On December 7, 2016, the Surrey Board of Trade and the Sheraton Vancouver Guildford Hotel hosted “Christmas in Paradise”, a Christmas Party and Trade show with a candy cane twist.
This free event raised funds and donations for the Surrey Food Bank and allowed business people and arts people, the movers and shakers and those who only jiggle, to business-network and party together.
600 business people from the City of Surrey and surrounding areas attended the best Business Christmas party of the year. If you like to meet business-minded people but hate networking, this is the event for you. It’s a Christmas party where you get to meet all the friends that you didn’t know you had in the business community.
Good parties start with good people, a great Christmas atmosphere, some nibbles, a glass of wine and some fun party music. Fusion Presents took care of the music, setting a perfect tone for a little dancing and yet soft enough that you could have a conversation easily. A little jazz, a little soul, a little fun, a little rock. This was a business card exchanging, laughing, dancing, eating and ho, ho, ho-ing good time and who doesn’t love that.
Participants wandered among the booths of exhibitors, wine in hand and smiles in place.
Surrey604 was there with Christmas bells on to ask the question, “What makes Surrey sizzle?”
Let’s see if you agree with these people or if you can come up with your own unique reason why you love this city?
According to Anita Huberman, CEO of the Surrey Board of Trade, Surrey sizzles because “For the past 20 years we have been hosting the Seasonal Sizzle Business Reception. It is an opportunity to thank Surrey’s Business community for their support and for investing in Surrey. The 600 people who attended this event are all excited about Surrey and what the future holds for us.
What makes Surrey sizzle is the collaboration between like minded people and the opportunities that are available in Surrey. It is about the industry, development, technology, health care, clean technology, manufacturing. It’s about small businesses.
Surrey is so vibrant. Surrey is going to be the largest city in B.C. in less then ten years. Everyone here tonight knows that and they are excited about the possibilities. The Surrey board of Trade will be 100 in two years. We are so excited about being part of Surreys business community.”
Surrey parties are just as diverse as Surrey itself. Business people of all types mix with the non-profit and arts communities, all working together. Getting along is something Surrey does so well.
Amarjeet Singh, the founder of NAAD, a music and arts foundation, thinks that the real sizzle comes from our multiculturalism.
“The name NAAD means the essence of all sounds or the cosmic sound of the universe. It is very inclusive, just like Surrey. Whenever you attend multicultural events in the city, you see everyone smiling. There is such a good positive energy.”
Surrey does have some serious challenges.
Real Estate Agent, Nasima Nastoh’s son lost his life to bullying in 2000. She founded the Anti-Bullying Coalition which attends local schools to talk about the serious effects of bullying and gives students information and tools to get involved in healthy positive interactions with one another. She deals head-on with the tough conversations about bullying and suicide.
Nasima says “Diversity and the resources and community services that are available in Surrey are amazing. Many families live here because they feel comfortable. Surrey welcomes everybody. “
Christine Galer, a supply chain manager thinks that the people are what make Surrey so strong. “Their vibrancy, their openness, their inclusiveness. They are striving to make this city better every day. Ken Etheridge added, “The people here still know how to smile.”
Marvin Hunt, Liberal MLA for Surrey Panorama, agreed. “It is all about the people. Surrey has some of the most wonderful, warm, caring people I know. I love this place because I love the people of this place.”
And then there is this…..
Surrey is full of really fun people. We don’t take ourselves too seriously. As Ken pointed out, we really do know how to smile (and laugh). And who would attend a business party dressed like this….well…. Kristi and Linda of course.
Kristi Rigg and Linda Brind Dickson from the Westcoast Centre for Learning (a brain training centre located in Guildford) felt that Surrey was the best place to be because “the really hot business ideas come from the Surrey Board of Trade and the people that attend these events.” They were truly dressed for “Christmas in Paradise”. Guess they weren’t dreaming of a white Christmas.
Carol Girardi, the president of the Arts Council and the Cultural Advisory Board had a lot to say about the City of Surrey Mayor and council and their continued and dedicated support for arts and culture in this city.
“When I talk to other Arts Council’s throughout BC, they cannot believe the support that we get from our city council. It is amazing.”
