First West Credit Union

First West Credit Union

November 23, 2011 12:28 ET

Bardel Entertainment Expands Into Kelowna, British Columbia With Funding From First West Capital

The Company's New Satellite Studio Is Expected to Create Jobs, Stimulate the Industry and Advance Educational Opportunities in the Region

LANGLEY, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Nov. 23, 2011) - Bardel Entertainment, a Vancouver-based animation studio, recently announced plans to expand its operations into Kelowna, British Columbia supported by funding from First West Capital. Slated to officially open in January 2012, the new satellite office is currently set up to accommodate a dozen animators and editors with plans to further expand over the next three years to house up to 50 employees.

"We are so thrilled to be able to partner with the First West Capital team to fund our long awaited expansion into Kelowna," said Barry Ward, president of Bardel Entertainment. "Not only do we have a solid and longstanding relationship with Kristi, but we also appreciate First West Capital's creativity and ability to deliver personalized solutions that are tailored to our needs as well as their extensive knowledge of our industry."

Bardel considered several other cities in British Columbia for its expansion plans but eventually selected Kelowna for a variety of reasons that include the ability to recruit from a growing pool of talented animators in the region, particularly now that companies such as Club Penguin are well established. Access to regional tax incentives provided by the Province, as well as the opportunity to provide the alternative of a smaller-town lifestyle for their team and their families, were also important.

Drawing upon the company's success in building deep relationships with educational institutions in Vancouver, Bardel is also excited to further grow the animation community in Kelowna. Bardel is presently in discussion with Okanagan College on the development of an animation programming designed to drawing additional talent to the region.

"Okanagan College is so pleased to welcome Bardel to our community," said Heather Schneider, Regional Dean Central Okanagan of Okanagan College. "Bardel is a well-known media and entertainment company that believes in incubating great talent, growing the industry and showcasing its creativity and innovation on the world stage. Our future students will benefit greatly from opportunities to work with an entertainment company of this calibre."

"Bardel is a great example of a highly successful B.C.-based, family-owned business that's fueled by a talented and dedicated team. The Bardel team is committed to continuous innovation, and this agility has allowed the company to remain an industry leader in the field of animation for more than 20 years," said Kristi Miller, vice-president of First West Capital. "From its humble beginnings creating short films and commercials, Bardel now works on television and film productions for major US studios such as Nickelodeon, Disney, Dreamworks and Warner Brothers and develops world-class interactive online content. We are excited to contribute to the company's growth and look forward to being a part of its ongoing success in Kelowna."

About Bardel Entertainment Inc.

For over 20 years, Bardel Entertainment has been an industry leader in media and entertainment. The company has a long track record of adapting to changing trends in animation and media production and continues this tradition today as it expands digital animation into transmedia and interactive brands. Through the company's distribution arm, Bardel's proprietary programs have been seen in over 140 different countries on major television networks including Disney, Cartoon Network, BBC, CBC, Teletoon and YTV. To learn more about Bardel Entertainment visit:

About First West Capital

First West Capital is First West Credit Union's newest division, and is a $60 million fund established to provide subordinated debt and mezzanine financing to small- and medium-sized businesses. Led by Kristi Miller and Robert Napoli, the First West Capital team has more than 25 years of commercial lending experience including 18 years in subordinated debt financing.

Formed through the merger of Envision Financial and Valley First credit unions, First West Credit Union is committed to local decision making and taking advantage of local business knowledge. The same is true for First West Capital. With on-the-ground knowledge of its local markets, First West Capital has the advantages of speed and flexibility. For more information, visit

About First West Credit Union

First West Credit Union offers members the financial strength, comprehensive product selection and extended branch network of a large financial institution while maintaining local brand identities and a unique grassroots approach to service. Led by Launi Skinner, First West is British Columbia's third-largest credit union with $6.2 billion in assets under administration, 167,000 members and 1,300 employees. It operates 37 branches throughout the province under the Envision Financial and Valley First brands. For more information on First West Credit Union, visit

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