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.

Congratulations to the 2018 ThriveNorth Business Challenge finalists!

Each of the young entrepreneurs will be pitching their business ideas on October 4th in Fort St. John for a chance to win a cash prize to support the further growth of their business. Winners from each category will receive $10,000. There is also a People’s Choice Award valued at $5,000, which will be determined by a combination of online and in-person votes collected at the final event.

Learn about our finalists and vote for your favourite pitch below.

Sign up today to attend the live event on Thursday, October 4th at the Lido Theatre.

Best New Business (18-28): a business at any stage prior to launch or within their first 12 months in business, by an entrepreneur between the ages of 18 and 28


Allysha Fryer-Thomas, Balance Bean (Telegraph Creek)

Allysha Fryer-Thomas is a mother, teacher, artist and future entrepreneur. She is originally from Trail, B.C. and now lives in Telegraph Creek, B.C. with her husband, two year old daughter, and 98 year old Grandpa. She enjoys spending time reading, writing, painting, meditating, exploring nature, embarking on new adventures, meeting interesting people, and spending quality time with her family. More recently, her focus has been on dedicating time and energy awakening to her life purpose, which has brought her here today!


Holly-Anne Ritchie & Shay Bergunder, BowTie (Dawson Creek)

Shay Bergunder and Holly-Anne Ritchie together are BowTie. Using their differences as well as their similar passions, they create, coordinate and clean up events. They also have personalized BowTie Party In A Box for the bored, busy or uninspired. They hope to cultivate a relationship with the community while having more time for their families. Looking to the future, they also hope to be able to supply rental of tents, photo booths, lighting as well as many other event related items.


Krystal Anderson-Gosselin, Creative consulting business (Fort St. John)

Krystal is a business strategist who teaches service-based creatives how to launch and grow businesses that support their ideal lifestyle.  After receiving her diploma in commercial photography, Krystal quickly learned that the tools needed to succeed as a creative entrepreneur were ill-defined and failed to address income sustainability.  This led her to the world of finance, where she became a licensed financial professional in 2014. Using the same strategies learned in running her financial services company, Krystal now seeks to empower other creatives to step into the world of business in a sustainable and authentic way.


Margo Peill, The Kitchen Table (Terrace)

Margo Peill came to Terrace to visit for a weekend…four years ago. Her passion for mountain adventures, a strong community and enjoying good company over nourishing local food have made the Northwest feel like home. Coming from the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia, an area known for its agricultural bounty, Margo has always felt connection through nutritious and sustainable food. A Bachelor of Science specializing in Health Promotion has allowed her to share and learn more about connecting communities through eating. Margo can be found every Saturday at the Skeena Valley Farmers Market in Terrace, where she is currently the Market Manager.



Best New Business (29-39): a business at any stage prior to launch or within their first 12 months in business, by an entrepreneur between the ages of 29 and 39


Alicia Copeland, Copeland Sure Foot Surfacing (Fort St. John)

Alicia is 30 years old and was born and raised in Fort St. John, BC. She is married to Link Copeland and has three children; Jace, Kenzie and step-son Kael. Alicia and her family are actively involved with local rodeos, attending several rodeos per year and competing in barrel racing and roping events. As a graduate of North Peace Secondary School, Alicia pursued post-secondary education at Olds College and received a diploma in Land and Water Resources with a Land Reclamation major. Once returning home to Fort St. John, she studied welding and received her c and b welding tickets. Alicia has held many roles within the workforce, from welder, to shop foreman, office admin, quality control, school bus driver, and aboriginal student support worker. Currently she has started a new business venture and is very excited to see where it will lead her and her family!


Nathan Murdoch, Pioneer Passive Homes (Smithers)

Nathan Murdoch is the founder of Soko Construction Ltd, a design/build firm that has accrued a diverse portfolio of award winning projects in the Lower Mainland and Northern BC since 2010. Part carpenter, part entrepreneur and part building science geek, Nathan has 15+ years of building experience and has completed his Passive House Designer/Consultant training. A healthy obsession with building science led Nathan to design an ultra-efficient prefabricated building system and start his new company, Pioneer Passive Homes. Each of these homes will use 90% less energy to heat/cool and will produce more clean energy than is consumed.


Sarah & Lyle Spencer, Green Eggs Market (Haida Gwaii)

Sarah and Lyle met in Fredericton, NB, got married and moved to Haida Gwaii, and are now parents to one amazing, kind and gracious little girl named Marlee. They decided to pursue their dream to move to Haida Gwaii to live a more self-sustainable life. They have five goats, three dogs, three cats, and twenty chickens. Sarah and Lyle are passionate about taking care of the planet and believe it is part of their responsibility to teach younger generations to do the same. Through their jobs they’ve each had in the area, they have been able to get to know the many great people of Haida Gwaii. With a passion for health and wellness, they pursued another dream and launched Green Eggs Market on June 30th! It’s a struggle some days to balance family, business and farm but they couldn’t be more grateful for this opportunity!






Stephen Beard, Beard’s Brewing Company (Fort St. John)

We are passionate about our community, we are passionate about beer. Stephen and his family started on this adventure last November and it’s been quite the experience! They purchased used brewing equipment from an expanding southern BC brewery and brought the first taste of fresh, locally crafted beers to northeastern BC. Stephen is so excited to have the opportunity to give back to this amazing community that he grew up in and show his kids that anything can be accomplished with passion and hard work!



Best Growth Opportunity (18-39): a business currently in operations looking to expand through increased staff, new locations or now products and services


Amy Timms, Happi Soles Foot Care (Houston)

Amy Timms is the owner of Happi Soles Foot Care. Amy was born and raised in the Northwest and went to school in Ontario to become a LPN. In 2012, she saw a need for a Foot Care Nurse in the community and went off to Vancouver to do her training. Amy works as a mobile foot care nurse, going to patients’ homes to deliver medical pedicures. Her services covers toes from Smithers to Granisle! This nurse likes to ensure that Happy feet = Happi Soles!


Axel Whalen, Tiny Life Supply (Smithers)

Axel has always been guided by his passion for the environment. Following his studies in mechanical engineering, Axel gained experience working as both a tree planting foreman and a railway engineer before discovering the tiny house movement. Axel fell in love with the combination of architecture, design, and sustainability, and in 2015 began building a tiny house of his own. In response to the difficulty he had sourcing premium supplies and appliances, Axel founded Tiny Life Supply in 2016.


Jessie Taylor, Mama G’s Country Kitchen (Chetwynd)

Jessie Taylor and business partner Gwen Taylor are the proud owners of a tiny red travelling food trailer called Mama G’s Country Kitchen in Chetwynd, BC. They travel around Northern BC to many rodeos and festivals during the summer months, bringing back that home cooked experience people are craving at these busy events. This is their 4th successful year and busier than ever! They are hoping to expand their operations by selling their homemade salad dressings.


Will Beleznay, Complete Carpentry Services Ltd (Fort St. John)

Will Beleznay started in the construction industry at the age of 5, “working” for his step-dad’s carpentry company and has never looked back. After completing his Red Seal certificate and gaining experience supervising large scale projects, Will started his own company in August 2015. Complete Carpentry Services Ltd. has quickly become a trusted company known for its quality work. At 29, Will has introduced a more modern approach to construction, developing a fully transparent quoting process that creates trusting relationships with his clients, coupled with a “Quality Never Compromised” mission statement that has fed a fast-paced growth for his company.


Voting is now open for the ThriveNorth Business Challenge People’s Choice Award. Show your support for small business growth in Northern BC by voting online* today! Click here to vote.

*Online voting closes Thursday October 4th, 2018 at 12pm PST.

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