On Thursday, February 25th, the 13th Annual Small Business BC Awards ceremony was held at the Pan Pacific Hotel. Our owners, Courtney Rice and Kaja Sadowski, were there to meet other small business owners, represent our business as finalists in the ‘Best Emerging Entrepreneur’ category, and enjoy the free wine and samosas at the VIP reception.
We had a really lovely time meeting some of the other finalists in our category, and hearing about their own business stories and their impressions of the competition process. We also got to re-connect with some of the wonderful folks at Small Business BC, an organization that has been instrumental to our success up until this point – they helped us polish our business plan over a year ago, and played a big role in our getting an important small business loan.
One of the most interesting people to meet was Jessie Anderson of Big Bro’s Barbershop. We’d been interested in his business since the initial nominations put him on our radar, as he offers something truly unique. Big Bro’s is a queer/trans-owned barbershop and resource centre that caters primarily to Vancouver’s transgender and gender-variant community. Jessie and his team offer traditional barber services alongside gender affirmation products, harm-reduction supplies, clothing donations, and other much-needed materials. It was a treat to meet him in person and talk about some of the overlaps between our goals and mission, and toss around a few ideas for how we might work together to offer more fitness and self-defense options for Vancouver’s trans community. It was exciting and invigorating to talk with so many people with real passion for the work they’re doing, and with a clear vision for positive change.
The ceremony was a bit of a nail-biter, with so many strong nominees in each category. The Best Emerging Entrepreneur top prize went to Big Bro’s Barbershop, in a very well-deserved win. We feel incredibly fortunate to have made it this far in the competition, and going through the nomination process gave us a lot of valuable time to reflect on our vision for the school. We’ve got a lot of energy and clarity of focus going forward, and we’re so grateful for the opportunity we’ve had to participate in the process, and introduce more people to our love of swordplay and to our amazing community. Thank you again to everyone who supported us through this journey. We’d never have made it this far without you, and you’re what inspires us to keep building Valkyrie WMAA into the best school we can imagine!
Watch our category’s nominee videos from the ceremony. We’re on at 0:41.