Indigenous Tourism Start up Program Launches in Whistler

SEA TO SKY PARTNERS CULTIVATE INDIGENOUS TOURISM IDEAS

Coming summer 2019, the Indigenous Tourism Start up Program (ITSP) is managed through the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre (SLCC) in partnership with the Whistler Centre for Sustainability (WCS).  The ITSP builds off of the Squamish Lil’wat St’at’imc Business Start-up Program (2018) and the Social Venture Challenge that the Centre created in 2015 and ran for three years. These initiatives successfully helped kick start new social enterprises in the region, with forty-one enterprises having completed the programs to date.

This year the program will support new business start-ups for members from Indigenous communities in the Fraser Valley to Lillooet region, including, but not limited to: Squamish, Lil̓wat, Lower St’at’imc (N’Quatqua, Samahquam, Skatin, Xa’xtsa), Upper St’at’imc (T’it’q’et, Ts’kw’aylaxw, Xaxli’p, Tsal’alh. Se’k’welwas and Xwisten), Musqueam, Tsleil –Waututh, Sto:Lo, Tswawwassen, Kwantlen, Katzie, Kwikweltlm, and Shishalh Nations.

BUSINESS START UP COURSE AND PITCH EVENT

This program will focus on the development of an Indigenous tourism business concept and a business plan to support its launch. Using the Business Model Canvas as a template for identifying a clear value proposition, customer market, cash flow and revenue streams, participants will test their business concept and learn the tools to develop a full business plan. The program will include four two-day interactive and cohort-based classroom sessions, one-on-one mentorship, guest speakers, online learning, and mentor support. The full program takes place from September to November 2019, with a final juried pitch event in November.  Diana Mulvey from Seeds Consulting will lead two classroom sessions to guide learning on customer relationships, branding and marketing.

Thanks to funding from the BC Rural Dividend Program and Community Futures Howe Sound, all program costs, including accommodation and a travel allowance, are covered for the participants within the region identified. Participants from communities beyond the identified region will be reimbursed to a maximum travel allowance, and will also have costs of accommodation covered.

PROJECT GOALS

  • To encourage, support and inspire Indigenous tourism entrepreneurs in the development of their new business
  • To support a stronger culture of Indigenous-based entrepreneurship
  • To build confidence and capacity in areas pertaining to business planning, financial literacy, marketing, branding, relationship building, and more
  • To increase jobs and employment, and strengthen community-driven economic development

The deadline to apply is August 1, 2019.

DOWNLOAD THE APPLICATION DETAILS

 

Indigenous Tourism Start Up Program

Photo credit: Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre / Logan Swayze

SeedSprouting

New social venture start-up program based in Pemberton gets ideas off the ground

Root Ventures NURTUREs entrepreneurs WITH FOOD OR ART-FOCUSED business CONCEPTs

At a kick off event last month, aspiring entrepreneurs crowded into the local coffee shop for a night of inspiration and networking with community members.  What brought them out for the evening was the prospect of putting their ideas into action. The Sea to Sky corridor has always been a draw for people who like to do things differently and make a living by their own set of rules so they can maximize their time in this beautiful place.  Based on the strong turn out, it is clear that there are plenty of good ideas buried in the fertile soils of the Pemberton Valley, and the time is ripe to get them off the ground.

In Canada, the start-up community has become a fast-growing movement from coast to coast. Incubators, design labs, catalyst programs and more have cultivated innovative and viable business ideas with the support from a network of mentors and fellow entrepreneurs.

The Whistler Centre for Sustainability is the champion for a unique program called Root Ventures that supports food and art-based start-up enterprises in the Pemberton Valley. In addition to having a focus on either food or art, the venture should generate some community benefit – whether it be for our environment or a social cause.  As a Certified BCorp, I’m thrilled to work with purpose-driven entrepreneurs and I’ll be teaching two learning sessions for the course.

Inspirational examples

At the kick-off event, the Whistler Centre hosted two successful entrepreneurs Dion Whyte and Jaye-Jay Berggen to share stories on how their businesses got off the ground and into a thriving and growing venture.

Persephone’s 11-acre farm-based brewery prides itself on producing the highest quality beer. It also grow hops, food and community at its farm just off the ferry terminal in Gibsons, BC. The company is a BCorp, a certification earned largely due to Persephone’s environmental initiatives and community partnerships. In addition to making really tasty craft beer, Persephone converts spent grain into compost, reuses waste water for irrigation, partners with locals growers and chefs to provide a hyper-local culinary experience and hosts numerous community fundraisers and events that brings its community together with visitors from afar.

Sea to Sky Soils supports local food production through cradle-to-cradle composting and closing the recycling loop. Its services help to remove organics from the landfill and this waste becomes nutrient-rich compost for area farms and landscaping projects.  Its founders have established many positive, long lasting relationships within the local First Nations communities who operate a highly efficient compost facility near Rutherford Creek just north of Pemberton. Its innovative system requires only a small infrastructure and is easily duplicated, so many other small communities across BC are consulting with Sea to Sky Soils to set up similar operations that divert waste from landfill.

Root Ventures Program Details

root-ventures-logo_sm-300x221Over the three-month program,  Root Ventures participants  will get assistance shaping their ideas into a business model canvas which maps out key elements for a viable enterprise. They will also receive one-on-one coaching with mentors and support to build capacity for their venture.

The program is open to entrepreneurs based in the Pemberton Valley.

The applicants must also be:

  • Solo entrepreneurs, non-profit organizations, cooperatives or small businesses
  • Aiming to create a community benefit through the enterprise
  • In the start-up phase of developing their business idea or concept
  • Committed to participating in the whole program starting in January through to March 2017

To apply for the program, eligible applicants need to complete an application and submit their idea to the Whistler Centre for Sustainability by January 8, 2017.

DOWNLOAD THE APPLICATION FORM