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.
This year we’ve had the opportunity to connect with even more young entrepreneurs as we expanded our reach to the small business community in Northeast BC. To mark the move we hosted the 2018 ThriveNorth Business Challenge in Fort St. John where we welcomed an array of innovative business ideas each leaving a valuable impact and significant contribution to rural communities across Northern BC.
As we bring another year to a close, we caught up with ThriveNorth Business Challenge Best New Business (20-39) winner, Stephen Beard, to learn more about his business and how ThriveNorth offers invaluable support and promise for small business owners like him.
Read on to see the official video from the 2018 ThriveNorth Business Challenge.
Tell us about yourself
I am a passionate person who believes in chasing dreams. I grew up in Fort St. John and love my community. I have two young children and want to show them that they can accomplish anything with hard work and a positive attitude.
Why start your own business?
I am (still!) a full-time city firefighter who loves BC and beer!
My family and I couldn’t believe that Fort St. John didn’t have a craft brewery, and we wanted to give back to our amazing community, so we changed that and started Beard’s Brewing Company!
We create fresh, local beers made with BC-sourced ingredients. Our goal is to create a fun, family friendly space where locals and tourists can come and socialize and enjoy great beers.
What has been a milestone moment for you?
Opening has been our biggest milestone, and thanks to Thrive North cans will be arriving very soon!
ThriveNorth has helped us with education, networking and the $10,000 from the Business Challenge is now allowing us to open a whole new distribution channel by canning our beers.
Describe what it’s like being a small business in Northern BC
We support many community organizations and they help us. The Fort St. John library does a book club night at the brewery, and the city of Fort St. John and community of Hudson’s Hope has partnered with us for multiple beer gardens. We have worked with so many charitable to assist in their fundraising efforts. The list is long!
What’s your advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?
It’s not always going to be easy, but in the end, it can be more than worth it!
See all the action from the 2018 ThriveNorth Business Challenge!