Jannette Maedel of the Surrey Art Gallery Association (SAGA) agrees. She thinks that the the youth arts programs and contemporary art were what put the magic into Surrey.
The room was full of trade show booths displaying everything from local companies, various arts groups and foundations. The information on available opportunities in Surrey was as varied and interesting as the types of people who attended this event. They each have their own take on what makes Surrey such a special place to live, work and play.
Barbara Gould from ArtsCan says “You can’t top the people who make the arts. They make this city shine”
Mac Blackburn from the Royal Canadian Theatre Company agrees that the arts play a vital role in the livability of this place. “Professional Theatre in Surrey is what makes it fabulous, darling. Why drive to Vancouver when you can see excellent local theatre at the Surrey Art Centre in Bear Creek Park” (tickets for Beauty and the Beast currently on sale at the Surrey Arts Centre box office).
Chris Thornley from Thornley Communications thinks that “musicians that make the music and donate so much of their time to charity fundraisers like Blues for the Bank “. Surrey Food Bank Dance Party Live Band fundraiser is on January 21st – tickets at
“Surrey is the hot spot for business and pleasure. We are there to help our customers get more customers and more business.” says SBOT (president of the SBOT fan club) – Jason “Nitroman”
Tony Malyk is a business coach with Empowered Business Coaching. He works with all types of businesses in the city and he thinks it is Surrey’s forward thinking that makes this the best city to do business in.
“Surrey is breaking boundaries, physically, economically, and culturally. Surrey is all about innovation. We are forward thinking, willing and ready to take advantage of all opportunities. Surrey looks forward and not backward.”
Bret and Gavin from Novex Delivery Solutions were dressed to party at this “Christmas in Paradise“
Brett pointed out that at an event like this, “Everybody is in high spirits. This is a fun vibrant community.” Gavin says “Being new to the city, I walk in here and see everybody smiling and happy and supportive. It’s the definitely the people.”
“What makes Surrey sizzle is some of the current upgrades like the revitalization of the downtown core or Innovation Blvd and the Health Tech community that is building there. But then we also have the Surrey Museum expanding so it is about the new and the old. We are gaining momentum with our history and getting more comfortable in our skin. Another thing for me personally is our green spaces, our beautiful parks.” Says Dan Effa, of Effa Consulting, a local business consultant specializing in helping business leaders clarify and reach their goals.
Kevin Croot with Cooperators Home Insurance says that Surrey rocks because “of all the fantastic people at all these events. There is great community spirit, way more than any other place I work.”
Travis Higo was manning the booth for Kwanten Polytechnic University. He felt that Surrey has great educational opportunities. “The opportunities that are in Surrey economically because of the population growth are huge. Kwantlen has been part of that foundation from the beginning. We are here to help produce highly educated skilled workers to meet that demands of Surrey’s growing market. We have opportunity here.”
Mary Mickelson, with her late husband, Arnold Mickelson, has operated an art gallery called Of Mind and Matter in Surrey for 42 years. She felt that the people of Surrey where what makes this place sizzle. “Embracing multiculturalism has created a unique blend of people here.”
Surinder Bhogal, the chief librarian with Surrey Libraries felt it really was the kids that made this city pop. “Kids sharing stories in the library and bringing sparkles of joy. The kids of this city have the best smiles”
From the city services like free libraries, to non-profit support agencies like PICS and Options, to festivals like the Surrey International Children’s Festival, to foundations and arts groups; the blend of interests that weaves its way around the businesses and business people that attend these Surrey Board of Trade events show true diversity and is a shining example of what we can achieve if we all support one another.
People like John Leech from Applied Science Technology and Technicians of B.C. They are a Surrey based organization with over 10,000 members in BC. “Surrey sizzles because of its inclusivity.” says John. “Surrey supports our local building programs, which work with people that have diverse abilities, first nations, internationally trained professionals and our more recent focus on youth with challenges and job training for single parents. We have a skilled workers shortage in this country, especially in the engineering and technology fields. Surrey is at the heart of tech sector training. We want to have skilled workers ready for when the tech sector takes off.”
Doug Tennant of the Semiahmoo House Society also feels that it is the welcoming environment that appeals. Semiahmoo House Society provides quality services and support to people with disabilities and their families.
