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About Venture Connect

Venture Connect is a subsidiary of 6 Island Coastal Community Futures offices and a working partner with the remaining Community Futures offices throughout BC.  With priority on rural BC, the subsidiary’s focus is business retention in BC during unprecedented demographic shifting and business transitions.

While Many Focus on Labour Shortages…
We Focus on Entrepreneur Shortages

With economic development as our foundation, Venture Connect occupies a very unique space within the business buy and sell marketplace.  We recognize the importance of local knowledge and experience and utilize our collaborative relationships with Community Futures, Economic Development Agencies, Immigration Consultants, Real Estate Agents, Brokers and Government to achieve mutual goals.

We assist:
·Business owners to prepare for the sale of their business and understand their position in the buy/sell marketplace
·Business buyers, both local and foreign, to identify and acquire appropriate businesses
·Listing agents, business sellers and economic development agencies to expose their opportunities and connect them with buyers
·Economic development agencies and government by gathering and analyzing data and providing trends in the rural business landscape

Quality and speed of service, trust, doing the right thing, paying attention and thinking and acting innovatively all matter to achieve desired results.  

The Venture Connect Vision

Venture Connect is a small organization with a large impact.  We work collaboratively with a network of individuals, agencies and government throughout British Columbia to achieve important business retention and succession results by providing effective and efficient delivery of services to business sellers and investors at every stage through the buying and/or selling process.

