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: Lauren Marinigh, Social Media & Content Creation Coordinator, Futurpreneur Canada

Born and raised in Prince Rupert, British Columbia, Tyler Meers has always felt that small businesses are the backbone of his small community. This belief motivated him to start his own business, Tyler Meers Photography. “I always had a drive to open a business and I saw the potential of starting up in my hometown,” Tyler said.

Tyler’s photography business focuses on portraits, weddings and events, as well as personalized fine artwork for the office and home. After spending the first year and a half based out of his home, he recently opened a studio space with another business that he shares the costs of operation with. Tyler plans to create a destination for people to enjoy arts and culture, purchase artwork and provide superior customer service with clients. We had a chance to catch up with Tyler to talk about how ThriveNorth, and other organizations in the community, have helped him and his business.

Here’s what he had to say:

Tell me about how the ThriveNorth initiative has helped you and your business.

The ThriveNorth initiative has helped my business and I in many ways! I am a part of the ThriveNorth Peer Mentor circle which has helped me network with other individuals and businesses in the north and gain access to resources for my business. It has brought support at some of the most challenging stages of operating a business and through the growing pains of growth and reaching success. Also last year I received a travel bursary to attend the 2015 Action Entrepreneurship Canadian Summit in Toronto where I was able to bring my business across the country. I made many amazing connections, learned valuable skills for growing my business and got access to new mentors, new friends from around the country and new potential business partners.

What other local organizations and resources have helped you and your business? 

Taking part in business conventions, intensive workshops and training, organizations such as Small Business BC, Community Futures and Hecate-Strait have all had a positive impact. There are also many mentors in my life that have helped lead the way, including business coaches and other full time artists and entrepreneurs.

You’re a finalist in the “Growth Opportunity” category for the ThriveNorth Business Challenge. What would you do with the funds if you won? And how are you planning on growing your business? 

In January, I opened a studio located in the downtown area of Prince Rupert, known as the Cow Bay District. The Cow Bay district is the tourist hub of the city with a coastal maritime hub feel, full or preserved heritage with a collection of unique shops and eclectic eateries. I plan to grow a creative and administrative team to help me expand my business, putting the community, the studio and my photography services on the map.

If I won the ThriveNorth Business Challenge, I would use the funds to help create and distribute marketing materials to grow my brand awareness and drive traffic to the studio. I will be using creative outlets to continue to feature my business and product outside of the community as well. Because community is so important to me, hiring locally for my creative team is more aligned with my values, rather than outsourcing. In the past few years I have had interns work for me. I look forward to hiring people from my community full-time for second shooting, batch editing and office administrative assistance.

What has been the best part about starting a business in Northern B.C.? 

The best part about starting my business in Northern B.C. is the support from the community and the many opportunity this area brings, allowing me to thrive locally in my hometown rather than to relocate to a city like Vancouver. Being a big fish in a small town is truly helpful as my services are in high demand and my network around me continues to support me in many ways.

Do you have any advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?

Create a business plan you are proud of. If your first business plan doesn’t go as planned, don’t give up. Aware yourself of the many opportunities available to you and utilize them. Don’t’ be afraid to ask for help. Find something your passionate about and create this plan, go above and beyond and it will truly manifest success.

“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Be sure to join us on May 7th in Terrace, B.C. to see Tyler Meers and the other ThriveNorth Business Challenge finalists compete for up to $10,000 to support their businesses! To find out more and to register for the event, click here.

To learn more about Tyler Meers Photography, click here.

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