Fostering The Next Generation of Whistler Entrepreneurs
It’s always heartening to see that the spirit of entrepreneurialism is alive and well in Whistler.
This is a town built on the backs and the dreams of young entrepreneurs — a land of opportunity for those willing to take the risk. The examples are everywhere. Look at the partners in the award-winning Rimrock Café, which is still going strong. Or Prior Snowboards and Skis, made in a factory in Function Junction. Or Nonna Pia’s balsamic reductions, which are now in grocery stores nationwide.
For decades people have come to Whistler to follow their dreams, and in many cases, make their fortunes. Recently the Whistler Centre for Sustainability hosted the Social Ventures Challenge where local social entrepreneurs pitched their business concepts before a panel of judges. It was an inspirational and exciting evening, and reassuring to see that the Sea to Sky corridor is an active hotbed of fresh and new ideas and, more importantly, people willing to take chances on them. Like Ski Heaven — a husband and wife duo transforming old ski gear destined to the dump into cool new projects. Or the Freed Food Society — a non-profit that takes food waste from grocery stores and turns it into something delicious. You could almost feel their desire to be out there doing something, ready to take a risk.
At Gibbons, we know all about taking risks, going after your dreams, forging your own path. We know all too well about the blood, the sweat and the tears to make a dollar as an entrepreneur, not to mention the sleepless nights. As a community, we need to drive this kind of passion. If we mentor and foster this next generation of Whistler entrepreneurs, it will pay off in the long run.
We do this in our own business. Take the Whistler Village Beer Festival. That started out as a dream within the Gibbons family. We gave them the platform to turn their dream into a reality. It was a big risk and, to be honest, it’s been a lot of work over the last three years. We’re still working on the business model, trying to find ways to make this event stand on its own two feet.
Yet, look what’s happened to September shoulder season lately; it’s shrugged off its sluggish weekends. For the past three years, thousands of people have flocked to Whistler to taste beer and enjoy a weekend with their friends in the mountains. It’s the entrepreneurs that help give Whistler its personality — young, cutting-edge, fun, bold. And that’s what makes us stand out from the crowds.
It’s what makes us the number one ski resort in North America.
Feature Photo: Mike Crane – Tourism Whistler