Time to Shine

BC Business Magazine - - Oyen Wiggs -

Ever done some­thing for so long you start tak­ing it for granted? We’ll never make that mis­take with EY En­tre­pre­neur Of The Year. EOY’S Pa­cific Re­gion pro­gram is now a quar­ter-cen­tury old, and from the start, Bcbusi­ness has joined forces with Ernst & Young each year to present the win­ners (p.31). We hope to have the hon­our of cel­e­brat­ing B.C.’S top en­trepreneurs for decades to come.

“The pro­gram has be­come a mir­ror im­age of the province and how it’s de­vel­oped over the last 25 years,” says Lui Petrollini, EOY pro­gram di­rec­tor for the Pa­cific Re­gion. For ex­am­ple, the EY as­sur­ance part­ner notes, in some years there was no min­ing cat­e­gory as that in­dus­try weath­ered a down­turn. Now min­ing is back in and tech­nol­ogy cat­e­gories have mul­ti­plied, a sign of B.C.’S grow­ing eco­nomic di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion.

Petrollini says his EY col­leagues else­where of­ten ask him how the Pa­cific Re­gion pro­gram puts on one of the largest EOY galas in 145 cities world­wide, typ­i­cally draw­ing about 1,300 guests. “It’s not about EY; it’s about the province,” he reck­ons. “En­trepreneurs sup­port­ing en­trepreneurs —I think that’s what has led to our suc­cess.”

As Petrollini looks ahead to EOY’S next 25 years, what mes­sage does he have for B.C. busi­ness own­ers? “We need to sup­port women en­trepreneurs bet­ter,” he says. “We will have more suc­cess sto­ries com­ing from fe­male en­trepreneurs, prob­a­bly com­ing from younger en­trepreneurs as well.” How­ever, he won­ders if B.C. may need to cre­ate an in­cen­tive for the lat­ter group to stay here, given high hous­ing and other liv­ing costs.

Point­ing to the province’s short­age of ma­jor home­grown com­pa­nies, Petrollini has one more wish for the next quar­ter­century. “What I would love to see in the fu­ture is en­trepreneurs grow­ing their busi­nesses and con­tin­u­ing to grow them and keep them as Bri­tish Columbia busi­nesses,” he says, “as op­posed to sell­ing out when they see a de­cent-sized val­u­a­tion.”

The high cost of liv­ing also plays a cen­tral role in “Split De­ci­sion” (p.23), Frances Bula’s il­lu­mi­nat­ing guide to this month’s Van­cou­ver elec­tion. If the EOY judges had their work cut out for them, vot­ers in B.C.’S largest city face an equally tough choice. A dizzy­ing num­ber and va­ri­ety of may­oral and coun­cil can­di­dates of­fer po­ten­tial so­lu­tions to the hous­ing cri­sis, which has made Van­cou­ver un­af­ford­able for res­i­dents and busi­nesses alike.

What­ever the out­come of the civic vote, the new city coun­cil will have to con­front that prob­lem, for bet­ter or worse. It will also in­flu­ence how Van­cou­ver—and, to some ex­tent, the rest of the province—does busi­ness. Some­thing tells me we don’t have 25 years to fix hous­ing.

Nick Rockel, Edi­tor-in-chief bcb@canadaw­ide.com / @Bcbusi­ness

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