Terrace entrepreneurs conquered this year’s ThriveNorth Business Challenge with three of the four awards going to local residents.
Two Terracites took home the grand prize of $10,000 each, with the third local entrepreneur securing $5,000 based on popular vote.
The winners, who took part in extensive training and preparation for the competition, delivered their business pitches to a live panel of judges in the final competition in Terrace on May 8.
The judges selected the best business pitches from entrepreneurs looking to launch or grow their start-ups, in addition to a People’s Choice award, worth $5,000, that was awarded purely through public voting.
These young entrepreneurs in Terrace received awards and prize money:
Farmer Cam’s Foods (Cameron Bell) — Best New Business (ages 18-28) — $10,000
With an increase in awareness of local food production and consumption, Cameron Bell’s new business is all about growing a variety of produce and microgreens to cater the region.
Farmer Cam’s Foods is sold weekly at the Skeena Valley Farmers Market and will be available at Hidden Acres, where it’s also locally grown.
“It was nice to be able to share this with people in the community and people that have been trying my microgreens over the past few months here,” says Bell.
Bell says the $10,000 prize will be used towards improving his business and is planning to build a walk-in cooler to maintain product freshness. He also wants to purchase a flame leader, a specialized tool for weeding, to keep weeds away without pesticides and maximize his crop field.
“It’s just a really great networking opportunity and a great opportunity to celebrate young entrepreneurs and there’s a lot here. It was a lot of fun getting to know the other finalists from across the Northwest,” he says. “I think this really shows that people starting new businesses here [in Terrace] have a keen sense of what it takes to start and maintain a small business. And I am really excited to see where Britt and Lucy end up with their businesses over the next few years here as well.”
All Nations Driving Academy (Lucy Sager) — Best New Business (ages 29-39) — $10,000
Transportation can be a difficult issue for remote and First Nations communities, and Lucy Sager knows this all too well living in northern B.C. where there can be vast distances separating resources.
Sager started All Nations Driving Academy last year to provide an accessible driving school for class 5 licenses. The business works to deliver a curriculum and programs in partnership with communities to meet resident needs. The hope is to give them the resources they need to set up a driving school of their own.
Often trades training does not cover driver’s licenses, which are often required for the job. For individuals without a license, this can be a major setback, Sager says.
For her, the $10,000 prize is a big opportunity for her to move her business forward and she says it’s nice to be recognized for her work.
“I am super grateful, it always feels good as an entrepreneur because it’s not always easy to be acknowledged by your peers in the business community, so that means a lot. It’s also extremely helpful in the work that we do.”
Sager will be using the money to publish more copies of professional student driving manuals as demand grows in communities across northern B.C.
“I’m so excited to see more entrepreneurs step up,” she says. “It’s super scary and it takes a ton of work…but if you have an idea, follow through and make it happen. You’re going to fail and it might be small, it might be big, but make sure you fail forward.”
Halo Athletic Apparel and Designs (Brittany Kinahan) — People’s Choice Award — $5,000
Brittany Kinahan’s home-based business specializes in custom designed leggings, tops, sports bras and other items. From choosing the fabric to the design client’s specific measurements and a budget in mind, the customer plays a major role in the production.
She says she’s been saving to purchase a cover stitch machine that would help with the production of her clothing, especially as she plans to launch a winter-wear line by the end of this year. The approximate cost of the machine is $7,400.
“I’m honored and really, really excited. And it’s amazing to have that sort of opportunity up here,” says Kinahan. “This is one heck of an amazing cash prize to help grow our business.”
To find out more about Halo Athletic Apparel and Designs, visit her Facebook page.
The fourth winner was Imperative Recycling by Katrina Slorstad from Fort St. James. She was awarded $10,000 in the Best Growth Opportunity (ages 18-39) category.