Time to Shine
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 email@example.com / @Bcbusiness