August 21, 2019 – Today, United Way Southern Interior BC (SIBC), in partnership with Interior Savings Credit Union and the Community Foundations of the North and South Okanagan, announces the four recipients of the second year of their Social Enterprise Accelerator Program. The fund grew this year due to increasingly innovative strategies from prominent funders in the valley, to invest in charities that have both a clear mission AND a product or service that they can sell.


  • BrainTrust Canada based out of Kelowna & Vernon
  • Naramata Centre in the South Okanagan
  • IndigenEYEZ program operating across the region
  • Operation Take Two based at Rutland Senior Secondary School in Kelowna

All four organizations have secured funding designed to help them build long-term sustainable revenue for their social enterprise programs.

“This collaborative fund is about supporting the capacity and long term sustainability of charities in our region, a goal we all share,” says Jude Brunt, Community Investment Manager with United Way SIBC. “This is year two of a fund that is ground breaking in our region. It’s something we hope to repeat in future years as we learn how this kind of smart investment can spark the growth of new social businesses, and have positive impact on their missions at the same time.”

While charities and non-profits traditionally rely on three core sources of revenue: government funding, philanthropy, and earned income, it is only their earned income that offers any prospect for long-term growth & sustainability. The Okanagan Valley has an entrepreneurial culture that is ripe for growth of mission-based ventures, which now earn more than $500 million annually in BC and provide 13,000 paid jobs across the province. The valley wide impact of the newly merged United Way Southern Interior BC and its co-funders has enabled a partnership to grow across Kelowna, Vernon and Penticton which will see sharing of Social Enterprise ideas & successes for the benefit of the wider community.

To apply, charities needed a well-formed social enterprise idea – one that, with the right support, could grow to deliver both economic and social outcomes. Applicant charities submitted their proposals in the Spring and were invited to present their social enterprise at a Dragon’s Den style pitch night to an independent selection panel that scrutinized potential social impact, sustainability, ability to scale, and leadership.

All four selected will receive a year of mentorship through Purppl’s Scale Up social enterprise acceleration program. The program enables recipients to work with Purppl who will team these social enterprises with experienced “Entrepreneurs in Residence” to help them refine and scale their business model. Entrepreneurs in Residence are an increasingly beneficial resource in the Okanagan where a wealth of skilled professionals with diverse business and organizational backgrounds bring a balance of experience and coaching, while also helping to hold each social enterprise accountable to moving forward.


Amongst its many services, BrainTrust offers concussion clinics and other services for sports groups and anyone involved in high risk activity. Their services span both prevention and treatment of brain injuries as well as longer term counselling for those whose lives have been significantly impacted by concussion and other acquired brain injury.  For more info:


Operation Take Two

Figure2 : Operation Take Two Students in action at Rutland Senior Secondary School. Keneisha Charles (front), Theresa Schwab, Kaitlyn Peverly, and Aaliyah Charles

Operation Take Two, based out of Rutland Senior Secondary School, is looking to build its innovative school based recycling facility & retail sales program to use as an education tool to teach students science and business based skills. Their goal is to potentially franchise the concept out to other schools across the Okanagan and even beyond.  For more info:

Naramata Centre

Figure 3: Naramata Centre in the South Okanagan will increase the business reach of its wide range of programs for intergenerational connection and well being, including circus camps.

The Naramata Centre is a spiritual retreat and education centre. Through its programming and community activities Naramata Centre provides people with the opportunity to have fun, experience personal growth and connect in a safe, accepting and inclusive space. For more info:

“The mentorship provided by Purppl will help Naramata Centre realize its full potential,” says Charmaine Pearce Manager of Programs and Community Experiences. “It will enable us to evolve our existing business model, increase mission driven opportunities while building a regionally-significant intergenerational education and wellness centre for the spiritual well-being of our wider community.”


Figure 4: IndigenEYEZ works with Indigenous & Non-Indigenous youth and adults to promote cultural awareness and community and workplace well being.

“This grant will enable IndigenEYEZ to leverage the skills and collateral we already hold to increase our reach into the non-indigenous business sector, and become a more sustainable organization in a world that needs cultural awareness more than ever ,” says IndigenEYEZ Founder Kelly Terbasket. “Our summer camp program aims to get more young people into the outdoors, sharing their cultures & contributing to their mental and physical well-being. Teaching businesses about cultural awareness will generate income to subsidize our programs for youth. Our mission is to inspire an intergenerational legacy of well-being among First Nations & non-indigenous people in BC and beyond.”

More information on the Social Enterprise Accelerator Fund is available online at:


About United Way SIBC:

For almost 70 years, the United Way of the Southern Interior BC has served the region from Lake Country in the North, to Osoyoos and Princeton in the South, and since April 2019 also the North Okanagan, Columbia & Shuswap Regions. Our mission is to improve lives and build community by engaging individuals and mobilizing collective action. The United Way invests in three focus areas that support all that kids can be, move people from poverty to possibility and builds strong communities. We also invest resources in local capacity building and community initiatives that support our mission. See

About Interior Savings

Interior Savings is a member-owned, democratically-controlled credit union dedicated to creating local money while helping to build vibrant communities. The Credit Union offers personal and commercial banking and a full range of insurance and wealth management services to more than 70,000 members across 14 communities. In the last 16 years, Interior Savings has returned $59 million to members through its Member Rewards Program and invested nearly $8 million in support of community programs.


About The Community Foundation of the North Okanagan

The Board of Directors of CFNO is proud of the impact the Foundation has had on our North Okanagan communities. Successful investment of the capital assets has allowed the Foundation to distribute income in excess of $7.5 million over the past 40+ years. 

 About The Community Foundation of the South Okanagan

The Community Foundation of the South Okanagan |Similkameen is a living legacy firmly rooted in the communities it serves. Since its inception, over 110 Funds have been established, the value of which currently exceeds $10 million. Over $400 thousand is now granted annually, enriching the quality of life by supporting a broad range of charitable agencies & strategic investment initiatives, whose programs encompass a wide variety of programs that meet evolving needs and opportunities. 

About Purppl

Purppl accelerates ideas, projects, and enterprises that work for the public good. Purppl helps social entrepreneurs build sustainable revenue models and impact models. The Scale Up program pairs leadership teams with entrepreneurs-in-residence who backstop the team with tactical, functional expertise to accelerate success. Purppl is incorporated as a Community Contribution Company (CCC), which is BC’s unique incorporation model for social enterprises. See

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Okanagan Edge – Programs win accelerator fund