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Developing tourism

Grenfell students seek business opportunities in No'kmaq Village

Teaching and Learning

By Pamela Gill

Students in a Grenfell Campus entrepreneurship course travelled to Flat Bay recently to tour current and prospective tourism infrastructure there.

In an effort to research tourism opportunities for the region, the No’kmaq Village, Flat Bay Band Inc., developed a survey that was delivered to both band members and visitors during the powwow of 2017.

Grenfell business students visit the powwow grounds in Flat Bay.
Grenfell business students visit the powwow grounds in Flat Bay.
Photo: Submitted

Based on the survey results, the Mi’kmaq collaborated with business faculty at Grenfell Campus to collate the results to establish a feasibility study necessary to continue efforts in developing a tourism strategy.

Stemming from this foundational work, students at Grenfell are conducting class projects in the area.

Social enterprise

The visit with the Mi’kmaw band in Flat Bay familiarized the students with the area’s potential.

They toured the band office, the powwow grounds, a lakeside gazebo project, the Medicine Trail and the Peoples Complex, a brand new facility that opened during the recent annual general assembly.

“Tourism is something everyone in this community can take part in.” — Ivan White

Ivan White, tourism development and marketing officer with the Flat Bay Band, says many of the traditional means of revenue generation have declined in recent years, such as the once flourishing eel fishery.

“We’re looking at a tourism model that is a social enterprise, where the profits generated go back into the community,” he said. “Tourism is something everyone in this community can take part in.”

Sustainable tourism

Billy Newell, a faculty member with Grenfell’s business program, says the course, Business 1020, requires students to develop business models for a real client, that are well informed by the needs of potential customers, knowledge of the area and the vision of the client.

“The goal of this particular student project is to develop business models that would encourage the development of a sustainable tourism industry in the area, which not only promotes and celebrates the local Indigenous heritage, but also provides a potential source of revenue for the band to fund other local community services,” said Prof. Newell.

He adds that, while listed as a business course, the entrepreneurial class comprises students from varied backgrounds. Some of the 25 students in the class are enrolled in other areas, such as psychology, English and general science.

The visit to Flat Bay gave students a better appreciation of the area, an understanding of what local projects are already being developed and allowed them to spot potential opportunities for new business ideas. It also promotes engagement for both the students and the managing members of the Mi’kmaw band in Flat Bay to give added meaning to the project.

The project was made possible through the support of Grenfell’s Navigate Entrepreneurship Centre.

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