UBC Reports | Vol. 48 | No. 10 | Aug.
1 , 2002
Chinook Program Helps Pick Winners
First Nations businesses partner with UBC.
By Kathy Tait
The Soowahlie band near Cultus Lake had lots of good ideas for
new businesses to enhance the band's revenues and employment. The
problem was how to pick those most likely to succeed.
"A significant number of new businesses fail in their first
three years," Soowahlie Chief Doug Kelly told UBC Reports.
"We can't afford failures."
Kelly and two other members of the Fraser Valley band found an
answer to their dilemma at a two-day workshop at UBC in June.
"It was a good mix of lectures, question and answer, debate
and discussion," Kelly recalls.
The workshop, part of the Chinook program of the First Nations
House of Learning and the Faculty of Commerce and Business Administration,
offered participants new tools to assess the viability of business
opportunities and an understanding of how businesses achieve success.
The June workshop included Band participants from Powell River,
Cultus Lake, Hope and Litton.
"We identified two priority projects from the 11 ideas we
had," says Kelly. "Right now we're keeping these under
our hat, in part because there's competition and also we don't want
anyone scooping our investors."
The June workshop was one of several projects of UBC's Chinook
program, which aims to create business education relevant and useful
to First Nations participants. (The name, Chinook, is used as a
reminder of the common language of trade used by First Nations Peoples
in earlier times.)
First Nations House of Learning Director Richard Vedan and Commerce
prof. John Claxton are part of a team working with several B.C.
community colleges to create a two-year diploma program in business
for aboriginal students. Top students from this Chinook Diploma
Program will be encouraged to enroll in the UBC BCom Program, which
they will be able to complete in an additional two years.
Claxton notes that a major grant from B.C. Gas has been vital in
keeping the program on track.
- Special to UBC Reports