The Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Líl̓wat Stl’atl ímc Business Start-up Program (SLSBSP) has eleven participants elbows deep in the hard work of developing their businesses. The program, being spearheaded by the Whistler Centre for Sustainability in partnership with the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre, helps members from regional Indigenous communities get their business up and off the ground. Applications were submitted from a cross section of Indigenous communities with some participants coming from as far as Tipella, a trek that takes over 3 hours down a rough gravel road. The businesses under development are unique, diverse and address community needs.

For example, Jill Patrick’s business. Originally from N’Quatqua, Jill returned home in September after an extended world walk-a-bout pursuing a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Guelph, travelling through Europe, and working as a freelance writer in England. Now home, Jill is propelled by the urge to effect change and give back, using her language and writing skills to craft grant applications for Indigenous and environmental organizations.Jill Patrick

Through being of service, Jill’s goal is to improve her community that she feels has given so much to her already – not just N’Quatqua, but the entire Sea to Sky corridor. She wants to turn her passion and skill for words, grammar, editing, and proofreading into something that will not only help others, but will also fill her up. Hers will be a business that will fuel her ability to weave storytelling and spin narratives onto paper, foster her creative medium of using language to do good, communicate, and bridge gaps. Through her business she aims to find meaning and grow roots in her traditional territory.

Some people underestimate the power that grants can have in a community. However, many organizations rely on grant funding to implement projects and programs that complement their core operations and help fulfill their purpose, vision, and mandate. The outcomes of these grant-funded initiatives can have profound impacts on individuals and in fact entire communities. For example, grant funding and sponsorship brought about the new Ts̓zil Learning Centre in Mount Currie and made the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Líl̓wat Stl’atl ímc Business Start-up Program possible.

Jill’s business is still under development, but the day is coming soon for Jill to take her place among the change makers in the Sea to Sky corridor. Stay tuned to this space!

We’d like to thank our supporters for their funding and program contributions. For a full list, visit our Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Líl̓wat Stl’atl ímc Business Start-up Program (SLSBSP) program page.

For more information, contact Cheeying or Dawn