We had the pleasure of introducing you to our client Massey Whiteknife, a successful Indigenous business owner, in the June 2016 blog post: “First Nation entrepreneur stays true to himself”. His tremendously successful company, ICEIS Safety, continues to grow while Massey also takes time to pursue other interests.
Blog Category: Success stories
Kyle Closen's roots are in the prairies. He grew up on a farm in Saskatchewan with fond memories of working at his grandparents’ upholstery shop, an experience that opened him up to the world of textiles. While he’s worked in other areas during his professional life – having been a truck driver and welder – he always came back to his passion of working with different materials and creating unique handmade items. He took the leap to start his own business in 2014 and Clo’s General Leather Co. was born.
Going back to 1970, Virginia Bruneau recalls her father having a passion for his people. Being on the school committee and a counselor for Cold Lake First Nation, he and some colleagues went on a strike to get a new school for the community. The movement gained momentum, and three other reserves followed suit, giving recognition to Virginia’s father. In the end, all four reserves were approved for brand new schools.
When an idea sparked in Ismail’s mind a couple of years ago, he knew it was the right time to pursue it. As he came into his 30s and wasn’t getting much fulfillment from working as a General Sales Manager for a large corporation, he moved his life from Montreal to Edmonton and began his entrepreneurial path. His biggest motivator was never wanting to regret anything, to not look back when he gets older and think “I wish I had done that”.
Since she was 3 years old, Jacquelyn Cardinal has been calling herself a computer nerd and an entrepreneur. For as long as she can remember, she’s been building websites, and breaking and fixing computers. In junior high and high school, she always found a way to make money. She remembers handing her father $1,500 to deposit into the bank for her when she was just 13 years old.
Where does one go to purchase authentic Indigenous made art and crafts? Moonstone Creation is the place to visit! In the historic neighbourhood of Inglewood, Calgary, on the corner of 10th Avenue and 12th Street SW, sits a quaint bungalow with a trademark sky blue front door. Dreamcatchers and medicine wheels adorn the front windows, and upon stepping foot into the establishment, the distinct and notably Indigenous fragrance of tanned moose hide engulfs the senses.
When the opportunity to take over Stash presented itself a few years ago, Veronica immediately jumped on it. With her background in visual arts and the non-profit gallery and museum environment, she knew she had the skills to be an entrepreneur. She quickly recognized that Stash’s class-based model provided them with a real competitive advantage. The focus is on offering a large variety of intimate classes so that customers can advance and customize their skill sets, while at the same time purchase products to grow their crafting “stash”.
Dallas Arcand knew from a young age that he would not let his unfortunate circumstances hold him back. Growing up with no father figure and hardly any opportunities, he didn’t always know how things would turn out. With hard work and creativity, he always managed to find ways to make money and succeed.
Who knew the love of storytelling would grow into a production company? Aretha sure didn’t. She originally went to school to be a web designer, earning a Digital Interactive Media diploma from Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT). After doing web design for a while, she began to think about starting her own business. With limited education and experience, she was advised to continue her education or gain more experience.
As an entrepreneur, you never know when an opportunity will come about that can benefit you. Robert and Carl stumbled upon such an opportunity ten years ago, when they kept running into each other at networking events around Edmonton. They decided to meet over coffee after one of our events and have been meeting ever since.