Owners of a homegrown business in Powell River have reason to celebrate today.

32 Lakes Coffee Roasters won the $10,000 grand prize in the Build Back Better Challenge.

It’s a contest that was offered for entrepreneurs in various B.C. communities in December and January.

“We were thrilled to win,” said Margot Jantz, who together with her husband Nathan founded 32 Lakes Coffee Roasters in 2012. 

“It’s such an honour to be chosen, and we’re planning on making good use of the money to expand our business into the future.”

Spring Activator, the organization that sponsored the challenge, was impressed with not only 32 Lakes’ growth plan but also their environment and social commitments. 

“We love how they offer a range of specialty coffees for every coffee lover while celebrating the coffee farms they work with and striving to lead change on environmental and social issues,” Spring said in a blog post announcing the prize winners. 

“They not only ‘talk their talk’ but also ‘walk their walk’ on two fronts: impact and business.”

32 Lakes Coffee Roasters began with a small home roaster and a stall at the Powell River Farmers’ Market. 

Now, they have a dedicated roasting facility, and their coffee is available in several grocery stores on the Sunshine Coast as well as online at 32lakes.com. 

They were recently awarded a Surf Rider Ocean Friendly Business certification and a Green level certification from Vancouver Island Green Business Collective, as well as Rainforest Alliance certification. 

They also made changes to become a certified carbon-neutral business.

“We’d reached a point just before the pandemic that we needed to consider expanding,” said Margot. 

“Our plan is to have our coffee more widely available across Vancouver Island, which means we need to expand our roasting capacity. The prize money will go a long way towards helping us expand in a way that will continue to meet our environmental and social needs.”

To apply for the Challenge, Margot registered for the Resilient Powell River program and worked through a variety of modules in order to create a growth plan.

She described Resilient Powell River as “a fantastic program for any business owner.”

“The insights I got from the master classes, as well as being able to talk to other entrepreneurs about their experiences, really helped us build a good plan for our business, and will continue to help us as we expand and grow,” she said. 

“Winning the grand prize is just the cherry on top. I highly recommend the program to any business owner.”

Available for Powell River businesses until June 30, Resilient Powell River is a free online program offered through Coastline Colab and sponsored by the City of Powell River, Community Futures, and First Credit Union. 

It was developed and launched by Spring Activator in early 2020 across coastal British Columbia in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and is an online learning platform with short master classes on topics ranging from finances to team planning and digital marketing.