Kamloops company wins B.C. Aboriginal Business of the Year

A Kamloops company is fulfilling its goal of inspiring First Nations people with yet another award in a series of recent accolades.

Sun Ridge Equipment Ltd. was named B.C. Aboriginal Business of the Year on Thursday.

"It's huge," said Tk'emlups band member Carrie Leonard, company owner along with husband Cliff Loucks.

"It means we can prove to our First Nations that we can do it. I hope to be that role model for the aboriginals that are out there. As much as you get knocked, you can get up, dust yourself off and you can do it."

Sun Ridge was nominated for the fifth annual B.C. Aboriginal Business Awards by the All Nation Trust Company, which promotes native self-sufficiency.

The honourees will be celebrated at a gala ceremony on Dec. 5 at the Westin Bayshore in Vancouver.

"With their success in attracting investment and creating jobs, these individuals and companies play a crucial role in growing the economy and creating more opportunities today and in the future," said B.C. Premier Christy Clark.

Sun Ridge hauls ore and waste rock for New Gold, and was founded on a business agreement between the mining company and the Shuswap Nation.

Working in collaboration with the Aboriginal Mine Training Association, Sun Ridge has employed as many as 23 skilled workers under an 80 per cent aboriginal hiring policy.

It was also named 2012 Kamloops Chamber Of Commerce First Nations Business of the Year.

Leonard and Loucks have also been celebrated for donating $20,000 to the Howling Coyote Fund, operated by the First Nations Education Council and School District 73 and managed by the Kamloops Foundation.

And they've sponsored Kamloopa Powwow events in an effort to keep native culture alive.

© Copyright 2018 Kamloops Daily News