VERNON, BC—”Did you know the average woman eats four to nine pounds of lipstick in her lifetime?”
From her opening line during the 2022 Enterprize Challenge finale at the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre April 27 to the moment she was declared the first-place winner, Olive Butler of Conspiracy Cosmetics impressed the live audience and panel of volunteer judges with her thorough business pitch.
“I’m really surprised and thrilled,” says Butler. “I think it’s going to take a bit for it to fully sink in, but I’m so happy.”
Butler takes home more than $20,000 in prizes, including $5,000 in start-up capital, free business banking for one year, a legal package, marketing and web packages and more.
“I’m going to use the capital on packaging for my product so I can have a more polished-looking product,” says Butler. “I’m really looking forward to all of the support that comes from this Challenge.”
With the help of mentor Teresa Sanders, owner of FILL-Vernon’s Refill Store and the 2019 Enterprize Challenge victor, Butler refined her business plan for Conspiracy Cosmetics—a makeup brand that sells natural, low waste, vegan cosmetics with minimal and compostable packaging.
With an online store that connects customers with cosmetics no matter where they live and partnerships with local storefronts throughout the Okanagan, Butler is focused on growing her business and team with the support of the Enterprize Challenge and Community Futures.
Presented by VantageOne Credit Union, the 2022 Enterprize Challenge welcomed 28 participants and saw seven competitors present their final pitches to volunteer judges from VantageOne Credit Union, Sproing Creative, Nixon Wenger LLP, Wayside, and BDO Canada LLP.
With a plan to create a natural fertilizer by, “Turning a waste into a want,” Waste Not Wool’s Leanna Maksymik took home the People’s Choice Award sponsored by Sproing Creative.
In second place, Sean Ling-Allen of Centred Pilates leaves the Enterprize Challenge finale with nearly $10,000 in prizes. Third place, with a package valued at $6,000, went to James Stuart and Uplift Aero Greens.
“A common theme tonight is a care and concern for the environment,” says Beach Radio’s Rebecca Barton, emcee. “The Enterprize Challenge is about creating opportunity for North Okanagan businesses to start off on the right foot. They’ve all worked so hard on these pitches and should be proud to be up here tonight.”
The seven final pitch participants include:
Louis Saitowitz, Okanagan Foothills Poultry
Olive Butler, Conspiracy Cosmetics
Sean Ling-Allen, Centred Pilates Studio
Stephlynne Wilbrink, Wildflower General Store
Leanna Maksymik, Waste Not Wool
Adrianna Stange, Townships and Tales
James Stuart, Uplift Aero Greens
Wednesday’s finale marked the return of the Enterprize Challenge’s in-person pitching after a cancelled challenge in 2020 and a virtual event in 2021.
“The last two years have really been about flexibility and seeking new opportunities,” says Kazia Mullin, business services manager, Community Futures North Okanagan. “These seven finalists are great examples of entrepreneurs who have a dream, see possibility and understand that there are new opportunities in the market.”