Businesses CCAE Has Helped Start:

Silver Spring Country Wellness and Recreation (Aboriginal BEST of the BEST winner, 2014)

Erica-Cut and Nailed (Winner of BC Aboriginal Business Award, 2014)

Ebesse Zozo Hot Sauce (CBC Dragon’s Den Contestant)

Inez Jasper (JUNO Award winning singer, motivational speaker)

Tipi Mountain Native Plants (BC Aboriginal Business Awards Winner)

Got Salish (Award winning Carver)

Delicious Business Catering and Consulting

Lily Mae’s Café

Mountain Sky Soap

Elevate Me Energy Bars

Better Bookkeeping

Splashing Eagle (Artist)

Nigel Fox (Artist)

Camilano Native Art

Hook, Line and Sinker (Artist)

Modern FormLine (Artist)

Darrell Kelly West Coast Artworks

Heather Bears Beading Supplies Store

Desiree Dumont (Native Designer and Retail Art Store)

Marilyn McKee (Jeweller)

Nahanee’s Aboriginal Woodcraft

Pure Creations (clothing)

SkyRide Cycle

Salish Spirit (Carver)

Free Spirit P{ottery

Anita Bryant (Manufacturer wooden bed frames)

Sky Spirit Art Studio

Creative Journey Studio

North West Coast Native Art

BeYOUtiful Salon

Pure Beauty (Salon)

Salon 235

PR Joseph Construction

Shellene Paul Consulting

Rivers Consulting

Thunderbird Filing Management Systems

Culture Performance Film

Chinook Song Catchers Entertainment Group

DJ O Show (DJ, Inspirational Speaker)

Coast Salish Environmental

Knownwell Productions

Marilyn Mon Rose Florist

Raven and Hummingbird Tea Co.

Rez Berry (food manufacturer)

The Capilano Tea House


Keylela House (Workshops and Wellness)

Keeleela Yoga

T’sala Spa

Belly Bean Imaging

Village Green Landscaping

Wolf Pack Designs

Angel of the North Artworks

Rez Apparel

Tony and Bernice’s Bead Supply

Bizzie B’s Cleaning

Forest Raine Cleaning Company

Black Kitty Productions (TV and Film)

Nahowlitch Native Art

Sabrina Sam (Seamstress)

Haida Gwaii Art Shop

Leer Faye Espresso Kitchen

Kiss The Bride (Wedding and Grad Dress Shop)

East Kootenay Cleaners

O2 Technical Diving

Seabreeze Takeout

First Nations Centre of Excellence Ltd.

Charles Construction Safety Services

Cody Electric

Smoke Signals Flagging

Tara Daley, Gypsee Designs

Vina Brown – First Yoga

Elizabeth Alexander – Sta’tlimc Social Networker

Robin Titian – clothing design

Rhea Williams – Artist

Clayton Goodfellow, Georgia Street Media

Kiss the Bride

KISS THE BRIDE Custom Wedding and Grad

As a 2005 graduate of the Helen Lafaux School of Fashion Design in Vancouver, Andrea Hughes had been putting together her accumulated knowledge and experience, gleaned from years of working in the film industry, for her idea of a full service bridal shop. The answer for the Castlegar resident came in the form of the Bruce Lacroix and the 2008 Aboriginal BEST program in Nelson. “I just wanted to get inspired to get it all done. This course gave me the push to do it.”

Nigel Fox

Nigel Fox, Artist

Artist Nigel Fox graduated from the 2010 BEST program held in Terrace. We asked him about his business experiences:
Q. “How far you have gone with your business idea?”

A. “I’ve explored new avenues on the internet, gaining a larger market base and helping potential customers to feel more comfortable buying online. Essentially, I went from selling a painting a month to selling a print every three to five days.”

Q. How do you make sure you have work-life balance?
A. “I sneak some rest here and there, a movie with the wife, a day at the lake. It works out, as long as I have the faith to just let it all go for a bit.”

Q. Any advice you could give other BEST participants,
A. “Don’t take business advice from strangers personally. Your business is your business, and you know it better than anyone else. Don’t be afraid to try something new if what you’re doing isn’t working. Also, expect to work really hard if you want to succeed!!!”

Q. Anything else you would like to say
A. “It (taking part in the BEST of the BEST Business Plan Competition) was a fun trip to Vancouver. It also got me to plan what I wanted to do with my business, which is good.”

Haida Gwaii Art Shop

Yvette Carol Adams is a Haida from the Tsâ aahl Laanas clan and took part in Aboriginal BEST on Haida Gwaii in 2011. “I create and design my own work: pendants made of yellow cedar, red cedar, yew wood, devils club, alder, beads from the same kind of wood as the pendants, earrings, red cedar hats, yellow cedar hats, regalia, cedar roses, prints, and bentwood boxes.

“I intend to make a living off of my work, to be the best that I can be, and learn as much as I can before my time comes. In the Haida language there isn’t a word for ‘I can’t.’ I always strive to create a piece I would be proud of, no matter how much you think you know, there is always more to be learned. I am currently working out of my home, and I’m very happy that I finally have my web site up and running, the next step is to open
an actual gallery.”

Mountain Sky Soaps

Sky Soaps   Raynald Losier and Nina George started the family business in 1993 to stay home with their kids, Malaya Mountain and Rahel Sky. Mountain Sky manufactures soaps, massage bars and lip balm for the company and for private labels. Mountain Sky Soap maintains seven jobs with a production that has increased from 320 soaps per week at its beginning to about 6,000 today in peak production times. With their products in stores from Victoria to St John’s to Yellowknife, Mountain Sky is a true Canadian success story.

Juggernaut Marketing

Juggernaut Marketing Communications specializes in innovative marketing consultation and implementation, while collaborating with industry experts. They provide clients with all the services necessary for a brilliant marketing campaign, well-executed promotion, impeccable web strategy or all of the above. Juggernaut’s collection of talent includes seasoned marketing professionals, talented graphic design, and web experts that rock the world.


Patricia Humjan and Earl Ellison, founding partners: “We have found the (start your own business) program to be beneficial in numerous ways. The coming together of so many like minded people has helped us realize that we are not alone in our dreams of running our own business. Due in part to your excellent leadership and advice, the program has greatly surpassed our expectations.” The goal was to create the world’s simplest protein snack, keeping the finished food as close to what nature created as possible, with no added colors, flavors, or sweeteners.


Owner Lisa Bowe won the Aboriginal BEST title for the Kootenays and took third overall in B.C. for her presentation on East Kootenay Cleaners.

As the winner, Bowe got the opportunity to compete in the provincial Best of BEST event in Vancouver where she took third place. “Of course you go there, going for first,” admits the competitive former rodeo rider. “After watching all the presentations, I was amazed I placed third.” Beside a cash prize to invest in her business and the experiences from the trip, Bowe says the program gave her the ability to take control of her business.

Bowe started East Kootenay Cleaners in 2008 and the BEST program came with good timing for her as she was ready to expand. BEST, Bowe believes, helped her take it to the next level. “They helped me tweak the business I have and turn it into the one a want to have,” she states.