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Tla’amin Nation startup moves into new space

Former forestry building to serve as head office for business development company
raven events
STEPPING UP: Raven Events and Communications staff [from left] Noah Schweitzer, Sara Arroyo, Randy Timothy Jr., Alisha Point and Maynard Harry are planning to move into their new office, Tla’amin Nation’s former forestry building, at the end of June. Contributed photo

A Tla’amin Nation-based indigenous startup specializing in providing forums for developing business relationships is moving out of its founder’s basement and looking to share its knowledge with other entrepreneurs.

Raven Events and Communications started in 2012 and has been located inside principal partner and former Tla’amin chief Maynard Harry’s basement suite for the past two years.

The company has been expanding and with its eight employees, four of whom are Tla’amin citizens, it has outgrown its current location, said company communications manager Romila Barryman.

“We looked at other spaces and saw that if we want to have a relationship with the community, that meant being here,” said Barryman.

Barryman said Raven Events found space inside the former location of Tla’amin Nation’s forestry company Thichum Forest Products. The building has been vacant since April 2016 when Thichum moved into the nation’s government house on Klahanie Drive. Barryman said the nation agreed to rent the space to the company.

Raven Events managing partner Katrin Harry said the company operates independently of the nation’s government and is no different than any private enterprise leasing space from a local government.

“We’re in no way connected to Tla’amin Nation,” said Katrin. “The only help we’re getting is that the nation is renting us the space.”

Tla’amin hegus Clint Williams, who worked for Thichum Forest Products before taking elected office, said it is nice to see his old office being used again.

“The old forestry building has some good years in it left,” said Williams, adding that the first nation’s leadership is proud to see how well Raven Events is doing.

“It’s always a pleasure to see someone succeed,” he said. “We’re very proud of their accomplishment.”

Maynard said it will not only be good for the community to have a tenant taking care of the old forestry building, which is located centrally in the village, it will also be nice to have his basement back.

“It will be so different and quiet after the office transition,” he said.

Barryman said the new office provides enough space for the company to look at renting desks out to other Tla’amin entrepreneurs who may be looking for some peer mentorship. She said Raven Events is focusing on moving first and then seeing what potential partnerships other businesspeople may be interested in.

The company is expected to grow further as it plans the expansion of its aboriginal business-matching events south of the border in 2018; that will mean taking more employees on, said Katrin.

“We truly believe economic activity needs to return to benefit the community,” said Katrin.

Raven Events plans to move into its new office on Friday, June 30. An open house for the community is also being planned for Friday, July 14.