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Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Che:k’les7et’h’ First Nations business wins award

Tiičma Enterprises is the economic development corporation of Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Che:k’les7et’h’ First Nations
Gary Wilson from Tiičma Enterprises has been awarded one of the 2023 Indigenous Business awards. Photo supplied by BC Acheivement Foundation

A Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Che:k’les7et’h’ First Nation business has been awarded an Indigenous Business Award from the BC Acheivement Foundation.

Gary Wilson and Tiičma Enterprises have been awarded the Community-owned Business of the Year for two or more entities.

Tiičma Enterprises is a wholly owned economic development corporation of the Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Che:k’les7et’h’ First Nations (KCFN). They foster a self-reliant community through diverse economic development ventures. KCFN Holdings LP Board of Directors provides governance oversight of the commercial projects, including management services, aggregates, forestry, fisheries, mariculture, tourism, hospitality, and retail.

“These ventures align with the community’s economic development plan, enhancing infrastructure, services, and the skills of KCFN citizens,” said a release from the BC Acheivement Foundation. “Despite its small size, KCFN has made a significant impact through determined pursuit of economic stability, garnering praise from customers and forging successful partnerships across industries and around the world.”

“Since 2012, Tiičma Enterprises has seen impressive growth by responding to market demands through strategic planning, investments, and training. The Tiičma Hospitality LP is a prime example, expanding its tourism offerings by investing in upgraded facilities,” the release says. “These moves solidify its market presence and contribute to employment and training opportunities. KCFN’s commitment to capacity building and succession planning is evident in their focus on professional development, mentoring citizens into management roles and attracting distant community members with stable careers and supporting citizen entrepreneurship whether in partnership or via procurement. The Group of Businesses also collaborates through a roundtable, uniting First Nations, stakeholders, governments, and organizations to address key issues such as pandemic resilience, climate change, ecosystem restoration, and new economic prospects, all aimed at bolstering Kyuquot’s economies and resources.”

Presented annually, the Indigenous Business Award program shares remarkable stories of Indigenous business excellence – while setting an inspiring example for the next generation of entrepreneurs. In addition to providing an authentic space to showcase successes and drive change, the awards help build stronger connections between Indigenous and non-Indigenous economies in the province. By recognizing outstanding people and businesses, the IBA gives voice to Indigenous entrepreneurship while modelling success for others to follow. Now in its 15th year, the program counts over 220 remarkable businesses among its alumni.

The whole list of awardees is:

- Young Entrepreneur of the Year: The Ballantyne Project, Dwight Ballantyne – Maple Ridge

- Business of the Year – one-to-two person enterprise: Daxgedim Haanak Nation Building, Marcia Turner – Comox

- Business of the Year – three-to-ten person enterprise: Totem Design House, Erin Brillon – Courtenay

- Business of the Year – 11+ person enterprise: Jelly Academy, Darian Kovacs – Fort Langley

- Community-owned Business of the Year – one entity: Sugar Cane Archaeology, Whiteny Spearing – Williams Lake

- Community-owned Business of the Year – two or more entities: Tiičma Enterprises, Gary Wilson – Campbell River

- Business Partnership of the Year: Shxw’owhamel Land Sea Limited Partnership (SLLP) – Hope

- Award of Distinction for Lifetime Achievement: Teara Fraser – Richmond

The recipients will be recognized in a formal gala ceremony – open to the public – held on Wednesday, November 1 at the Fairmont Hotel in Vancouver.

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