ThriveNorth Business Challenge

The ThriveNorth Business Challenge is an open competition where young people aged 18-39 from Northern B.C. can showcase their business ideas and get the support they need to make them a reality.

Congratulations to the 2019 ThriveNorth Business Challenge Finalists!

Click on a category below to see the finalists.

Charlie Broome – The Mutty Paw (Fort St. John)

Contestant HeadshotCharlie Broome has always had a love for animals since growing up on a cattle ranch, but dogs have a piece of her soul. Charlie has turned this passion into her full-time career. The Mutty Paw is the first and only mobile grooming company in Northeast BC, providing accessibility and affordability. The Mutty Paw also engages with other small businesses and non-profits to create new and unique experiences within the communities she visits. This is a rapidly growing business with so much room to expand, and her priority is in improving what already exists to ensure it continues to thrive.

Baljit Singh – Countryside Pizzeria (Dawson Creek)

Contestant HeadshotWorking in a kitchen and meeting new people is something Baljit always did in his free time. Working in restaurants in Canada gave him a platform to meet and serve people every day. Baljit turned that hobby into a profession and now, as he walks the streets of Dawson Creek, people recognize him for his amazing pizzas and donairs. Having this connection with his local community gives him the confidence to open his own small venture, a pizzeria, and serve people in one of the best places on Earth.

Cameron Bell – Farmer Cam Foods (Terrace)

Contestant HeadshotAfter completing an Environmental Studies degree at UNBC, Cameron spent two years in local government and economic development before committing to a career in agriculture. He has worked with farms, social enterprises and urban agriculture consulting firms in BC and his home province of Ontario, returning to the Northwest last fall. Terrace provided the ideal confluence of agricultural, recreational and musical opportunities for Cam, who is starting Farmer Cam’s Foods this year. Farmer Cam’s Foods produces fresh vegetables for farmers market and wholesale customers in the region. With an entrepreneurial attitude and unbridled stoke, Cam looks forward to growing a business in the northwest.

Riley McNeice – Not So Shaggy (Prince Rupert)

Contestant HeadshotTwenty-year-old Riley McNeice is Prince Rupert’s 2019 Young Entrepreneur of the Year and owner/operator of Not So Shaggy, the 2019 Rookie Business of the Year. Riley strives to make the community she has grown up in more dog-owner-friendly by offering services that can only be accessed in the next town over - 140km each way. She attended Western Dog Grooming School and is a certified dog groomer. Riley opened her grooming business and is now expanding into a dog boarding, daycare and training facility. Riley will be continuing her training this September at the West Coast Canine Academy to be an accredited dog trainer.

Katy Peck – Canadian Acres (Charlie Lake)

Contestant HeadshotKaty and Clay Peck own Canadian Acres, a 160 acre homestead. Katy holds an MBA and is a Permaculture Designer with a passion for gardening and caring for her animals. Clay has a Bachelors in Environmental Science, is a professional Agrologist who believes Regenerative Farming is the only way forward. They believe eating local and knowing where our food comes from is important now more than ever. Creating small-batch gourmet canned goods, wild forage skin care and raising beyond-organic produce and meats, they want to provide high quality, nutritious, delicious, locally sourced food, while teaching people how to grow and create their own.

Kristen Auger – Wâpikwanew Arts (Fort St. John)

Contestant HeadshotKristy Auger is a nêhiyaw (Plains Cree) artist from Fort St. John. She is a member of the Bigstone Cree Nation (Wabasca, Alberta). Kristy has a Bachelor of Arts in Indigenous Art from First Nations University in Regina and her work combines block printmaking with beadwork. Her love of the arts inspired her to create Wâpikwanew Arts. Wâpikwanew Arts will teach people about Indigenous arts, culture and languages. Her vision is to give people of all ages the tools they need to empower themselves through the creation of artwork. She wants people to feel pride in who they are and gain the self-confidence one needs to blossom.

