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Growing Community and Partnerships with New Shared Office Space in West Kelowna

Since Big Bear Software’s inception, we’ve been committed to the community. This commitment has allowed us to comprehend the needs in the areas in which we operate, which has, in turn, enabled us to solve relevant business problems with the use of technology. 


This community-minded focus has played a big part in facilitating Big Bear’s rapid growth in the past two years. As our presence has expanded in Penticton, Kelowna, and Calgary, our team has been mindful of bridging the gap between staff who are spread out in a broad geographical region. 


Our efforts to build community externally in our local areas as well as internally, in our organization, are fundamental reasons why we are establishing a shared professional office space located centrally at 1979 Old Okanagan Highway in Westbank. However, there are additional benefits that we hope will bring value, as well. 


Promoting collaboration and hard work


An important distinction to make is the difference between a co-working space and a shared office space. 


Co-working spaces allow people to rent individual desks in a shared workspace that often includes WiFi and other amenities. These spaces can be a great alternative to working from home, especially for freelancers, contractors, and remote employees. However, although people collaborate and network, they are mainly working independently and at different levels of intensity. People often come and go, which can make fostering a sense of community a challenge. 


Shared office spaces, on the other hand, allow businesses to rent sections of space, typically organized by tables or groups of desks. This model allows for flexibility for business owners who have employees that work remotely from time to time or who see their staff numbers fluctuate as they grow. Renting to small business owners and their small teams promotes an atmosphere of hard-work while still fostering an environment of diversity and collaboration.


Penticton had a strong presence in the Canada-wide Smart Cities Challenge, a county-wide competition to solve local city problems using technology, because of the ideas generated from a shared professional workspace. The Big Bear team collaborated with people in marketing, land development, branding, sculpting, engineering, public relations, and software development to generate solutions that would have never been possible without that environment. In short, professional collaborative workspaces promote community organically while also promoting hard work.


Bridging the south and central Okanagan


Although Big Bear Software has worked with clients from all over North America, it has been known in the Okanagan as the tech company from Penticton. As we continue to grow, this new office allows us to establish a presence further north and opens new opportunities for partnership. The building is a bright, open space with panoramic views located 10 minutes from downtown Kelowna. It provides a centrally located hub to host meetings and meet with clients, thereby supporting our goal of serving more of the Okanagan. 


Additionally, the Okanagan continues to grow. West Kelowna now has a population of 45,000 people with over 1500 remote workers. Yet until now, there has been no collaborative work environment or shared event and meeting space. This space is more than just a shared workplace. It’s a location for people to come together and host events of their own beyond just technology so they can better serve their audiences in ways that matter. 


And as the Kelowna core continues to densify, a spacious office space minutes from downtown with free, abundant parking will provide a viable alternative to people working north of the bridge as well. 


Furthermore, many large companies have numerous west Kelowna employees and clients who are currently traveling to Kelowna daily to conduct business and host meetings. This new space has two boardrooms designated as shared meeting spots that can be booked in advance an unlimited number of times per month.


Growing community with ripple effects into Calgary


Our organization of community endeavors, like the Penticton Tech Brew, the Penticton Smart Cities Challenge, and the resurgence of Shatford Centre has helped us get the ball rolling on the growing community in the Okanagan. Working off of these connections and this momentum makes creating a shared workspace in the Okanagan natural. But these combined efforts also illustrate to our Calgary market that our values lie beyond profits as well. And as employees continue to value well-being more and more, not just for themselves, but for the world in which they live in, becoming more mindful of bettering our communities helps attract like-minded team members as well. 


Honoring our late landlord 


One of the most critical aspects of creating this new space lies in honoring our late landlord, Noll Derriksan, who, before his passing, chose us to occupy this space. 

Noll Derriksan was an extremely innovative thinker, artist, and former Grand Chief of the Westbank First Nation who worked tirelessly to improve indigenous peoples’ rights in the Okanagan and beyond. It is our goal to use the space for more than building software, but to use it to help create community, to bring people together to do good for the benefit of us all. 


If you’d like to check out the space, we’d love to see you! We’re hosting an Open House, Friday, March 6th.

And if you’re interested in learning more about renting space, feel free to contact us anytime.