The BC Indigenous Youth 3C Challenge receives $3.3 million in funds from Service Canada

Vancouver, BC – On June 12 2019, the BC Indigenous Youth 3C Challenge announced the commitment of $3.3 million from Service Canada. Co-developed by the BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres (BCAAFC), the National Consortium for Indigenous Economic Development (NCIED), and the University of Victoria, Gustavson School of Business, the initiative is designed for Indigenous youth to discover business ownership while honouring their traditional values.

Hosted by the 25 Friendship Centres in BC, 50 Challenges will be delivered to 1,000 Indigenous youth by March 2021. A true innovation in experiential learning, the two-part program starts with a three‑day workshop, followed by a month‑long Challenge. Participants will work in teams with facilitators and mentors to explore opportunities that will bring value on three dimensions: CommunityCultureCash. With access to a micro-loan of $1,000, each team will conceive a viable mini‑business to create value and profit during the Challenge.

“Our Indigenous ancestors excelled at entrepreneurship, and we are now focused on enabling our youth to reclaim these skills,” says Leslie Varley, executive director at BCAAFC. “We believe introducing our youth to the spirit of entrepreneurship will only empower them further, and the 3C Challenge paves the way to do just that.”

Focusing on innovation, positive cultural identity and collaboration, the Challenge is a stepping stone for youth to experience business ownership with many of the tools necessary for them to be successful. Over 80% of the instructors/facilitators will be of Indigenous heritage, and content and examples will emphasize Indigenous business, culture and communities. An Indigenous community mentor, a vital component of the initiative, will support the teams throughout the Challenge. After loan repayment, each team will collaboratively decide how the profits will be distributed.

“We are grateful to the BCAAFC for inviting us to be a part of this illustrious initiative,” says Dr. Brent Mainprize, entrepreneurship professor at the Gustavson School of Business. “We are honoured to co-design and -deliver an experience for Indigenous youth to conceive, share and balance value created in the areas of Community, Culture and Cash. Indigenous youth are able to define and engage in the business world on their terms in a way that is most meaningful to them.”

About the BC Indigenous Youth 3C Challenge

The 3C Challenge is an innovative and experiential initiative created for Indigenous and Métis youth ages 15 – 29 that requires teams to collaborate and balance the 3C values: (1) Community, (2) Culture and (3) Cash in new business ventures. The program aims to build skills and experience through training and an entrepreneurship competition for Indigenous youth. By March 2021, 50 Challenges will be delivered in the 25 Friendship Centres in BC, engaging 1,000 youth.

About the BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres

The Friendship Centre movement is built on community support, trust, strong leadership, tradition and faith and is mandated to improve the quality of life for Indigenous people throughout Canada. The BC Association of Aboriginal Friends Centres (BCAAFC) is the umbrella association for 25 Friendship Centres throughout the province of British Columbia. Friendship Centres provide services to Indigenous people living in urban settings.

Media contact:

Krista Boehnert, Gustavson School of Business | 250-721-6630 |