Board of Directors

Brian Smith,Executive Director Community Futures Sunshine Coast
Wendy Smitka,Director Community Futures Central Island
Bob Annis,Chair Community Futures Cowichan
Scott Benwell,Chair Community Futures Mt. Waddington
Cathy Robertson,General Manager Community Futures Cowichan
David Mitchell,General Manager Community Futures Mt. Waddington
Greg Latham,Chair Community Futures Sunshine Coast
Pam Krompocker,Executive Director Community Futures Powell River
Jolynn Green,Manager Community Futures Central Island
Brian Bennett,Chair Community Futures Powell River
Lori Camire,Executive Director Community Futures Alberni-Clayoquot
Norm Donald,Chair Community Futures Alberni-Clayoquot
Brian is a social entrepreneur, innovator and organizer. His career has taken him from the co-op movement to working with people with disabilities to ten years in economic development. He was recognized as one of the Top 40 Under Forty business people in Vancouver.
His academic background includes degrees in Economics, Community Economic Development (CED) and Regional Planning. He is an instructor at SFU on Social Enterprise and Innovation. His professional background includes serving as a senior executive administering successful loan programs and directing CED programming with non-profits, SMEs, local residents and the community at large.
Brian has co-founded several enterprises, both for-profit and not-for-profit. He currently serves as the Vice-chair of the Hastings Crossing Business Improvement Association (HxBIA), an organization he helped to co-found in the Vancouver’s downtown eastside. Until recently he has been contracting to Vancity Credit Union helping to develop social finance solutions to affordable housing in the Metro Vancouver region and administering the loans program of the Community Futures Development Corporation of the Sunshine Coast (CFDC-SC). Brian is excited to be moving into the role of Executive Director.
Brian is an avid cyclist, homebrewer, father of three and resident of Gibsons, BC.
Wendy recently joined the ranks of the retired having capitalized on her own succession plan.
Wendy grew up on Vancouver Island and returned in 1991 with her partner to start a transportation business hauling bulk fuels. They grew their business from a staff of three to a thriving business with 26 employees. When developing her own succession plan Wendy found she needed to travel to the mainland for professional advice and is very pleased to be a part of Venture Connect and the opportunity to provide expertise here on the Island.
Owning a business is a lifestyle as much as a living and how to value the goodwill that you’ve built over the years is best done by an arms length professional that can bring objectivity and an understanding of current markets into consideration.
Bob brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Community Futures Cowichan Board table. He has a BA, MA and PhD, and has published several reports and documents concerning social and economic issues facing rural Canadians. Bob served for 10 years as the Director of Brandon University's Rural Development Institute, and served for Rural and Northern Development Program for many years as a professor in Departments of Native Studies, Psychology and Rural Development. He serves on numerous community organizations like the Provincial Community Futures Association, the Canadian Rural Restructuring Foundation and as a fellow of the International Comparative Rural Policy Studies Consortium. He also served as a National Selection Committee Member for the Canadian government's Broadband.
Since Bob and his wife moved to BC from Manitoba, they have had the pleasure of boating around the Gulf of Vancouver Island and enjoying his retirement to its fullest.
Scott Benwell and his wife and two sons live and work in the Mount Waddington Region.  For the past 5 years Scott has served as Superintendent of Schools and CEO of School District 85.  Scott joined the Community Futures Board in 2013 and now serves as its Chair. He enjoys pursuing many interests such as SCUBA diving and fishing as part of the wonderful lifestyle of the north island. 
Cathy Robertson’s career experience spans many aspects of business. Since 2008 Cathy has been the General Manager of a division of Community Futures. In this role she oversees a range of community-based economic development projects and the small business lending program in addition to the day-to-day management of the organization.
Cathy has also been an associate in Cowichan Valley marketing firm and managed a wide variety of marketing programs for a number of diverse clients. For nearly 5 years Cathy was the Operations and Marketing Manager for both Cherry Point Vineyards and the Quw'utsun Cultural and Conference Centre, each owned by the Cowichan Tribes.
David Mitchell has lead the most rural and isolated Community Futures office on Vancouver Island since 2009. David developed his leadership and management skills during an extensive career with the British Columbia provincial government. After leaving government in 2003 David was a consultant prior to joining the Vancouver Island Health Authority in Victoria and then Campbell River.
Greg Latham and his wife settled permanently in Sechelt in 2008. He has 27 years of direct, collaborative experience in working to improve the status of persons with disabilities, particularly in the transportation field. He was the General Manager of the London transit Commission, and prior to that was the Manager of Edmonton Transit. He has also been an independent consultant on dozens of provincial and national projects. In April of 1998, Greg was appointed as the Executive Vice President of the Rick Hansen Institute and the Rick Hansen Foundation; he was responsible for ensuring the long-term success of the Institute and the Foundation. Under his leadership, over $180M was raised and the world's largest integrated Spinal Cord Research Centre, the Blussom Pavillion was built at Vancouver General Hospital. 
Greg has supported the communities he has resided in by having served on over forty private, public and non-profit boards. Semi-retired since 2008, he enjoys volunteering on the three boards: Chair of Community Futures Development Corporation Sunshine Coast, Vice-President of Coast Community Builders Association, and Advisor to the Salish Soils Board. He likes his connection with the community, both learning from others and bringing his talents to the table. He enjoys doing small contracts to help businesses such as Motoko's Fine Art Gallery and Coast Builders RONA - Sechelt and Madeira Park with growing their businesses. Finally, he enjoys the freedom semi-retirement has given him to travel and pursue his interests. 
Pam Krompocker has managed a division of Community Futures since 1997. Ms. Krompocker has had many accomplishments since her appointment as Executive Director. She has chaired the Fisheries Legacy Trust, sat on the Community Economic Adjustment Initiative Committee and the Softwood Economic Initiative Quality Approval Committee. She also became the Executive Director Representative to the BC Community Futures Development Association Board and Island Coast Regional Representative.
Jolynn Green combines her Masters in Leadership and Training with hands-on experience assisting hundreds of small business from start up to expansion in addition to consulting with board and management groups. Jolynn joined a Community Futures team in 1994 where she worked for ten years; 6 years as Executive Director. Jolynn then became an executive team member of a five star golf /casino resort in the capacity of Human Resource Manager. Jolynn’s is a graduate of the Masters of Arts – Leadership and Training from Royal Roads University of Victoria, BC. Jolynn became an Executive Director of a division of Community Futures in July 2010. She also operates a local inn.
Brian joined the Board of Community Futures Powell River in 2006 after he retired from his position as Superintendent/CEO of School District #47 (Powell River) with 270 employees. Brian has a strong background in education and financial management with a Bachelor of Arts - Geography/Economics from Simon Fraser University and a Masters Degree in Administration from the University of Victoria. He is well known for his implementing innovative entrepreneurial and educational programs as well the strong financial management of schools and the School District. Brian has always maintained a passionate interest in business and community development of the Powell River region. 
Lori Camire has managed a division of Community Futures since September 1997. Previously she held supervisory and management positions with the Federal Government for close to 20 years. Lori has been a director with Community Futures British Columbia and held the position of Island Coastal Community Futures Manager Representative for 5 years.
Lori has also been involved with family business operations, and has dealt with the planning and executing of a succession plan.
Lori was the project manager for the Pilot Project known as Exit Opportunities and is now General Manager of Venture Connect Inc.
Norm became a Community Futures Alberni-Clayoquot Board member in 2009 after retiring from his career as a pharmacist and owner of a local Shoppers Drug Mart. As he often works as a locum pharmacist, the more accurate term, according to Norm, would be “semi-retired”. With a solid business background, Norm understands the importance of business and community development and is recognized throughout the Community Futures network for his thoughtful decision making and supportive leadership abilities. During his free time, Norm enjoys travelling and participating in sport activities, especially those involving “friendly competition”. We are fortunate indeed to have such a dedicated and reliable Chair for our organization.