In conjunction with the OKGo campaign—a collaborative project created through a partnership between the Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission (COEDC), Accelerate Okanagan, and Tourism Kelowna—our organization provided support to the Western Engineering Competition, which was hosted by the University of British Columbia's (UBC) Okanagan campus from January 20 - 22, 2022. 

In 2021, the Engineering Society at UBC won the bid to host this prestigious event in Kelowna. The event was originally scheduled to be held in-person at the Delta Hotels by Marriott Grand Okanagan Resort and UBC Okanagan campus. Our team worked closely with the event organizers to support them in securing event space at the Grand Okanagan Resort, organizing local transportation, and connecting them with other area businesses and venues. Ultimately, due to ongoing restrictions, the organizing committee shifted to a virtual format to ensure the competition would go on.

Western Engineering Competition
Photo provided by Western Engineering Competition 

The Western Engineering Competition (WEC) is the flagship undergraduate engineering conference hosted in Western Canada, bringing together teams from 10 applied science institutions for a unique three-day experience. Participants competed in eight categories, highlighting the diversity and versatility of the engineering profession. Each challenge is adjudicated by industry and academic leaders, with winning teams qualifying for the Canadian Engineering Competition.

With a theme of Future World - Entrepreneurship and Innovation, the competition showcased the vibrancy of the Central Okanagan. Highlighting Kelowna as a hub for technology and startup culture, participants from across Western Canada were introduced to powerful networks and potential opportunities.

"Given that the region is centred on sustainable development and attracting tremendous investment, Western Engineering Competition will capitalize on this foundation of innovation and entrepreneurship to offer new possibilities to delegates," said Chair of the WEC Organizing Committee, Madison Smith.

Over the past few years, the innovation and entrepreneurship in the Central Okanagan prompted conversations between Tourism Kelowna and other local organizations to capitalize on both economic and tourism opportunities. In 2019, Tourism Kelowna and the COEDC signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to jointly leverage the region’s key industry sectors with the goal of generating business investment and tourism. The MOU was another step in solidifying our economic sector strategy (ESS), which aligns with Destination Canada Business Events ESS to attract meetings and conferences to Canada.

From there, the OKGo campaign was born, focusing on the business success stories of the region. The first year of the campaign highlighted innovation in five sectors—Agriculture, Viticulture, Aerospace, Advanced Manufacturing, and Digital Tech—through a 30-second promotional videodedicated website, and high-end print magazine, which recently won two International Economic Development Council (IEDC) awards.

Promoting our region's sector strengths is what OKGo is all about and the partnership with WEC offered a valuable opportunity to showcase the Central Okanagan as a place ripe with possibilities for top young talent from the Engineering and STEM fields.

Visit the WEC website to learn more about the 2022 event.

For more information about the OKGo campaign, visit Details of the campaign's second year will be announced in the near future.