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.

After much deliberation, from reviewing almost 60 applications to judging the live business pitches of 24 semi-finalists, the results are finally in! Fourteen current and aspiring entrepreneurs from Northwestern British Columbia have been selected to move forward as finalists in the 2017 ThriveNorth Business Challenge.

There are four finalists competing in each category: Best Growth Opportunity, Best New Business (18-28), and Best New Business (29-39). They will pitch their business idea in person to a panel of judges in Prince Rupert on May 18th, in hopes of winning the grand prize of $10,000 for their business.

Support your local entrepreneurs and attend the 2017 ThriveNorth Business Challenge Finals & Awards Ceremony. There is also a $5,000 Audience Award* up for grabs, so be sure to vote for your favourite business pitch both online and in person at the live event.

Congratulations to all finalists and good luck!

Best Growth Opportunity

Photo of business owners, Andrea & Kory

Andréa Harmel and Kory Yamashita, Terrace

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 at delighting customers with excellent service, employing young mothers in a way that lets them put their family first, and doing business sustainably. In response to strong and resilient demand, Butter is looking to physically expand the shop to increase hair services capacity by 50%, start providing esthetician services and introduce a sustainable skin care line to the Northwest.

Jaclyn Gagnon, Terrace

Jaclyn Gagnon has lived in Terrace for over 25 years. She has been serving customers at the Farmers Market since 2012, and has spent time serving, cooking, and catering in restaurants. She and her husband Jon are now raising their family on the very property she grew up on. The past 8 years have been spent making improvements to their family farm and they now have a successful cabin rental business, a greenhouse, and a large barn, all of which they built themselves. It is this barn that they wish to turn into a unique venue for weddings, reunions, retreats and more!

Katryna Jenniss, Terrace

After growing as a graphic designer, and working in the signage industry for a decade, Katryna Jenniss launched Westco Designs in July 2016. The inception of Westco married her lifelong passion for art and dream of starting a business. Katryna brings a unique approach to the industry by focusing on creating strong relationships in the community, and supported growth of local business. Katryna embodies a strong commitment to giving back locally and globally by volunteering her time, and donating money and services to various organizations such as Terrace Churches Food Bank, community fundraisers, Pencils for Promise and Charity:water.

Marcie LeBlanc, Prince Rupert

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, B.C. 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.

Best New Business (18-28)

Kevin Febril, Terrace

Chef Kevin Febril was born in Terrace B.C., and has been working in many different areas of the culinary industry since 2008. He is experienced in all aspects of food preparations and techniques. 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.

Reid Skelton-Morven, Prince Rupert

Reid is an alumnus of the Northwest Aboriginal Canadian Entrepreneurs Program, as well as the Social Media and Web Designing Program, both from the University of Victoria’s Peter B. Gustavson School of Business. Reid is of Tsimshian & Nisga’a decent, with roots in New Aiyansh and Metlakatla B.C. He finds fulfillment in mentoring and inspiring the youth entrepreneurs at his local high school in the Aboriginal Entrepreneurship program, and has a passion for identifying and solving problems in the region. Reid plans on using the grand prize for his complete “phase one” start-up of his venture, from professional equipment, to a reliable used work vehicle. Skeena Exterior Cleaning & Coatings is a company providing a professional cleaning and protective roof coating & refinishing services to Northwestern B.C. This company will also be providing a boost to the local economy by employing & training youth and entry-level workers in the communities of the Skeena & Nass Valley regions, as well as beautiful Haida Gwaii B.C.

Tara Young, Kitimat

Born and raised in Northern B.C., Tara graduated from the University of Calgary with a Bachelor of Kinesiology Degree & from the University of Alberta with a Master’s of Science in Occupational Therapy. Her dream of starting her company, ‘Forever Young Services’, would initially provide private practice Occupational Therapy services to children and youth in Terrace and surrounding areas. Tara truly believes it is her place in this world to work with individuals with disabilities to help them reach all of their goals, maximize their strengths and have the best quality of life possible.

Tara Paczkowski, Atlin

In 2015, Tara began to call Northern Canada home.  After working many years in community-building roles, including her current position as the Executive Director of the Fireweed Market, a local farmers’ market, Tara has decided to invest in the Northern food scene and jump into business with Ski Bum Pizza.  Ski Bum Pizza will bring handmade, wood-fired pizza to the streets of Atlin and Whitehorse.  It will aim to incorporate the style and attention to detail that is found in the food trucks of ‘the South’, with a Northern flare for local ingredients and a fun-loving lifestyle.

Best New Business (29-39)

Photo of Bryan Last and Aleksa Havelaar

Bryan Last & Aleksa Havelaar, Terrace

Bryan Last has a strong background in project management, developing partnerships, and working with local communities. Bryan’s knowledge and experience in coffee-producing countries inspired him to learn the craft of coffee roasting in order to offer fresh, premium coffee to Northwestern B.C.  Aleksa Havelaar is a University of Victoria graduate with a background in marketing and brand development. A former product manager with MEC and a recent resident of Terrace, Aleksa has a wealth of knowledge and experience as well as a keen interest in developing premium, locally-made products. With a shared love of specialty coffee, Bryan and Aleksa have launched White Goat Coffee Roasters to produce small batch artisan-roasted coffee for the local market that is not only fresh, but also environmentally and ethically conscious.

Joni Jones, Telkwa

In 2015, Joni Jones completed the ISSA Personal Training Certification followed by the CFES Group Fitness Instructor National Certification. With a vision to bring health and fitness services closer to home, Juniper Health & Fitness will be more than just a gym, offering fitness classes, personal training and children’s fitness right here in the Village of Telkwa. Within the first year of operation, Joni’s goal is to add spin bikes, a protein shake bar and merchandise to the business.

Meghann Patterson, Prince Rupert

Meghann Patterson grew up in Nanaimo B.C. She learned to be a hard worker/self-starter at a young age. In her early 20’s, after trying to get by working 3-4 minimum wage jobs at a time, she decided to get back to school and chose carpentry as her trade. A little over a year ago, Meghann arrived in Prince Rupert to work at the North Pacific Cannery as a supervisor/trainer. She fell in love with the north and plans on staying there for the rest of her life. This is why Meghann wants to start her own business in Prince Rupert. With her 10+ years as a journeyman carpenter, she has gained the knowledge she needs to successfully run an exterior house cleaning business, and plans to expand the business in the future to include rot repairs.

Santrina Meeks, Terrace

Santrina (left) was born and raised in the Northwest. She has always had a passion for fashion, but on a dime. Conscious of the fast-paced consumption of the clothing industry, and environmental impact of making and shipping new products, Glow Boutique was born. Glow Boutique is a brand name ladies consignment store, looking to give fashion a second life. It is focused on providing quality pre-loved, vintage clothing, footwear, and accessories. Having the vision to be accessible and relevant to today’s society, Glow Boutique will provide a retail location and online store.

*The Audience Award will go to the finalist that receives a combination of the most online and in-person votes. Online votes are worth 1 point, and each attendee at the Finals will receive 5 votes they can cast (either to one finalist, or divided amongst multiple finalists).

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