Splatsin companies earn BC Indigenous Business awards

Two companies up for same award from Enderby band; one wins, one is runner-up

It’s rare that two companies from the same band end up finalists for the same honour.

But it’s happened to two companies from the Splatsin Band near Enderby.

Awardees of the 10th Annual BC Indigenous Business Awards (IBA) were announced by the BC Achievement Foundation, the program’s presenting organization.

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“The BC Indigenous Business Awards’ program has elevated over 170 outstanding businesses from throughout the province for the past 10 years,” said Scott McIntyre, foundation chair. “As we mark this important decade of excellence and look to the future, the 2018 cohort of awardees lead the way as examples of entrepreneurship, commitment and extraordinary vision, all of which play a key role in the strength of our provincial economy.

Each category has an entity, and two finalists (these awards do not use the word winner).

Splatsin’s Yucwmenlúcwu (Yook-men-loo-que), Caretakers of the Land LLP was the entity in the Community-Owned Business of the Year category. Receiving an outstanding business achievement honour in the same category was Quilakwa Investments, along with Painted Rock Aggregates & Contracting LLP from Savona.

“We do have occasions where different companies from the same band are nominated in different categories, but it doesn’t happen very often that two are up for the same award,” said Cathryn Wilson, executive director of the BC Achievement Foundation.

Yucwmenlúcwu (Caretakers of the Land) is a cultural and natural resource management company that provides a complete range of environmental, archaeology, and forestry services. With a highly skilled team of professionals and certified technicians, it manages and delivers government, industry and private sector projects from concept to completion with the highest level of standards at every stage.

Quilakwa Investments Ltd. operates a full-service gas station on Highway 97a south of Enderby. The station is complete with a Tim Hortons, double-bay car wash, native art gallery and office space.

Yukwmenlúcwu president Les Skaalid has seen the evolution of the business over a 10-year time period.

“When I was first hired by the (Splatsin) band, it was just myself, a desk and a part-time assistant. Now we have over 25 employees and are having a hard time keeping up to the demand in the marketplace,” said Skaalid.

“We’ve developed a strong reputation with our clients for providing quality work in a manner that integrates Splatsin culture and environmental values. We are excited about the future growth opportunities in this industry.”

The company is currently maxed out on office space and is looking to find more space in the spring.

“It’s a good problem to have,” said Skaalid.

The award celebrates the important journey the Secwepemc people are on, said Splatsin Chief Wayne Christian, pointing out that in 1910, a memorial to Prime Minister Wilfred Laurier from ancestral chiefs said, ‘…we want to have an equal chance with them of making a living.’

“This is what we are doing in 2018; making a living off our lands as Caretakers of the Land,” said Christian. “YUCWMENLÚCWU means ‘Caretakers of the Land’ and this company is a source of pride for our people as our members are out on the land doing important archaeological and environmental stewardship work.”

As for having two companies receive recognition Chief Christian is pleased.

“To have a second company be named runner-up demonstrates that our community is moving in the right direction,” he said. “Our gas station has been a fixture in our community for over 30 years and with the new building winning awards, the Tim Hortons and the addition of a car wash, our future is bright”.

Launched in 2008 to honour and celebrate business excellence, the IBA program will recognize 16 Indigenous businesses, entrepreneurs, partnership entities and community-owned enterprises at this year’s Gala Dinner. Members of the 2018 jury panel include Brenda Baptiste, Louis de Jaeger, Laurie Sterritt and Laara Yaghujaanas.

The BC Indigenous Business Awards are presented by the BC Achievement Foundation in partnership with the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, and generously supported by New Relationship Trust, Teck, TD, BC Hydro, CN, Enbridge, Encana, FortisBC, Vancity and Western Forest Products.

An independent foundation established and endowed in 2003 by the Province of British Columbia, the BC Achievement Foundation honours and celebrates community service, arts, humanities and Indigenous enterprise.

The Awardees will be celebrated at a Gala Dinner ceremony on Oct. 15 at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver where more than 600 people will gather to honour excellence in Indigenous business in British Columbia.


The 2017 BC Indigenous Business Awardees are:

• Community-Owned Business of the Year – one entity:

Yucwmenlúcwu (Caretakers of the Land) LLP – Enderby

Outstanding Business Achievement:

Painted Rock Aggregates & Contracting LLP – Savona

Outstanding Business Achievement:

Quilakwa Investments – Enderby

• Young Entrepreneur of the Year:

Skywest Environmental Inc. – Williams Lake

Outstanding Business Achievement:

Van – Isle Auto Brokers – Victoria

• Business of the Year – one-to-two person enterprise:

Ay Lelum-The Good House of Design – Nanaimo

Outstanding Business Achievement:

Second Pass Forestry Ltd. – Kamloops

• Business of the Year – three-to-10 person enterprise:

Reciprocal Consulting – West Vancouver

Outstanding Business Achievement:

Haida Style Expeditions – Skidegate

Outstanding Business Achievement:

Kootenay Waste Services Ltd. – Nelson

• Business of the Year – 11+ more person enterprise:

Mussell Crane Manufacturing – Chilliwack

Outstanding Business Achievement:

Kikinaw Energy Services Ltd. – Fort St. John

• Community-Owned Business of the Year – two or more entities:

Kanaka Bar Land and Resource LP – Lytton

• Business Partnership of the Year:

Nuu-chah-nulth Seafood Limited Partnership – Port Alberni

Outstanding Business Achievement:

Cariboo Aboriginal Forestry Enterprises Ltd. – Williams Lake

To report a typo, email: newstips@vernonmorningstar.com.

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