Salmon Arm businesses adapt, innovate and grow in a tough year – Salmon Arm Observer


As the Salmon Arm Economic Development Society (SAEDS) team looks back on 2021, there is a deep admiration and respect for the dedicated companies that continue to contribute to our economic well-being.

Our local businesses have proven that they can adapt, innovate and grow in the most difficult situations. There is no doubt that our small businesses formed the basis for Salmon Arm’s 2021 ranking as the 6th most resilient city in the province, by BC Business.

This year marked the inaugural year of Salmon Arm’s Top 20 Under 40 program. Hosted by Serviss Wealth Management, in partnership with Value Partners Investment, BDO and Ian Gray’s Salmon Arm GM, SAEDS showcased the contributions of visionaries and innovators striving to create positive change. Learn more about these community builders at

In 2021, SAEDS also secured funding, developed and launched the Zest Commercial Food Hub in Salmon Arm. This ambitious project is an important addition to the agrifood sector of the Shuswap. Zest provides affordable shared-use commercial kitchen space in a supportive environment. This food hub is one of the few operating in the province, each designed to support British Columbia’s growing food processing sector. To learn more, visit

SAEDS also oversees the administration of the Salmon Arm municipal and regional tax program (two percent hotel tax). Given the challenges the hotel industry has faced throughout the pandemic, these funds are primarily intended for programming tourist attractions. The 2021 projects included improving the entrance and signage at Canoe Beach; installation of visitor kiosks in high-traffic areas; design, printing and distribution of Salmon Arm maps that highlight major tourist attractions; development of visitor attraction videos and related digital marketing campaigns; and, the creation of shared tools for attracting and hosting community events. Planning for the 2022 projects is now underway. Watch for the addition of brand new signage and new park signage coming soon to Salmon Arm!

As a participating community in the BC Regional Entrepreneurial Immigration Pilot Program, SAEDS continues to support experienced entrepreneurs who are ready to invest and actively run their business in Salmon Arm. This provincial program attracts new start-ups and related job creation in the target sectors of advanced manufacturing, computer systems design, science and engineering consulting services, and food processing.

Planning is now underway for the sixth season of the successful Shuswap Launch-a-Taker program. This collaborative initiative is organized by Enactus students from Okanagan College, the Salmon Arm Economic Development Society and Community Futures Shuswap. The aim of the program is to help individuals plan and successfully start their business in the Shuswap. Since its launch, dozens of new businesses and jobs have been created through this award-winning program. Stay tuned for registration information coming in the New Year!

The SAEDS Board of Directors, made up of leaders from each sector of our economy, completed its latest five-year economic action plan earlier this year. By working collaboratively with industry and the community, SAEDS has made it a firm goal to ensure that Salmon Arm continues to thrive as a small town with big ideas!

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