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.
Lucy Sager grew up in rural Northern BC among many First Nations communities and was exposed firsthand to some of the heartache around the highway of tears and issues of transportation as it relates to basic needs and employment. She knows that running out to get diapers or milk can be a huge issue for those in remote communities. With Northern BC as home, Lucy was dedicated to investing in the well-being of her community and its members.
This led Lucy to start her own business, All Nations Driving Academy, focusing on providing the education necessary for class 5 drivers. Lucy stresses the importance of supporting First Nations communities through the process of owning and operating their very own local driving school. All Nations Driving Academy supports community members through business setup, marketing, instructor training, ICBC certification and an after-care program if they choose to ensure their success. “This allows the community to create a job often on reserve, capture the leakage of training dollars into the employment position, and have an entity that can produce revenue within the greater region.”
Prior to starting her own business, Lucy worked in construction as a consultant, facilitating joint ventures between First Nations communities and construction companies. One of the major things she noticed in this role was the vast amount of money being spent on training that did not cover driver’s licenses, causing a massive barrier for many individuals. “It’s like this moment that you realize that stack of lumber sitting by the canyon was placed there so you can build the bridge and that you’ve always had the skills to do so.” Lucy knew there was a problem and she was bound to fix it.
With the support of ThriveNorth and other local partners like SINCRE, Lucy was able to mend this gap in the industry. At the grand opening of her new business, Lucy encountered a gentleman who came up to her and asked how quickly he could get going, as he had just landed a job for a construction company and needed a driver’s license. Before she knew it, there was a lineup of people signing up for driving lessons. “My eyes were watery because I knew this wasn’t about a driver’s license, this was about providing for families, feeling value in your self-worth and setting your life on a new course. It was bigger that what I had imagined by way of what was important not to your wallet but to your heart.”
As for advice to other aspiring entrepreneurs, Lucy wants them to know that failing is part of the process and is something you cannot avoid. “Just remember to fail forward. These lessons are going to propel you to where you always wanted to be and, in most cases, further if you let them. Don’t waste too much time feeling sorry for yourself. Dust yourself off, get back in the saddle and ask what does the world need.”