Cowichan Valley firms Small Business BC finalists

Cowichan Energy Alternatives is being recognized for its work encouraging people to adopt sustainable-energy practices

Cowichan Energy Alternatives is being recognized for its work encouraging people to adopt sustainable-energy practices and technologies.

The organization has been named as one of 10 finalists in two categories for the 14th Annual Small Business BC Awards.

The two categories are the Best Community Impact and the Premier’s People’s Choice.

Another Duncan business, Country Chic Paint Ltd., has been named a finalist in the Best Immigrant Entrepreneur category.

With almost 700 nominations received for awards from across the province this year, getting chosen as finalists is considered an honour by many in B.C.’s large business community.

Brian Robert, executive director of the CEA, said it’s the first time the organization has ever been nominated for an award, much less two.

“It’s all good for us because much of the work we do is being done under the radar, and it’s really only local businesses and governments that know what we’re doing,” he said.

“One of our biggest challenges is getting people to recognize the benefits on the local economy and the environment by switching to sustainable-energy practices, so it’s good to get the word out there.”

Founded in 2008, the CEA’s first project was a bio-diesel production and distribution facility at Bing’s Creek, in partnership with the Cowichan Bio-Diesel Co-op and the Cowichan Valley Regional District.

The CEA has also been involved in solar energy projects and is exploring new projects in other alternative energies.

The Small Business BC Awards is the largest small business awards competition in the province.

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

This year, 699 nominations were received from 72 communities across the province.

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

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

Robert.Barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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