Senior Sales Manager, Yellow Pages

Media Contact:
Mark Blendheim
Communications Manager, Small Business BC
Direct: 604-775-5607
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

About Small Business BC
Small Business BC provides entrepreneurs with the information and guidance necessary to build a solid foundation for their business. Through a wide range of products, services, education and resources there's a piece that fits with every business. No matter what stage or what skill level, when an entrepreneur finds themselves asking "How do I...?" Small Business BC is the one to call.

About Insurance Bureau of Canada
Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is the national industry association representing Canada's private home, auto and business insurers. Its member companies make up 90% of the property and casualty (P&C) insurance market in Canada. For more than 50 years, IBC has worked with governments across the country to help make affordable home, auto and business insurance available for all Canadians. IBC supports the vision of consumers and governments trusting, valuing and supporting the private P&C insurance industry. It champions key issues and helps educate consumers on how best to protect their homes, cars, businesses and properties. P&C insurance touches the lives of nearly every Canadian and plays a critical role in keeping businesses safe and the Canadian economy strong. It employs more than 120,000 Canadians, pays $8.2 billion in taxes and has a total premium base of $49 billion.

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