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BC Achievement Foundation announces 2022 Indigenous Business Award Recipients

Press Release

Vancouver, BC: The BC Achievement Foundation has announced the recipients of the 2022 Indigenous Business Award (IBA). Presented annually, the IBA recognizes the contributions of extraordinary Indigenous businesses and entrepreneurs across BC, while helping to elevate connections between the province’s Indigenous and non-Indigenous economies

“When we come together to celebrate Indigenous business achievement, we are also blazing a path for today’s youth and for the generations that will follow. The Indigenous Business Award program recognizes business achievement, honouring innovative ideas and new ways of making our economy more robust and more inclusive,” said Anne Giardini, OC, OBC, KC, Chair of the BC Achievement Foundation. “Every year, the enterprises recognized with an Indigenous Business Award highlight ways we all benefit from an ongoing reconciliation of the practices of the past with the economies of the future.”

By recognizing outstanding people and businesses, the IBA gives voice to Indigenous entrepreneurship while modelling success for others to follow. Now in its 14th year, the program counts over 210 remarkable businesses among its alumni.

This year’s award theme is “Thuyshaynum: preparing the path, directing the feet,” which addresses the tireless work being done to correct perceptions of Indigenous history and build respectful, meaningful relationships. A total of eight Indigenous businesses, entrepreneurs, partnership entities and community-owned enterprises have been selected by a jury panel that includes Jessie Ramsay, Métis, a partner with Baker Newby Law; Jeff Ward, Ojibwe and Métis, founder and CEO of Animikii; and Leah George-Wilson, past Chief of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation who practices Indigenous law with Miller Titerle + Company.

2022 Indigenous Business Awardees

Young Entrepreneur of the Year:
Dustin & Ashley Kucher – Dark Arc Welding Inc., Dawson Creek

Business of the Year – one-to-two person enterprise:
dk Architecture, North Vancouver

Business of the Year – three-to-ten person enterprise:
Culture Shock Interactive Gallery, Alert Bay

Business of the Year – 11+ person enterprise:
Warrior Plumbing, North Vancouver

Community-owned Business of the Year – one entity:
M’i nuw’ilum Marina Inc., Sooke

Community-owned Business of the Year – two or more entities:
Sasuchan Development Corporation, Takla Lake

Business Partnership of the Year:
Central Chilcotin Rehabilitation Ltd., Williams Lake

Award of Distinction for Lifetime Achievement:
Chief David Jimmie, Chilliwack

BC Achievement is an independent foundation established in 2003 that celebrates the spirit of excellence in our province and serves to honour the best of British Columbia. In addition to the IBA, the organization presents several established programs, including the Fulmer Award in First Nations Art and the Carter Wosk Award in Applied Art + Design. By recognizing the accomplishments of our province’s entrepreneurs, artists, community leaders, youth and volunteers, BC Achievement’s award programs pay tribute to exceptional people, doing exceptional work, while carving a path forward for others to follow.

The 2022 IBA recipients will be recognized in a formal gala ceremony – open to the public – held on November 29 at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver. Tickets are $200 per person and can be purchased online here. Each awardee will receive a certificate and medallion designed by First Nations Artist, Robert Davidson. They will also be celebrated through an online campaign #shinethelightbc to commemorate their excellence and inspirational achievements positively impacting British Columbians.

Interviews with representatives of the BC Achievement Foundation, as well as IBA recipients, are available upon request.

For more information about the BC Achievement Foundation or the IBA program, please visit www.bcachievement.com.

The IBA program is presented by BC Achievement in partnership with the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, and is generously supported by Lead Sponsor: Vancity; Title Sponsor: Enbridge; Alumni Program Sponsor: TD; Presentation Sponsor: Teck; Film Sponsor: BC Hydro; BC Transit; New Relationship Trust; Ovintiv; Seaspan; Port of Vancouver – Vancouver Fraser Port Authority; Supporting Sponsors: All Nations Trust Company; Bennett Jones; Coast Capital; Copper Mountain Mine; Dentons; Ledcor; West Fraser.