“Surrey is so welcoming for diverse people. People from different ethnicities and backgrounds but also people with different abilities. I have always been very impressed with how Surrey business are open to hiring people with disabilities and having an inclusive environment at their work place. “ exclaims Doug.
“What makes Surrey sizzle is the growth, the growth of business, the growth of residential, the families, the opportunities.” Says John Wartman with Schmit and Funk Financial.
Catherine Levan with Kickstart Communications, a brand development company feels that it is the “beautiful blend of different cultures and personalities like a multi coloured field of flowers.”
The setting was the beautiful Sheraton Vancouver Guildford Hotel and the woman that makes it all hum is Linda McCrossin, Director of Catering and Event Management. According to Linda, Surrey is simply the “happening place to be”.
Kim La Breche, award-winning author was adding her personal sparkle to the event. She is the CEO of Saklas and Company, Chartered Accountants. Kim felt that what really makes Surrey Sizzle is the diversity. “All the different cultures coming together and sharing each others traditions and embracing each others differences.”
Santa was the star of the event and people were lined up to get their picture taken with Santa in exchange for a donation to the Surrey Food Bank.
Now before you think this event was just a love fest, there were some discussions about problems that Surrey has and how we can do more to help people that need more support.
Former Fire Chief, Bill McNamara was quick to point out that what makes Surrey really special were “The volunteers, they are really driving the changes in this city and helping people that are in need. They make this city look good.”
Bill, Surrey’s Good Citizen of the Year recipient, is raising money to build an Indoor Track and Field Multi Purpose Centre. He wants to build a place for the kids to keep fit and have the opportunity for active play. He wants to help young athletes in this city begin their Olympic dream. Bill and his wife, Carole are two of the amazing volunteers of this city.
Between the wonderful appetizers being served by the Sheraton Chef’s and the BBQ chicken from Clancy’s Meats in Cloverdale, the room was full of enticing smell and taste. After all, there is nothing that says Christmas like BBQ.
Surrey Board of Trade Seasonal Sizzle and Food Bank fundraiser really showcases the wonderful and passionate people that populate this city. From music, to food, to art, to innovation, to business, to growth, to education – it all comes down to the amazing people that call this place home.
Surrey, you should be proud of yourself.
Come to the next Surrey Board of Trade event and introduce yourself to this vibrant community of movers and shakers (and people like me, who just jiggle once and awhile.)
What do you think makes Surrey sizzle?
Comment below and then share with your friends. Let’s see if we can think of all the reasons this city is the only home to come home to on this holiday. #surreybychoice
10 Things You Have to Do Before Launching a Business App
In recent years, mobile apps have grown in popularity. No matter how big or small your company is, developing a business app can increase recognition, build customer loyalty, create awareness of your brand, and serve as a fantastic tool for customer engagement.
Mobile apps are now a fundamental component of any business. So, once you’ve developed your app, here are ten things you must do before launching it to the masses.
Establish Your Audience
Before launching your business app, it’s vital that you establish who your audience are. You need to make sure that there’s a market for your app, otherwise your hard work will go to waste. As a business owner, you should already have an idea of who your target demographic are and what they like and dislike. If you launch a business app that doesn’t cater to their needs, you can’t expect a surge in downloads. Once you have a thorough understanding of your target market, you need to establish how your business app will benefit them and whether it will act as a solution for your users.
Define Your Goals
Once you’ve figured out who your target audience are, you need to define your objectives and goals. It’s important that you’re realistic with your goals, otherwise you will find it hard to stay focused.
There are various questions you need to ask yourself, such as why you are creating a business app in the first place, what its primary purpose will be, and what its main functionalities are. Once you’ve got your goals in place, you will have something to work towards which will keep you motivated and focused on delivering a successful app.
Study Your Competitors
Regardless of what kind of business you operate, the chances are you will be fighting with thousands of other apps already on the market. Conducting research into your competitors and seeing what they do to stand out from the crowd can give you inspiration and ideas that you can put into your own app.
Take some time to browse through app stores and look for apps that are similar to your own. Once you identify their strengths and flaws, you will have the advantage of being able to change features and functionalities before going live. You should also look at competitor apps ratings and reviews so you can see what their audience think about their product.