Dannielle Young – Divine by Dannielle (Smithers)

Contestant HeadshotDannielle Young recently opened a holistic spa specializing in medical skin rejuvenation. She has 14 years of experience in the esthetics industry, working in a variety of spa environments from seven-star private yachts to high-end nail boutiques. Through her life experiences, she feels that she has the knowledge and drive to make this a very beneficial spa to have in the North.

Lucy Sager – All Nations Driving Academy (Terrace)

Contestant HeadshotLucy has an extensive knowledge of Northwest British Columbia, along with over 20 years of experience living in and working with rural British Columbia First Nations communities. Lucy started All Nations Driving Academy, 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. Working to further make a difference not only in the community but in the boardroom, Lucy earned her MBA from UNBC in 2013 and she currently resides in Terrace, British Columbia with her two sons.

Rachel Vowles - Mile 0 Farrier Company (Dawson Creek)

Contestant HeadshotRachel and her spouse have been active equine enthusiasts their entire lives. From working on B.C.’s largest cattle ranches to competing with sport horses, they knew horses were always going to be a huge part of their lives. After completing their education in Advanced Farrier Science at KPU, they opened a horseshoeing company in Northern B.C. After a few short months, they realized the North had a need for their services, so they purchased their first home in Sunset Prairie, B.C. Rachel and her spouse hope to complete their certifications to become journeymen farriers and take on apprentices to continue supporting education in their trade.

Devrey Crossley – Whole Wheat and Honey Cafe (Fort St. John)

Contestant HeadshotDevrey Crossley is passionate about food. She studied commerce, accounting and finance at university, but quickly realized that something was missing. She took over operations of Whole Wheat and Honey Cafe in September 2016, a venture which allows her to blend her skills with her desires in creative and challenging ways every day. Whole Wheat and Honey Cafe serves down-to-earth, locally sourced, homemade fare while supporting local musicians and artists. Within these walls, you’ll find cozy nooks and sunbeams to settle in with a hot drink or a glass of wine, smiling cooks and barista’s and delicious, wholesome comfort food. It is the beating heart of Fort St John.

Katrina Slorstad – Imperative Recycling (Fort St. James)

Contestant HeadshotKatrina was born and raised in Fort St James and considers herself an “Eco-Warrior”. She has always had a deep appreciation for the environment. After high school, she started her own curbside recycling company. Eight years later, it is her full-time business and she is exploring the option of purchasing a local bottle depot. If she was to win the ThriveNorth Business Challenge, she would upgrade this building to begin accepting end-of-life electronics in addition to the beverage containers. She has learned that education is key when encouraging communities to recycle and she fully intends to launch an education campaign to promote all recycling options in this town.

Brittany Kinahan – Halo Athletic Apparel (Terrace)

Contestant HeadshotBrittany Kinahan is the owner and creative brains behind Halo Athletic Apparel and Designs in Terrace, B.C. She and her team mix their love of sewing and high-end fabrics to create custom garments sized for real people rather than conforming to generic sizes. The company began as an Aerial Arts apparel side hustle in Victoria BC in 2013, and in 2017 blossomed into a full-time dream that has expanded to include sports bras, leggings, swimwear, maternity wear and more.

Thank you to all who applied to this year’s Business Challenge.

Questions? Contact

*The People’s Choice 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).

Media Partner

CBC British Columbia

Congratulations to the winners of the 2018 ThriveNorth Business Challenge!

Winner: (Holly-Anne Ritchie & Shay Bergunder, BowTie), $10,000

Contestant HeadshotShay 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.

Winner: (Stephen Beard, Beard’s Brewing Company), $10,000

Contestant HeadshotWe 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!

Winner: (Jessie Taylor, Mama G’s Country Kitchen), $10,000

Contestant HeadshotJessie 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.

Winner: (Axel Whalen, Tiny Life Supply), $5,000

Contestant HeadshotAxel 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.

Visit us on Facebook to see photos from the 2018 Business Challenge.


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