New business association about to take centre stage in Sto:lo territory

Cultural strength and pride are both on the menu with a business panel, performances, and aboriginal-inspired cuisine

The formal lauch on March 31 of the Sto:lo Business Association will be the highlight of the evening

The formal lauch on March 31 of the Sto:lo Business Association will be the highlight of the evening

A new business initiative is about to take centre stage in Stó:lō territory.

It’s being launched during the Aboriginal Business Connect event on March 31 at the Sto:lo Research and Resource Management Centre.

The formal announcement of the Sto:lo Business Association will be the highlight of the evening, said Louis De Jaeger, a Sto:lo Community Futures board member, and owner of Bravo Restaurant and Lounge.

The new association will be modeled on existing chambers of commerce and similar structures, to offer business tools, networking and other benefits to the growing number of First Nations businesses.

“It will be a vehicle for cooperation and networking in Sto:lo traditional territory and the focus will be regional,” said De Jaeger.

“The association will become part of the bigger picture.”

The launch of the Sto:lo Business Association dovetails with the branding initiative, Sto:lo Means Business, aimed at making Sto:lo communities a hub of aboriginal business and entrepreneurial growth in B.C.

The new association will be a key building block in the future growth of an aboriginal business economy.

“We want to do things differently,” said De Jaeger. “One of the toughest barriers is access to financing.”

The March 31 event will see a short-list unveiled, naming three First Nations businesses with the best elevator speeches, and an expert business panel tackling everything from cash flow to taxes, and legal structures. There will also be a Stó:lō “Dragon’s Den” type session based upon the popular CBC TV series.

This year marks the third year of the Business Connect event.

“With a strong presence of more than 250 aboriginal businesses in (Solh Téméxw) this event will have participation from a range of aboriginal business sectors,” said Shirley Hardman chair of SCF.

Cultural strength and pride are both on the menu with cultural performances, a peek at Linda Kay Peter’s latest fashion designs, a taste of aboriginal-inspired cuisine by Bravo Restaurant, Garrison Bistro, Marnetta Felix, Rick Quipp, and award-winning Chef Andrew George.

RSVP to the event Shannon Smith at 604-858-0009 or ssmith@stolocf.ca.