Apr 22, 2014
(News Release) COURTENAY — B.C.’s first Aboriginal Social Enterprise Day was celebrated today with the unveiling of a symbolic logo designed by Kwakwaka’wakw artist Andy Everson, grandson of the late Kómoks First Nation Hereditary Chief Andy Frank.
Everson joined Social Development and Social Innovation Minister Don McRae at Wachiay Friendship Centre where they celebrated with Wachiay board members, elders, youth, staff, Comox Valley Art Gallery and community supporters.
Wachiay profiled several social enterprise businesses including AQ’SAAK Aboriginal Food Products Ltd. AQ’SAAK means respect for nature and is a specialty food producer of Aboriginal themed teas, chocolates and other fine products.
Cheryl Simon, a Kwakwaka’wakw business woman and traditional herbs practitioner, explained the traditional uses, history and significance behind the ingredients used in AQ’SAAK specialty products, referred to as Edible Aboriginal Legends in their literature.
The celebration of Aboriginal social enterprises also included the Gwa’wina (Raven) screen printing co-op whose young entrepreneurs practised their skills by printing the new Aboriginal Social Enterprise Day logo onto T-shirts.
Proclaiming April 22, 2014, as Aboriginal Social Enterprise Day recognizes the growth of social enterprise and the entrepreneurial legacy of Aboriginal people in B.C.
The government of B.C. has also proclaimed April 2014 as Social Enterprise Month to celebrate the expanding social enterprise sector and recognize its contribution to the strength and resiliency of B.C. communities.
Social enterprises — a form of social innovation — differ from most traditional businesses in that profits are not just used to ensure financial viability, but are re-invested to achieve, sustain and further a social or environmental purpose.
As an active member of the BC Partners for Social Impact, government works with leaders in the social innovation field to promote and support social innovation and enterprise throughout the province.