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About BC Achievement

BC Achievement is an independent foundation established in 2003 that celebrates the spirit of excellence in our province and serves to honour the best of British Columbia. By recognizing the accomplishments of our province’s entrepreneurs, artists, community leaders, youth and volunteers, its award programs pay tribute to exceptional people, doing exceptional work, while carving a path forward for others to follow. www.bcachievement.com

Media Contact:

Gemma Bishop
Bishop PR
T: 604-375-6953
E: [email protected]

2022 Indigenous Business Awardees – Backgrounders

Young Entrepreneur of the Year:
Dark Arc Welding Inc., Dawson Creek

Dark Arc Welding Inc. is a family-owned and operated business led by Dustin and Ashley Kucher. As owner-operators, they lead a strong team with a diverse suite of services and have recently established their business location in Dawson Creek. With a mission to deliver premier service while maintaining the highest level of safety, environment, and quality, Dark Arc Welding is recognized as a reliable business partner throughout the region.

The company engages local First Nations when they have staffing requirements offering hands on mentorship and training. Dustin still welds when needed while leading the management and dispatching of their crews. Ashley directs all company administrative matters and with a current staff of 34, they anticipate continuous growth in the coming months.

Business of the Year – one-to-two person enterprise:
dk Architecture, North Vancouver

dk Architecture, owned by David Kitazaki (Xaxl’ip), specializes in First Nations architecture. A client services-oriented business model ensures needs are translated into buildings that are sustainable with minimized operational costs and constructed within budget. dk Architecture’s goal is to assist First Nations with their cultural revival while providing a built environment that reflects each community’s unique identity.

A socially responsible firm, dk Architecture believes buildings influence people’s lives and people influence the design of buildings. Taking a holistic approach to design, dk Architecture is accountable for the impact of their work on people and the environment. Its success is built on trust, developing long term relationships, and completing projects that meet and exceed client goals. dk Architecture’s innovative designs take the vision of the community together with an understanding of how Indigenous communities utilize building spaces to create beautiful culturally and sustainably informed spaces.

Business of the Year – three-to-ten-person enterprise:
Culture Shock Interactive Gallery, Alert Bay

Andrea Cranmer and her sister Donna Cranmer are the owners of Culture Shock Interactive Gallery. Founded on a solid foundation of respect for ancestry and tradition, the gallery is 100% First Nations owned and operated and is deeply rooted in the rich traditions of the ‘Namgis people. Located in Alert Bay, Culture Shock is an important cultural ‘hub’ of the community, selling a range of exquisite and affordable Indigenous designed and produced jewellery and wearable art while showcasing the award-winning films of its late co-founder (and sister to Andrea and Donna) Barb Cranmer.

Supporting and developing Indigenous artists and craftspeople drives the unique business of Culture Shock which also operates an intimate café welcoming and enabling visitors and locals to interact with the owners, staff and each other. Culture Shock creates the space for the understanding and sharing of Indigenous knowledge with all who visit, Indigenous and non-Indigenous alike, and with those who live in the area.

Business of the Year – 11+ person enterprise:
Warrior Plumbing, North Vancouver

Warrior Plumbing, a fully owned and operated Indigenous mechanical contracting company located in North Vancouver, has provided residential builders, developers and homeowner customers with turn-key plumbing, gas fitting and HVAC solutions across Greater Vancouver. Offering decades of combined expertise, Warrior gives its customers peace of mind through the design and installation of new mechanical systems, in-depth application, and technical services. Warrior’s track record of providing modern, sustainable, cost-efficient mechanical systems is second to none.

Attracting young Indigenous workers to the mechanical contracting profession is key driver for Warrior. The company offers a training program giving new staff an opportunity to gain the education and skills required to obtain their Red Seal certification and a well-paying career in the trades. Warrior is aligned with various causes the company believes in and prioritizes helping people within the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation ensuring its members stay safe and comfortable.

