South Asian Techie From Kelowna Voted Top Entrepreneur Over 40

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TFG-banners website -FGopal-entrepreneurRaghwa Gopal named the People’s Choice winner in a vote in which only the 40 nominees cast ballots. Initially, the vote was tied. The sponsoring Kelowna Chamber of Commerce isn’t revealing the two names in the tie, wrote the Courier. A second vote saw Gopal, the CEO of high-tech support group Accelerate Okanagan, emerge victorious. Gopal, who relocated from his home in Fiji to Kelowna in 1978 to join his brother, who’d moved the Okangan jewel to work for RV manufacturer Vanguard, founded what would become Kelowna’s first high-tech company, Vadim Software, which made integrated financial and billing software for municipalities.

KELOWNA – South Asian Techie from Kelowna was recently voted top entrepreneur over 40

Raghwa Gopal, the first Top Forty Over 40 nominee profiled in Kelowna Daily Courier last September, was named the People’s Choice winner in a vote in which only the 40 nominees cast ballots.

It wasn’t an easy decision.

Initially, the vote was tied. The sponsoring Kelowna Chamber of Commerce isn’t revealing the two names in the tie, wrote the Courier.

A second vote saw Gopal, the CEO of high-tech support group Accelerate Okanagan, emerge victorious.

In many ways, Gopal is the perfect representative of what the Top Forty Over 40 program stands for.

He works in the fast-paced and hyper-growth Okanagan high-tech industry.

He’s a successful entrepreneur.

He gives back by investing in emerging tech firms, mentoring young tech types and working in the not-for-profit realm.

And, he qualifies for Top Forty Over 40 by being age 58 and leading a full life, both personally and professionally.

Top Forty Over 40 profiles of 40 deserving mature business people ran every Wednesday in The Daily Courier from Sept. 21, 2016, to this week.

On Wednesday, the chamber threw a party at the Delta Grand hotel to honour all the nominees and reveal Gopal as the People’s Choice.

Gopal graduated from the University of the South Pacific with a degree in computer science in 1977.

The timing put him at the forefront of the tech industry as we know it.

Gopal-entrepreneur3Gopal relocated from his home in Fiji to Kelowna in 1978 to join his brother, who’d moved here to work for RV manufacturer Vanguard.

Gopal soon founded what would become Kelowna’s first high-tech company, Vadim Software, which made integrated financial and billing software for municipalities.

“I guess I’m Kelowna’s tech pioneer or grandfather or whatever,” said Gopal.

After almost 30 years, Gopal sold Vadim in 2006 to semi-retire.

He immediately started investing in startup tech firms and mentoring them so they could be successful.

He was one of the first investors in Vineyard Networks, a Kelowna Internet security company that would sell to California’s Procera in 2013 for US$28 million.

After more investing and volunteering with tech groups, he became an entrepreneur-in-residence at Accelerate Okanagan and Okanagan College to mentor youth and emerging companies.

In 2015, he returned to full-time work, taking the CEO job at Accelerate Okanagan, the group that supports the Valley’s tech sector.

The sector has become one of the Okanagan’s biggest economic engines, growing 30 per cent over the past two years to be a $1.3-billion-per-annum powerhouse with 766 companies and with 7,600 well-paid employees.

In the past, Gopal has been honoured with a B.C. Community Achievement Award and as Kelowna’s 2016 Man of the Year.

Courtesy Kelowna Daily Courier

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