Sea Hiker Swimming Inc. and Bowen Island Massage Therapy are both in the top 10 of their category of the 2016 Small Business BC Awards.
Sea Hiker, owned and operated by Bowen Islander Peter Scott, helps adults of all levels feel at home in the water. The company was the first of its kind to offer open water courses off Jericho Beach in Vancouver, and they have expanded their open water offerings to Tunstall Bay.
“As we are up for a Community Impact Award, we had to answer questions about how we measure ourselves in that regard,” says Scott. “This, and some of the other questions forced us to look at our business in a new way. We’re not running a shelter, we’re a sports organization, but I think that we help people grow an appreciation for being outside and in the water. With that there’s an increased awareness of what’s around us based on where we live.”
Scott adds that one aspect of Sea Hiker’s work is to help people who are anxious in the water overcome their fears.
“That aspect of the job is really gratifying,” he says.
Mary McDonagh, with Bowen Island Massage Therapy, says that being in the running for a Premier’s Peoples Choice Award is incredibly meaningful to her.
“When I started my clinic back in 89’, Alicia, who is now my colleague, was just a baby in my arms. There were maybe 1,200 people on Bowen, and there was no healthcare whatsoever,” says McDonagh. “I am still working full-time and loving what I do. I’ve worked on an intimate level with hundreds of people, and to hear people come together collectively to show their appreciation is incredibly rewarding.”
McDonagh says the People’s Choice Award is recognition for going above and beyond in the community.
“I think all of us at the clinic have an immense appreciation for the hardships, challenges and joys of every single person that walks through our doors,” says McDonagh. “I stand in awe of my community and the people I’ve had the honour of working with.”
If either business goes through to the final stage of this competition, they will make a pitch to a panel of business experts in February.