Community-Owned Business of the Year – one entity:
Sasuchan Development Corporation, Takla Lake

Sasuchan Development Corporation creates business opportunities for the benefit of Takla Nation members. Since its inception, it has delivered on its mission to create economic wealth, inspiring careers, sustainable employment, and business opportunities, as well as conduct all operations in a manner that respects Takla’s land, people, culture, and way of life.

Driven by its respect for the land, environment, and Takla members, Sasuchan Development Corporation set a goal to build a diverse, profitable, and sustainable portfolio of businesses, both within and outside Takla’s territory. Over the past five years, a number of successful business ventures in forestry and silviculture, mining, and real estate have met with success. With these ventures, Sasuchan Development Corporation has supported its Nation in achieving economic self-reliance, and related social and community goals, and actively facilitated prosperity for Takla Nation.

Business Partnership of the Year:
Central Chilcotin Rehabilitation Ltd., Williams Lake

Nation and the Tl’etinqox Government. The company was originally designed as a vehicle to source funding and coordinate projects, relying on established local contractors to deliver the work, thus strengthening business relationships within the Chilcotin. The company’s vision is to promote First Nations involvement in the forest management of their traditional territories, rehabilitating damaged forest stands, and enhancing long-term health of forests for future generations. Through CCR, the two First Nations are focusing on achieving their mission to coordinate and implement large-scale programs and forest initiatives within their traditional territories, while generating employment for locals, and supporting the local economy.

The company first received funding from Forest Enhancement Society of BC to reduce wildfire risk and rehabilitate mountain pine beetle forests near Alexis Creek. CCR is now working on projects with Natural Resource Canada and the ‘2 Billion Trees’ program, as well as a Shell Canada Carbon Initiative project. CCR is also negotiating long-term silviculture contracts with local forest companies and is involved in the upcoming Landscape Planning initiative with the Province of B.C. Today, CCR is recognized as an innovative and collaborative organization, a catalyst for creating new economic opportunities and as a leader that has proven its reliability in carrying out large-scale forest rehabilitation work.

Award of Distinction for Lifetime Achievement:
Chief David Jimmie, Chilliwack

A collaborative leader, Chief David Jimmie lends his expertise to establish growth opportunities while serving his community and the organizations which sustain it. He is Chief and CEO of Squiala First Nation, President of the Stó:lō Nation Chiefs Council and President of Ts’elxweyéqw Tribe Management Limited. He also serves as Chair and Vice President of Finance for the Western Indigenous Pipeline Group and is the owner / operator as a licensed residential builder of DJC (DJimmie Construction). Before David was first elected Chief in 2009, DJC built 224 homes and 175 apartment units for communities in Chilliwack and Westbank. DJC is currently building 309 townhouse units and a 200-unit condo project at Base 10 in Chilliwack plus 108 townhouse units and a 215-unit condo project at Shelter Bay in Westbank. Chief Jimmie’s ability to forge relationships and bridge the gap between groups has created economic spinoffs and partnerships that have been valuable for each of the organizations he works with to diversify revenue streams.

With a Master in Business Administration from Simon Fraser University, Chief Jimmie’s efforts focus on creating partnerships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous groups. His traditional name, Lenéx wí :ót, meaning “One who works for the people”, embodies his leadership philosophy as he believes strong relationships are key to creating capacity for his people.

Chief Jimmie is a board member of the Chilliwack Hospital Foundation, the Sts’ailes Development Corporation and Tourism Chilliwack. He has served as co-chair of the AFN National Committee on Fiscal Relations with Canada, the Chilliwack Chamber of Commerce, and the board of New Relationship Trust. Chief Jimmie’s commitment to inclusivity reflects his intent to unite the Indigenous and non-Indigenous worlds. A changemaker who leads by example, Chief Jimmie is an inspiration and mentor to everyone he aims to serve.

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