Create a Marketing Plan
For your business app to be successful, it’s critical that you create a great marketing plan. Letting consumers know about your app and how it stands out from competitors will make users more likely to download your product over rivals.
There are lots of marketing strategies that you can adopt which will spread awareness of your business app, such as by using email marketing. Sending emails to your existing customer base and letting them know about your app will make people take notice. If you’re in a competitive market, you need to showcase why your app differs from the rest.
Have a Developed Pricing Strategy
Before your business app goes live, you need to develop a pricing strategy that correlates with your audience. There is the option to make your app free to download, or you may want to provide subscription pricing, in-app purchases, or an initial download price.
There are various advantages and disadvantages linked with these pricing models, which is why you need to do your research first to pick one that’s suitable for your brand. If your goal is to build your audience, it may be best to offer a free download approach at first. On the other hand, if you want to connect with a specific niche audience, offering a subscription or paid-based model may be the best strategy to go for.
Optimise Your App
When it comes to ranking highly on the Google Play Store or iOS App Store, you will need to make sure your business app is optimised. There are four crucial elements that you must take note of before optimising your app, including app branding and visuals, use of keywords, the amount of positive reviews received, as well as the number of downloads generated. Keywords in the app name tend to have the largest impact on an app store search ranking
Create a Landing Page
It’s vital that you create a landing page (website) for your business app which can be used to direct your target traffic. You can use your landing page to outline all your brand’s values and features, while promoting your app simultaneously.
You can create your landing page with a variety of website builders, such as Wix or WordPress. Make sure that your website has an easy to use interface so users can navigate through your page and find out more about your brand.
Use Social Media Channels
Social media is one of the best ways to spread awareness of your business app. Before launching your app, it’s advised to share your app’s functionalities and features on platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Doing so will keep your audience engaged and excited for the launch date. It’s advised to focus on social media platforms that your target demographic use the most, instead of creating multiple accounts with little to no traffic.
Test Your App
So that you can be confident with your business app, it’s vital that you set plenty of time aside for manual testing. Global App Testing have an in-depth guide on manual testing, and they can help you find any bugs that are lurking within your mobile app that could affect real-life users, as well as issues that you may not have anticipated.
Schedule Your Launch Date
For your business app to be a success, you need to pick a suitable launch date. Make sure that you factor in plenty of time to promote your app and ensure your launch date doesn’t fall on the same day as a competitor in the industry.
Once you are at the point where your business app is fully developed and ready to go, make sure you follow the advice above which will help you plan out exactly what to do before, during, and after your app goes live.
How Automation Has Changed the Job Market in Canada
According to research by the RBC in 2018, half of all Canadian jobs will be affected by automation by 2018. The researchers concluded that Canada is moving from a job-based toward a skills-based economy. In this article, we’ll look at what this means for the Canadian workforce and those about to enter it.
The Term Automation Has Taken on New Meaning
Ten years ago, automation meant humans being replaced by robots. We’ve already dealt with the impact of these machines in manufacturing plants. We can expect 20 million jobs to be lost to robots by 2030.
The next incarnation of automation involves artificial intelligence, rather than rows of machines. We’re now facing smart algorithms that can speed through swathes of data in seconds.
We’ve developed smart risk engines to replace the drudgery of many back-office functions. Not only will machines take away repetitive manufacturing jobs, but they’ll also take away some office work.
How Will We Cope?
With millions of fresh-faced graduates facing the prospect of losing entry-level jobs to artificial intelligence, the situation seems grim.
It’s not all doom and gloom, however. Machines aren’t quite able to replace humans entirely yet. According to Statista , 80% of people surveyed in 2017 preferred to speak to a human over a chatbot.
Human skills like analytical thinking, perceptiveness, complex problem solving, and listening are all still in high demand. Then there are also practical considerations to think about. Say, for example, that you order a pizza. The robotic team at the pizza place makes it and places it into the car. The car drives to your door.
Here’s where the dilemma comes in. Does the consumer come and fetch their pizza? How can the car be sure that it’s the right person? Who’s to say that the person won’t try to steal other pizzas while the hatch is open? We’ve stuck with this ridiculous example to highlight that there are many facets to consider. Now, taking things a little further using the same pizza reference.
