Success Stories

“It takes a lot of time, a lot of work and you have to enjoy what you are doing,” says John Hickes of Rankin Inlet, one of Nunavut’s successful business persons. John is co-owner of Sila Lodge in Wager Bay, and owner of three businesses in Rankin Inlet: Nanuk Bed & Breakfast Lodge, Nanuk Enterprises Ltd. and Tumi Tours.

“There is nothing more gratifying than starting your own business and then watching it grow over time into a successful, long-term venture,” says Martha Kyak, owner and operator of Kisutaarvik Store in Pond Inlet.

Suka Taxi was created by two young entrepreneurs, Qilak Kusugak and Pakak Sigurdson, who identified an increasing need for consistent and reliable transport services in their community. Suka Taxi currently has a fleet of four vehicles and provides local taxi, transport and medical travel services to the people of Rankin Inlet.

Tara Tootoo Fotheringham has operated a bed & breakfast in Rankin Inlet since 1999. Her most recent business venture is the Sugar Rush Café and Tara’s Treasures, which she purchased in 2005. In 2006 Tara won the Business Development Bank of Canada’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for Nunavut. Her key to success? “Making good contacts.”

Sometimes a business is started by someone who simply wants to create improved social and financial conditions for his or her employees and their community.These businesses are called social enterprises. In Kugluktuk, Russ Sheppard started The Grizzly Den Inc. for local youth.Now his business model is being adopted by 12 other communities across Canada. See:

Robert Hanson started R.L. Hanson Construction Ltd. in 1982 as a small cartage delivery business with two employees and an old truck. Today Bob is one of the most successful business persons in Iqaluit, and is a widely-respected leader in his community.

Wilf Wilcox started with his own small business in Cambridge Bay, and is now Vice President of Business Development for an Inuit firm, Kitnuna Projects Inc. “Being an entrepreneur takes a lot of hard work, dedication and perseverance, but you have great satisfaction when a job is completed. I would encourage anyone to follow through on their ideas because there is not a greater accomplishment than being in business for yourself or working for a progressive company.”

Lucassie Kittosuk, President and CEO of Kawtaq Construction Ltd. has been able to obtain financial assistance in the form of loans and contributions from several business development organizations, government, and commercial lenders to help make his business idea an operational success. His company in Sanikiluaq is involved in home construction, retrofits and renovations, and road construction.

Hamish Tatty, 32, has built M&T Enterprises in Rankin Inlet, founded by his father in 1979, into a multi-faceted transportation business that employs 45 people full-time. Inuit-owned and operated, M&T hires locally. “We give back to the community as the community gives to us,” explains Hamish.