Innovation & Entrepreneurship Stories

“We need to constantly ask ourselves how this work advances true reconciliation,” the Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould stated at the Arctic Indigenous Investment Conference in spring 2023.  

Leading up to National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, our team is holding space for grief, while reflecting on the unstoppable momentum of Yukon First Nations who are activating economic reconciliation.  

"Northern food security is in an exciting place," shared Tarek Bos-Jabbar, CEO of ColdAcre Food Systems and IncubateNorth participant. "It's making some great strides forward. A lot of smart people have been solving individual solutions, and then we're just trying to put them all together in one cohesive thought right now. That's the big picture of where we also want to be: selling a full food system that fits the community."

Sonny Gray and the team at North Star Agriculture provide innovative food sovereignty solutions to communities of all sizes, and have been growing their company while participating in IncubateNorth. North Star has supported comprehensive projects, such as Na-cho Nyak Dun First Nation Farm, and is working with Carcross/Tagish FN on Porcupine Creek Farm.

Michel Duteau, founder of YukonGrow and former IncubateNorth participant, is passionate about providing high-quality, local, eco-friendly and effective living soils, grow media and grow amendments. The Yukon poses challenging growing conditions and poor soil quality, which impacts our ability to grow local, nutritious food.

Elise McCormick and Joanne Sherrard were raising their children and working day jobs, when they decided to find a project they could collaborate on as friends. Curiosity led them on a journey into the world of cosmetic chemistry. Both women experienced irritation from eczema, acne and rosacea, and wished to develop a remedy for sensitive skin. Research, trial and error, and many iterations of recipes with glacial silt to wild rose hips eventually led them to focus on the healing properties of birch water fermentation.  

Joel Brennan is an innovator from Whitehorse who developed the SUPStick Land Paddle. Joel grew up paddling, skateboarding and shared how: “I’ve always known I wanted to be an inventor. From an early age I was inspired by science, technology and the creativity of people.”    

Innovation is not about reinventing the wheel; most times, it can be a small but mighty advancement that improves a product or system. For as long as people have lived, traveled and worked across the territory, innovation has been key to making life safer and more efficient. 

What does innovation look like in the Yukon? We’re introducing you to innovators like Leet Mueller, CEO and Founder of NatureTot, who leveraged I&E’s Innovation Fund to help develop a system to bridge nature and the classroom. 

“I was working long hours, I was burning out,” shared Shakiba Kazemi, owner and head chocolatier of Shaks chocolate, which combines Persian-inspired flavours with Yukon ingredients. After Christmas, Shakiba was trying to get back into work mode, but found that she was burning out again quickly. “I realized I wasn’t at my best, so I had to take a step back to assess.”