While entrepreneurship can often feel like a plunge, with business owners needing to drop everything to focus on their new business, a returning program by Community Futures Nicola Valley (CFNV) looks to give local entrepreneurs a chance to dip their toe in the water. 

Fresh Finds is a program by CFNV that offers individuals interested in growing their own business a chance to trial their product or service through the Nicola Valley Farmers Market, along with a plethora of business counselling and resources. CFNV said that the program is truly a ‘celebration of community,’ touting its past successes in both business and building connections.

“It’s kind of an incubator program, that’s what we refer to these as,” said Joe Nemeth, loans officer for CFNV. “There are people at home who have something entrepreneurial that they do, they make something, they provide a service, they bake, whatever the case may be, and there are barriers for those people to start making an income from that.”

Nemeth added that the farmers market as a concept reduces barriers on its own by offering a space to sell products and build clientele without the need for a brick and mortar location, but purchasing a tent and table, paying market fees, and knowing what steps to take are barriers of their own. CFNV looks to reduce those barriers by offering local entrepreneurs a table, tent, and spot at two farmers markets during the season completely free of charge.

The program has yielded strong results in previous years, with an approximate 40 percent of Fresh Finds participants going on to become vendors at the farmers market on a more permanent basis. 

“Last year, we had a kid come in, and he was doing wood carvings and things from offcuts from his dad’s woodshop, and he was doing a fantastic job, he could barely stay in stock, so that one really stood out to me,” added Nemeth.

“We fully book almost every year, which works out to be something to the tune of a dozen or more vendors. Every single one, I’m always impressed with the creativity and the [work] ethic that they put into having a good presentation, for just those two weeks even.” 

For more information on Fresh Finds, call CFNV at 250-378-3923, or email [email protected].