ThriveNorth Business Challenge
Presented by BDC

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

Congratulations to the winners of the 2018 ThriveNorth Business Challenge!


Best New Business (18-28 years old) – 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

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.


Best New Business (29-39 years old) – 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

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!


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

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.


People’s Choice Award: The entrepreneur that received a combination of the most online and in-person audience votes.

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.


SPECIAL THANKS TO OUR COMMUNITY PARTNERS

Urban Systems
City of Fort St. John

Congratulations to the winners of the 2017 ThriveNorth Business Challenge!

Best Growth Opportunity: A business currently in operations looking to expand through increased staff, new locations or new products and services

  • Winner: Marcie LeBlanc, LeBLANC Boutique - $10,000

Best New Business (18-28): A business at any stage prior to launch, by an entrepreneur between the ages of 18 and 28

  • Winner: Kevin Febril, Wandering Bear - $10,000

Best New Business (29-39): A business at any stage prior to launch, by an entrepreneur between the ages of 29-39

  • Winner: Bryan Last & Aleksa Havelaar, White Goat Coffee - $10,000

Audience Award: A business at any stage prior to launch, by an entrepreneur between the ages of 29-39

  • Winner: Andréa Harmel & Kory Yamashita, Butter Hair Salon - $5,000

Click here to find out more about the winners →

Thank you to all the outstanding young and emerging entrepreneurs who participated in the 2017 ThriveNorth Business Challenge and to everyone in the community that showed their support for these business owners.

LEARN MORE ABOUT HOW YOU CAN GET INVOLVED.

Check the ThriveNorth blog regularly for news, updates and inspiration! We talk about upcoming events, learning opportunities, entrepreneurship and business in Northern British Columbia.

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