In December 2019, the ThriveNorth program successfully completed its five-year mandate. Managed by Futurpreneur Canada, the program helped young entrepreneurs in Northern B.C. launch and grow their businesses by connecting them with resources, financing and mentorship.

Written By: Katy Carr, Community Coordinator, ThriveNorth

On July 27, I had the privilege of spending the day in Metlakatla First Nation along with ThriveNorth Project Manager Joanne Norris. Located off the coast of Prince Rupert, this beautiful community is home to about 90 residents. Various people from the mainland also work in the community and take a ferry there every day.

Futurpreneur was invited to facilitate a workshop for Metlakatla members on entrepreneurship and the challenges faced by small business owners in rural communities. It was a enriching afternoon with participants of all ages and at different stages of their entrepreneurial journeys. A common theme that emerged was the struggle of running a business in a remote community, specifically knowing where to find support and small business loans.

Metlakatla member Fanny Nelson discussed the challenges of having to source $10,000 of her own money, while also running her bed and breakfast. Many of these remote Northern communities have difficulty connecting to organizations and resources that are designed to support entrepreneurs, due to things like lack of internet and distance from major centres.

Metlakatla member Patty Leighton runs her own catering business in the village for both locals and visitors to the community. “My advice would be to look around for options to get started. I didn’t do that and so everything is coming out of personal pockets. I didn’t know there were places that can help you get up and running. So really don’t be afraid to ask for help if it’s out there.” The ThriveNorth initiative aims to connect with and support rural communities in accessing business start-up funding and support, and it’s through workshops like the one at Metlakatla, that closes that connectivity gap and provides opportunities for growth and support to new and aspiring entrepreneurs.

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