The robotic pizza maker, oven, or car breaks down. We’ll need a team of humans to maintain and fix them. A human will have to oversee food quality and make critical decisions about using food before it goes off. The machine might not be able to say, “I’ve got too many mushrooms, I better use them quickly.” A human manager would, however, work out discounts on mushroom pizzas to get them moving.
Another consideration is that the new fleet of robotics and software requires people to develop, understand, and maintain it. The new world brings greater connectivity with many AI engines operating from cloud-based servers. These SaaS products are useful to consumers and allow them to save much money.
They do bring unique cybersecurity challenges, however. According to the New York Times , we’ll have an additional 3.5 million jobs in the cybersecurity field to fill. The upshot is that automation may create more jobs than it takes away. The problem for us is that we may be ill-equipped for the change
Skills to Develop
Fortunately, it’s never too late to start. Learn as much as you can today in the following areas:
● Critical problem solving
● Good judgment
● Coding and technology
● Computer literacy
It’s essential to understand that we’re always developing new technology. Artificial intelligence is growing more capable by the day. But much like with the Industrial Revolution, machines won’t leave humans obsolete.
Until a machine can replicate a human being exactly, we’re still useful. The human brain is complex and challenging to replicate. Will we see a device able to think and reason as we do? Probably not in our lifetimes. Will we see the job landscape change significantly? Most certainly. We’ll see a drop in entry-level jobs like data capturing because machines can easily do these.
The upside is that with increasing automation, consumers will miss the human touch. A self-checkout cashpoint is convenient, but there’s no interaction with a cashier to build brand loyalty. So, while we’ll undoubtedly see more automated functions coming to the fore, we’ll also see companies trying to maintain the human touch. Those of us who can adapt and learn new skills will be ready for the changeover when it happens.
There’s no question that the job market is changing at a fast pace. It’s not the first time in history that it has done so, and it won’t be the last. To survive the change and come out on top, people will need to audit their skillset objectively.
If they need to learn new skills, now’s the time to start. Those that adapt early on will feel less of the impact of change. They may even benefit from it because they’re the only ones ready for it. So, Canada, what are you waiting for? It’s time to start brushing up on the skills that no computer can ever replace.
Helping Businesses Get Online Exposure in a Less Stressful Yet Highly Profitable Way.
How customers shop and interact with businesses has shifted to the virtual world. Local businesses are at risk of not continuing to provide products or services in their communities. Without local businesses, our economy will not survive, our communities will not be the same, and our culture will be different. Local businesses increase the level of taxation, fund local charities, fund Fire Department causes, among others. These are places customers used to visit freely and connect with each other.
However, due to COVID19, customer shopping behavior has shifted to the virtual world. Based on several surveys, it appears most customers prefer the new way of shopping. In the comfort of their homes, or anywhere they wish, since they are always glued to their mobile devices. Due to the high online shopping demand, local businesses are forced to figure out ways to move their products or services online to survive, meet their customer needs, and grow their businesses.
For most local businesses, to stay competitive in the new virtual world and navigating the online world takes a lot of work and can be confusing at times. Additionally, to create online awareness of their products or services is also proving to be difficult. The competition is stiff because so many businesses are moving to the online marketplace. Having an online presence that connects the right customer to the right business is crucial at this time.
It may make or break the business Our service was born out of the needs we heard from many business owners. We use our connections, special deals, and strategies with major media sites to help businesses get seen and get new clients in a less stressful yet potentially highly profitable way.
We help you to reach your best clients by crafting meaningful hyper-local ads and media coverage. If there’s a service you offer in a specific location neighborhood, or region, we will help you get seen. In support of our local businesses, in addition to the media coverage service, businesses will receive a FREE Snapshot report .
This report identifies services or products you should be visible for, provides your current visibility and level of competition, compares your visibility across your location or region you serve, identifies quick wins for new customers, among other items. This offer is good through September 30th, 2020. Additionally, businesses will also get a 30-day money-back guarantee.
For more information on our services, visit our website.
You can also book a call and speak to us personally, we would love to hear from you – Book A Call
Sher Vancouver launches its one of a kind Pink Directory!
