First Aboriginal Business Awards Recipients Announced

December 9, 2008

VANCOUVER - The recipients of the inaugural British Columbia Aboriginal Business Awards were announced today by Premier Gordon Campbell and Keith Mitchell, chair of the BC Achievement Foundation. The recipients will be honoured at a gala celebration on January 27, 2009 in Vancouver.

"Congratulations to these 21 businesses for the leadership and entrepreneurial spirit they have shown in being selected for the first-ever B.C. Aboriginal Business Awards," said Premier Campbell. "Each one is an outstanding reflection of the contribution the province's Aboriginal business community is making to keep our economy strong for the future."

The BC Aboriginal Business Awards were launched in October 2008 to honour and celebrate business acumen. Eight inaugural award recipients were selected. In addition, a further group of Aboriginal businesses were noted, in each category, for their outstanding achievement.

"Our thanks to the jury who had the difficult task of selecting these inaugural award recipients from so many outstanding businesses," said Mitchell. "The BC Achievement Foundation extends its appreciation to the jury members, Paulette Flamond of Ft. St. John, Chief Michael LeBourdais, Clinton, Chief Judith Sayers, Port Alberni and Ruth Williams, Kamloops for their thoughtful deliberations."

"The winners of these awards come from all corners of the province," said Michael de Jong, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation. "They demonstrate just how strong the pool of Aboriginal business talent is. I hope that these awards will encourage the next generation of Aboriginal business people to have faith in their ideas, set up their own businesses and be well-positioned to receive one of these awards in years to come."

The 2008 Aboriginal Business Award recipients:
Young Female Aboriginal Entrepreneur of the Year
Recipient: Cristy Johnson, Cristy's Jewelry Designs, Victoria

Young Male Aboriginal Entrepreneur of the Year
Recipient: Jacob Beaton, CopperMoon Communications Inc., Hazelton
Outstanding Business Achievement: Alano Edzerza, Edzerza's Gallery; Dean Cloutier, Shrapnel Designs

Business of the Year - One to Two Person Enterprise
Recipient: Tryna Gower Photography, Dawson Creek
Outstanding Business Achievement: Artifaax,Vancouver; Bikram's Yoga College of India, North Vancouver

Business of the Year - Two to Ten Person Enterprise
Recipient: Chase Office Interiors, West Vancouver
Outstanding Business Achievement: Little Miss Chief, Westbank; Wind Spirit Enterprises Ltd., Powell River

Business of the Year - Ten or More Person Enterprise
Tie - Recipients: BC General Contracting Inc., Westbank; and Tin Wis Best Western Resort, Tofino
Outstanding Business Achievement: Chinook Cove Contracting Ltd., Kamloops; Paul Paquette and Sons Contracting Ltd., Chetwynd

Community-Owned Business of the Year
Recipient: Metlakatla Development Corporation, Prince Rupert
Outstanding Business Achievement: Doig River Energy, Fort St. John; Ivy Green Husky, Ladysmith; Pine Acres Home, Westbank

Joint Venture Business of the Year
Recipient: Nicola-Forest Products Ltd., Merritt (partner - Ardew Wood Products Ltd.)
Outstanding Business Achievement: Referral Tracking System: Nesklolith and Adams Lake Bands (partner - DR Systems Inc.); Takaya Development Ltd Partnership: Burrard Indian Band (partner - Native Strategic Investments)

The BC Aboriginal Awards are presented by the BC Achievement Foundation, an independent foundation established and endowed by the Province of British Columbia to celebrate community services, the arts, humanities and enterprise. The awards are supported by B.C.'s Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation.

For more information visit


Contact: Nora Newlands
British Columbia Achievement Foundation
604-261-977 or 1-866-882-6088

Contact: Bridgitte Anderson
Press Secretary
Office of the Premier

Contact: Maria Wilkie
Communications Director
Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation

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