Nuu-chah-nulth takes home two awards at the Vancouver Island Business Excellence event

On Jan. 26 businesses across Vancouver Island gathered at the Nanaimo conference center to celebrate excellence in their respective industries. Among them were Nuu-chah-nulth owned Naas Foods and Čims Guest House.

Stevie Dennis, a member of Ahousaht First Nation, co-founder and owner of Naas Foods, was shocked when he found out they won in the Food and Beverage Category.

“I’d say it is a result and proof of all our hard work,” said Dennis. “We’ve been working pretty hard out here on the coast, and working with kelp for about four and a half years now.”

Tseshaht Market holds grand re-opening to celebrate partnership with Western Nations

After closing the gas pumps for upgrades on Sept. 12, Tseshaht Market celebrated their grand re-opening in partnership with Western Nations as their new fuel supplier, on Saturday, Oct. 29.

With their previous contract coming to a close, Tseshaht Market found Western Nations, supplied by Federation Co-operatives Limited, to be a brand well aligned with their values and aspirations.

Cannabis shop sees business growth since moving to Hupacasath reserve

Green Coast Dispensary spent August 6 celebrating a key date in the history of their business. The date saw the business’s ownership and management throw a free barbecue event for the public to celebrate the anniversary of moving to their River Road location.

Green Coast manager Graham Sayers says the event felt like a great way to thank the community and give back.

Labour shortages felt in communities across the west coast

Communities across the west coast of Vancouver Island are facing labour shortages, forcing some businesses to adjust their operations. 

Lewis and Cathy George have been operating the House of Himwitsa, a First Nations art gallery and lodge in Tofino, since 1991.

In previous years, Cathy said their storefront would be open from 9:30 a.m. until as late as 7 p.m. 

But without enough staff, Cathy said they now have to close their shop as early as 4 p.m.

“We don’t have the staff,” she said. “It’s kind of heartbreaking.”

Chims Guest House showcases new tiny home at second annual festival

Showcasing what’s possible by Indigenous-owned businesses was the main message behind the second annual Cims Fest at Chims Guest House on Tseshaht territory.

Naomi Nicholson and her husband Ed hosted the event for the second consecutive year at their property on Aug. 6. The couple, who own Chims Guest House at 6890 Pacific Rim Hwy., want to bring Indigenous and non-Indigenous people together to build a relationship through a shared cultural experience. The festival showcased Indigenous artwork and vendors, a fashion show, traditional food, storytelling, song and dance.

Hupačasath First Nation benefits from boost in funding, draws liquid ‘gold’ from bigleaf maple trees

Hupačasath First Nation on Vancouver Island’s west coast is creating a unique flavour of maple syrup using sap from bigleaf maple trees.

As part of the Indigenous Bioeconomy Program, the nation is benefitting from nearly $112,000 in funding from the province towards the business venture, named Kleekhoot Gold.

The funding is designed to support Indigenous partners lead the development of a forest bioeconomy, according to the Ministry of Forests.

Regenerative ocean farming in Barkley Sound produces sustainable shellfish seed

Regenerative ocean farming is taking place in Barkley Sound in the traditional territory of the Huu-ay-aht First Nations to maintain the sustainable creation of ocean products like oysters and clams.

Aquaculture company Nova Harvest has been operating out of Bamfield since 2011, producing oyster and clam seed for local shellfish farmers while applying innovative, science-based solutions to support the development of the shellfish industry in the province.

New fund will assist Nuu-chah-nulth businesses seeking large loans

Officials with the Nuu-chah-nulth Economic Development Corporation (NEDC) can now start assisting some businesses with grand and costly plans.

Established in 1984, the NEDC is an Aboriginal Financial Institution (AFI) which has been providing loans to small- and medium-sized Indigenous businesses throughout Vancouver Island.

Earlier this month it was announced that $10 million had been advanced to the NEDC through the Indigenous Growth Fund (IGF), a new initiative created and managed by the National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association (NACCA).

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