Surrey, British Columbia – Sher Vancouver has released the inaugural edition of Sher’s Pink Directory. This directory lists organizations that directly fund and support the 2SLGBTQ+ community of Metro Vancouver.
The directory was compiled by UBC law student Janice Lu who was hired by Sher Vancouver as an intern to complete this valuable community project. This directory is being made available free of charge to the general public and local 2SLGBTQ+ organizations. You can download a copy from the official Sher Vancouver website at:
The directory has approximately 60 listings and is divided into the following sections:
- Charities and Foundations
- Scholarships and Awards
- Other Funders
- Non-Financial Support
Sher’s Pink Directory will enhance the ability of local 2SLGBTQ + organizations to access the support and financial assistance they need to better support the 2SLGBTQ + community.
The 2SLGBTQ + community continuously experiences hardship and adversity. Sher Vancouver Founder, Alex Sangha, points out that a major issue 2SLGBTQ + organizations face is difficulty obtaining financial support to sustain programs and services. This leads to limited support and resources for fellow members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community – many of whom are very vulnerable, marginalized, and alienated and in critical need.
Sher’s Pink Directory is one small step towards filling this funding gap. If you would like your organization to be included in the next edition of Sher’s Pink Directory please email email@example.com.
Sher’s Pink Directory is designed by local Vancouver graphic designer, Jaskamal Singh. Her website is: www.designsbyjaskamal.com
Sher’s Pink Directory is part of a three-part series designed to provide information to the 2SLGBTQ + community. This three-part series project consists of:
1. Legal Resources Kit
Legal Resource Kit consists of three documents:
- LGBTQ + Friendly Lawyer Referrals
- Information Regarding Human Rights
- Safe Countries for LGBTQ + Travellers
2. Queersome Desi
Resources (South Asian Queer Resources from around the world)
3. Sher’s Pink
Directory (Organizations that fund and support the 2SLGBTQ + community in Metro Vancouver)
The resources are available for free download for everyone on the Sher Vancouver website under RESOURCES at the following link: www.designsbyjaskamal.com
Directory is also attached for your convenience , View pdf file.
SellOffVacations Announces the Reopening of its Retail Stores Across Canada
Following months of closures due to the effects of COVID-19, SellOffVacations has announced that its retail stores will be reopening their doors on Monday, September 14. With 30 locations from coast to coast, the travel experts at SellOffVacations are looking forward to welcoming back customers and helping them plan their highly-anticipated future getaways.
“We’re excited to be reopening our doors in communities all across Canada,” said Stuart Morris, General Manager, Retail, for SellOffVacations. “For over three decades, we have been providing expert travel advice in local communities from coast to coast. Over the last month, our agents have called and spoken to thousands of clients and we know that people are eager to talk about travel. With our stores reopening, our travel experts are looking forward to continuing these conversations, helping customers plan future getaways, and answering any questions they may have in these uncertain times.”
Numerous health and safety protocols have been put in place at each retail store to ensure the safety of both customers and employees. New measures include enhanced sanitation protocols, frequent disinfection of high-touch surfaces, plastic barriers between desks, use of masks according to local bylaws and regulations, physical distancing reminders throughout the store, and a maximum store capacity of six customers to help promote physical distancing.
Contactless methods of communication are also available so that customers have the option to meet with their travel agent over the phone, email, or video conferencing.
To help Canadians plan their return to travel, SellOffVacations is offering customers incredible offers with a variety of vacation options – including hundreds of free upgrades. Whether travellers want to plan an adventure in Canada, a sunny escape to the Caribbean, or a European river cruise, SellOffVacations’ travel experts can help them plan a safe and unforgettable vacation.
SellOffVacations has been providing affordable travel services to Canadians for over 30 years. Established in 1979, SellOffVacations helps tens of thousands of Canadians book their dream getaway every year. SellOffVacations has stores from St John’s to Victoria, with dedicated travel experts available to help customers book getaways in person, online, or over the phone. Preferred partnerships with major travel providers allow SellOffVacations to offer Canadians discount flights, vacation packages, cruises, coach tours, hotels, car rentals, and more in destinations all around the world.
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