Special to The Labradorian
When Rachel Watts and Nykesha Gregoire started a business plan for their high school Grade 10 Enterprise Class they weren’t expecting it to be as difficult or to take them as far.
The duo submitted their plan for the national aboriginal business plan competition BDC E-Spirit and were the only finalists to emerge from the province. They will travel to Winnipeg from May 14-18 where they will present their business plan to a larger audience and compete with groups from 25 other schools to receive funding towards carrying out their business plan. Last year’s winners received $2,500 for gold prize, $1,500 for silver prize and $750 for bronze.
The idea that won the two girls their all-expense paid trip to Manitoba is a book - a first of its kind. Having been raised across a river from one another-Nykesha in the Innu community of Sheshatshiu and Rachel in the community of North West River, the two were aware of the similarities in their cultures. They had both grown up hearing stories from their grandparents-legends that had been passed down in their cultures for generations.
Children heard the legends but, especially in the Innu communities, there were few documented stories or Labrador specific stories designed for children.
Rachel had done a heritage project on Inuit legends two years prior to the project and she wanted to further develop what she had learned.
The two grade 10 girls thought it would be nice to combine the legends of their two cultures into one book for children.
“Nykesha is Innu and I am Inuit so we thought it would be great to combine both of our cultures.”
This was the concept they designed their business plan around and their plan was a hit. They named their project Torngask Kuekuatsheu which are respectively the Inuit and Innu creators.
The Inuit legends would be found under the Torngask section of the book and the Innu legends under Kuekuatsheu.
Rachel is the proposed writer for the project and Nykesha is the Illustrator.
The two were excited to win and look forward to taking their proposal to the next level.
“It was great news.”
Ms. Watts said the girls are not sure how much their business would cost but they would pursue their idea if they received the funding.
The project gave them a good grasp on creating a business and the budgeting to go towards it.
“It was a lot harder than we thought,” Rachel said. “The hardest part of the business plan was the financial module.”
Although only 15, Rachel said her future plans are not necessarily business influenced-she plans to study Kinesiology.
Whatever the end result, Rachel said the experience has been a great learning one for she and her partner and they looks forward to presenting the fruits of their labour at the national aboriginal competition in May.