How IBA entrepreneurs are helping build economic strength & cultural resurgence

The Indigenous Business Award (IBA) program serves as a platform elevating and fostering Indigenous entrepreneurship. The program plays a key role showcasing Indigenous businesses success which helps to empower youth and generate cultural resurgence while building significant socio-economic opportunities across the province.  

“Winning this award highlights the vision and gives an avenue for young people – they can be successful at anything they want to do.  Keep working at it, having the vision and, at the same time, looking after Mother Earth and making it healthier.” Ken Cameron, 2021 Award of Distinction laureate, Indigenous Business Award. 

Since its launch in 2008, the IBA program has honoured and shared the impact of over 200 businesses all part of a strong alumni of mentors and ambassadors throughout the province. The program continues to support and nurture a growing economy of Indigenous entrepreneurs as reflected in the 2021 IBA program recipients. Awardee films can be viewed here to get a sense of the innovation and success of these businesses. 

As IBA Award of Distinction laureate, 2020 Carol Anne Hilton stated: 

“[The IBA] awardees reflect the achievements of Indigenous Business in BC. Their efforts are accelerating the Indigenous economy. In doing so they are improving lives, fueling economic growth, furthering reconciliation, and providing a growing young workforce with opportunity. Success breeds success and recognizing Indigenous organizations builds awareness of Indigenous leadership, models a path for others, and inspires further success.  This is Indigenomics in action. This leadership contributes to the possibility that a 100 billion-dollar Indigenous annual economy can happen by 2024.”

The 2021 Indigenous Business Awardees serve as examples of resilience and innovation during a tumultuous year and each entrepreneur delivers a message of hope and optimism for the future. With their tenacity and hard work, Indigenous businesses will continue to be a driving force in British Columbia. Join BC Achievement in sharing these models of success and inspiring change. The awardees are: 

Young Entrepreneur of the Year:  
Elijah Mack-Stirling – Kekuli Cafe Merritt 
Kekuli Cafe Merritt is listed as one of the best places to eat in town, providing a traditional Indigenous ambience while reflecting the owners’ passion for cooking and creating a space where all are welcomed and acknowledged. 

Business of the Year – one-to-two person enterprise:  
Sisters Sage, Vancouver
Sisters Sage is an Indigenous brand that handcrafts wellness and self-care products inspired by the owners’ culture and traditions.  

Business of the Year – three-to-ten person enterprise:  
Indigenous Corporate Training Inc., Port Coquitlam 
Indigenous Corporate Training helps thousands of people and organizations every year build informed, effective, and respectful relationships with Indigenous Peoples and communities. 

Business of the Year – 11+ person enterprise:  
Tsawwassen Shuttles Inc., Tsawwassen 
Tsawwassen Shuttles Inc. first started offering marine services for environmental and fisheries research. The business has since evolved to meet the growing demands of the market providing a wide range of land and marine charters. 

Community-Owned Business of the Year – one entity:  
Thunderbird RV Park & Cottage Resort, Campbell River 
Thunderbird RV Park and Cottage Resort, operated by Wei Wai Kum Nation at for over 40 years, provides year-round accommodations with 95 fully serviced RV sites and four beautifully appointed cottages. 

Community-Owned Business of the Year – two or more entities:
Gitmaxmak’ay Nisga’a Economic Development Corporation, Prince Rupert 
The Gitmaxmak‘ay Nisga’a Economic Development Corporation (GNEDC) is a non-profit organization responsible for delivering language and culture revitalization programs for the approximately 1600 Nisga’a citizens living in Prince Rupert.  

Business Partnership of the Year:  
Salish Seas LP, North Vancouver
Salish Seas LP focuses on the management of commercial fishing licenses and the marketing of high-quality seafood products operating both in and for the three partnering Nations:  the Musqueam, Tsleil-Waututh and Tla’amin Nations. 

Award of Distinction for Lifetime Achievement: 
Ken Cameron, Moberly Lake 
Ken Cameron is the former Chief of the Saulteau First Nations.  From the beginning of his entrepreneurial ventures, to his role as Chief, Ken has led important initiatives in business, clean energy, wildlife preservation, government regulatory policies and community health. 

Congratulations to the 2021 Indigenous Business Awardees! Watch their short films at bcachievement.com 

BC Achievement: Elevate Excellence. Share Success. Inspire Change.   

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