Entrepreneurship is alive and well in Northern British Columbia as over 100 people came out for our ThriveNorth Business Challenge finals in Prince Rupert last night to watch 14 finalists compete to win a grand prize of $10,000.
Finalists competed in three categories: Best Growth Opportunity, Best New Business (18-28), and Best New Business (29-29). There was also an Audience Award where $5,000 was awarded to one business based off audience and online votes (we received 4,500 votes from our online polls).
Congratulations to all those that competed who walked away with $1,000 to put towards their business and to the four businesses that took home the grand prizes!
Marcie LeBlanc, LeBLANC Boutique
With a Fashion Design Diploma and over 20 years of design and sewing experience, Marcie LeBlanc was thrilled to open LeBLANC boutique in November 2015 in her hometown of Prince Rupert. LeBlanc had the vision to incorporate local artists and designers, mixed with international labels, to create a truly unique and diverse shopping experience. With success since opening, LeBlanc sees the potential for further growth through an ecommerce platform and POP UP shops in the surrounding Northern communities to increase revenue and drive up the customer base, while creating new jobs.
Kevin Febril, Wandering Bear
Kevin was born in Terrace and has been working in the culinary industry since 2008. Kevin has worked for years in many high-end restaurants and as a sous chef for three years. He also completed a three-year culinary arts program in Kamloops and one-year specializing in butchering/curing. Kevin’s very diverse culinary background, which includes being an accomplished butcher, allows him to create from scratch sauces and cured-smoked meats as well as unique specialty dishes.
Bryan Last & Aleksa Havelaar, White Goat Coffee
Aleksa has a background in marketing and brand development, while Bryan’s knowledge of and experience in coffee-producing countries, alongside his background in project management, inspired him to learn the craft of coffee roasting. With a shared love of specialty coffee, Bryan and Aleksa have launched White Goat Coffee Roasters, an environmentally and ethically conscious company producing fresh small batch artisan-roasted coffee for the local market.
Andréa Harmel & Kory Yamashita, Butter Hair Salon
After attending the Academy of Excellence and working for more than a decade in the hair styling industry, Andrea launched Butter Hair Salon in 2014. After 2 years in business, Butter has been incredibly successful through its sustainable services, while employing young mothers in a way that lets them put their family first. In response to strong demand, Butter is looking to physically expand the shop to increase its services by 50%, start providing esthetician services, and introduce a sustainable skin care line to the Northwest.