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.

As ThriveNorth enters its fifth year, we’re excited to introduce a new program for Northern B.C. – the ThriveNorth Northern Trainer Network (TNNTN)!

Why establish a ThriveNorth Northern Trainer Network?

A key part of Futurpreneur Canada’s support for aspiring entrepreneurs are the Entrepreneurs in Residence (EiRs), nested in the regional hubs across the country.  Our very own Chad Fryling- the  EiR for western provinces –  has worked on ThriveNorth since 2014. Chad has delivered multiple Business Planning Workshops and worked one on one with over 300 young people in Northern B.C.

To date, the impact of Chad’s work has been effective and impactful. With that in mind, we wanted to leverage the local networks we have established in Northern B.C.  while creating ways to directly support the local businesses that we help to launch.   

Who are the ThriveNorth’s trainers?

We’re excited to share that our inaugural TNNTN officially launched in May 2018.We hosted three northern trainers,  from Prince Rupert, Terrace and Fort St. John, to attend a two day train- the- trainer education workshop in Futupreneurs’ regional hub office in Vancouver. Chad, our rock star Entrepreneur in Residence, developed and delivered a modular training curriculum based on the business planning workshops he has been delivering in Northern B.C.  For Chad, it was great to be able to share his learning regarding delivering business start-up training in smaller, more remote B.C. communities.

“As a born and raised BC resident, I feel so lucky to be a part of the Northern Training Network and further these business connections throughout our amazing province. Having these awesome trainers who are aware of the specific needs and challenges of their regions is an important key to continue building out the network of support among young, aspiring entrepreneurs in the North.”
– Chad Fryling

Our three trainers are a wonderful mix of expertise, skillsets, passion and business experience. Reid Skelton Morven, born and bred in Prince Rupert, was a 2017 ThriveNorth Business Challenge finalist and recipient of a ThriveNorth Small Project Grant. Reid defines an entrepreneurial personality and leads three ventures:

Reid was interested in being one of ThriveNorth’s Northern Trainers to give back to the community that has given him so much.

“I felt this opportunity would allow me to give back to the next wave of young entrepreneurs in the North, the ThriveNorth initiative had done so much for me…. I love bringing my knowledge and experience into a practical setting, where I can sit down with likeminded people and those that are willing to learn as much as I am, and learn together.”
– Reid Skelton Morven

In Terrace, David Try is a policy and management expert with a long and varied career as a public servant, college instructor and dean, business owner and business coach. He is excited to work as a trainer for ThriveNorth and connect with young people in his community committed to launching businesses as a career option.

“The greatest gift of getting older is wisdom (sometimes) and the greatest curse is forgetting your wisdom (sometimes!).  I know from personal experience the significant challenges of starting a business, the joy of success, the pain of failure…  I hope, and believe, that I/we may be able to help new entrepreneurs move those odds towards success!”
– David Try

On the other side of the province, we are very pleased to have Anna Barley of Strategies North  as our trainer for Northeastern B.C. Anna delivered her first workshop series in May in Fort St. John, right after the training in the Vancouver office, which was a great success!  ! Anna has deep experience working with Northern based entrepreneurs and delivering  training for the Aboriginals Mastering Entrepreneurship program on behalf of the Northeast Aboriginal Training Centre (NEABC).

“I think it went really well and the feedback seemed very positive. We had a great group and I really enjoyed myself.”
– Anna Barley

Anna delivering her first workshop.

Anna delivering her first workshop.

Are there differences with launching a business in a small, northern town versus a more densely populated southern urban centre?

When asked, Reid believes it’s all about changing the mindset of those who live in the north.

“I think what’s needed in the North and Prince Rupert in particular, would be an opportunity to provide a change in mindset for those on the North Coast, that it is possible to be economically self- reliant and start your own business,” said Reid. “I think launching a business in the North is very unique, as there is a totally different mindset up here compared to urban settings. Up here, you have an opportunity to build community and a vast array of networks as opposed to down south where things can seem like you’re in a sea of faces, I believe in the North you can build more tightly knit relationships.”

David knows the logistics of Northern B.C. living create unique challenges for business owners. “Smaller population / client base, with networking and  reputation being at least twice as important.  In the North, popping by the grocery store to grab something for dinner is a social event!  Humorously, when was the last time Vancouver or Victoria was cut off – in the North, winter road closures are an (occasional) fact of life!”

The TNNTN is currently delivering Business Planning Workshop Series in three locations in June2018; Dawson Creek, Prince Rupert and Terrace. Check out the events page at  for timing and location of the workshops. Please note, to be eligible to apply for the ThriveNorth Small Project Grant, people need to attend both workshops in a series and meet the age criteria (18 – 39 years old).

Written by: Joanne Norris, ThriveNorth Project Manager, Futurpreneur Canada

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