Young entrepreneurs will display their wares in Halifax

Imagine driving all the way from Carmacks to Whitehorse just to buy helium-filled balloons for a family birthday party.

Imagine driving all the way from Carmacks to Whitehorse just to buy helium-filled balloons for a family birthday party.

Now imagine driving home with those helium balloons floating about in your vehicle.

That’s a driving hazard and, hence, a regular challenge for partygoers in Carmacks.

Enter three clever Grade 12 students at Tantalus School.

They took it upon themselves to solve the problem, and, perhaps, make a little money in the process.

The young women have formed a small business called Carmacks Party Supplies.

“We pretty much just supply party stuff, like balloons, party hats, napkins, tablecloths — we have so much that I can’t even name all the stuff we have,” said Chantelle DesRoches, 18.

So far, they have designed a business plan, made marketing material and supplied two local events with party supplies.

Besides satisfaction, the young people will be graded for the project in their Technology and Industrial Arts class and receive a free trip to Halifax.

In fact, the entire graduating class of nine students will be going to Halifax to participate in an aboriginal youth business planning competition, an annual event sponsored by the Business Development Corporation of Canada.

This year’s event, which will feature business plans from aboriginal students from across Canada, will be held at Dalhousie University, May 13 to 16.

On the first day, the students will give a PowerPoint presentation of their business plan in a lecture hall in front of an audience of 100 people.

“It’s a long way from Carmacks and the way we teach school,” said technology teacher Peter Menzies.

From this, finalists will be chosen and called back the next day to give a second presentation.

After first through third places are awarded, students will set up booths and displays marketing their businesses.

Menzies will take three teams to Halifax.

The new party-supply entrepreneurs will be going with an art co-op group that has a business plan to sell traditional Northern Tutchone drums.

For sale are two traditional drum designs, a design the group invented themselves and a make-your-own drum kit.

The students will hold drum-making workshops with supplies provided.

“They’ve been making drums for two or three years now; they’re really good at it,” said Menzies.

“Two in particular are really good artists so this is a pretty exciting venture because the drums they’re making are for sale now.”

The drums will sold at the trade show.

The third group from the graduating class is planning to offer a skate-sharpening service at the local recreation centre.

As it stands, if Carmacks residents want their skates sharpened, they must travel to Whitehorse.

The group raised $2,500 to purchase a SkatePal, an automated Finnish-made skate sharpener.

The sharpener won’t be ordered until August and the service will be implemented in the hockey and figure-skating seasons.

Future Tantalus students will operate it.

Entrepreneurship training is a good fit with technology education, said Menzies.

“Planning a small business is a really good way to orient kids to what it might be to actually be self-employed,” he said.

Self-employment and small business is becoming increasingly important for people who live in Yukon communities, as government is no longer creating a lot of work and mining has declined.

“So, if people want to live in these small towns — and people do — then really small business is the best way to do it,” said Menzies.

“It could be cultural industry, like art, or it could be tourism, cutting wood — there’s lots of ideas, but the challenge in rural areas is, there aren’t very many small businesses, so it’s all brand new.

“I think aboriginal governments think entrepreneurship is an important priority, but it’s one of these long-term developmental things.”

For this reason, it is important to introduce high school students to business practices as some of them many go into business for themselves, said Menzies.

It is also for these reasons that he had his students take their business plans one step further and actually start businesses of their own.

“I think that’s going to be interesting to the people down in Halifax that it’s gone a step further,” said Menzies.

The Carmacks students will be competing with about 35 teams from across Canada.

Menzies said he will be surprised if his students win any prizes, but added, “We didn’t expect to win gold medals at the Canada Winter Games.”

The Carmacks kids are the first Yukoners to attend the competition.

 “So, for me, as long as they show up prepared and try their best, we’ll see how the results go and it might be our day; it might not be,” said Menzies.

“It’s really a matter now of the students believing in themselves. That’s what this whole project is about: taking your school work to another level of self-confidence and self-direction.

“And that’s where you have to let them go, you can’t do it for them, can you?”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

d
Wyatt’s World

Wyatt’s World for March 5, 2021.

g
Yukonomist: School competition ramps up in the Yukon

It’s common to see an upstart automaker trying to grab share from… Continue reading

The Yukon government responded to a petition calling the SCAN Act “draconian” on Feb. 19. (Yukon News file)
Yukon government accuses SCAN petitioner of mischaracterizing her eviction

A response to the Jan. 7 petition was filed to court on Feb. 19

City councillor Samson Hartland in Whitehorse on Dec. 3, 2018. Hartland has announced his plans to run for mayor in the Oct. 21 municipal election. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Councillor sets sights on mayor’s chair

Hartland declares election plans

Whitehorse RCMP will provide internet safety training due to an uptick of child luring offences. (iStock photo)
RCMP hosting internet safety webinars for parents and caregivers

The webinars will take place on March 23 and 25

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley receives his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine from Public Health Nurse Angie Bartelen at the Yukon Convention Centre Clinic in Whitehorse on March 3. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
State of emergency extended for another 90 days

“Now we’re in a situation where we see the finish line.”

The Yukon government says it is working towards finding a solution for Dawson area miners who may be impacted by City of Dawson plans and regulations. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Miner expresses frustration over town plan

Designation of claims changed to future planning

Team Yukon athletes wave flags at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games opening ceremony in Whitehorse. The 2022 event in Wood Buffalo, Alta., has been postponed indefinitely. (Justin Kennedy/Yukon News file)
2022 Arctic Winter Games postponed indefinitely

Wood Buffalo, Alta., Host Society committed to rescheduling at a later date

Crews work to clear the South Klondike Highway after an avalanche earlier this week. (Submitted)
South Klondike Highway remains closed due to avalanches

Yukon Avalanche Association recommending backcountry recreators remain vigilant

RCMP Online Crime Reporting website in Whitehorse on March 5. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Whitehorse RCMP launch online crime reporting

Both a website and Whitehorse RCMP app are now available

A man walks passed the polling place sign at city hall in Whitehorse on Oct. 18, 2018. The City of Whitehorse is preparing for a pandemic-era election this October with a number of measures proposed to address COVID-19 restrictions. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City gets set for Oct. 21 municipal election

Elections procedures bylaw comes forward

A rendering of the Normandy Manor seniors housing facility. (Photo courtesy KBC Developments)
Work on seniors housing project moves forward

Funding announced for Normandy Manor

Tom Ullyett, pictured, is the first Yukoner to receive the Louis St-Laurent Award of Excellence from the Canadian Bar Association for his work as a community builder and mentor in the territory. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Tom Ullyett wins lifetime achievement award from the Canadian Bar Association

Ullyett has worked in the Yukon’s justice ecosystem for 36 years as a public sector lawyer and mentor

Most Read