As the year comes to a close, it’s time for some reflection on the changes and achievements of the last 12 months, and anticipating what’s ahead for 2019. Penticton continues to attract entrepreneurs looking for business opportunities combined with an “Okanagan lifestyle” of year round outdoor activities, a growing and diverse culinary and cultural scene, and much more.

It was a year of discovery and ambition for new businesses and for citizens who were challenged to improve the community. Pentictonites know this is a great place to live, work, and play. Many businesses began after an entrepreneur visited the city and decided that a move to the Okanagan should be planned, and many then choose Penticton as their home base.

And there is an emerging community of remote workers. What’s a remote worker? Someone who chooses to live here, but work elsewhere. Think of this as a new term for “telecommuters”. Many of these businesses are in high tech or digital industries. A web designer, coder, or freelance writer has all of the tools they need to do their work in a home office or collaborative workspace, and connect with their team anywhere in the world online.

These “digital nomads” who can work from anywhere, so why not Penticton? Predictions are that by 2025, 30 percent of workers in North America will be virtual. Penticton offers the technology they need, from high speed networks to support services and co-working, and research also shows that in Canada, these workers are interested in smaller communities with and access to all-year outdoor recreation. Penticton offers beaches, trails, rock-climbing skiing, numerous world-class sports events.

Some say the Okanagan is “Napa North”, with a tip to the wine industry, but it’s also called “Silicon Valley North” with a nod to tech. And that sector is growing across the valley.

In Penticton, we know we’re all in this together, and can look ahead to enhancing our collective vision to build innovative ideas and economies as a team. The spirit of volunteerism thrives, from those who serve on charitable boards, sit on municipal committees, or give their time to the many events and festivals in the region.

And as 2019 begins, so does the anticipation and excitement for a prosperous year to come, undoubtedly bringing more change, challenges, and endless opportunities.

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