Tsimka Martin accepted a BC Indigenous Business award in a room full of hundreds of supporters, colleagues, and leaders to acknowledge the success of T’ashii Paddle School. In 2013, Tsimka partnered to develop T’ashii Paddle School to offer eco-friendly tours in Tofino. Their passion and skills in seeking out opportunities expanded the business offerings to include an array of services including:
- Dug-out canoe tours,
- Paddle board tours and lessons,
- cultural tours and education, as well as
- certification and training in First Aid and paddling.
The business success is well deserving of recognition.
T’ashii benefits from strong competitive edge
T’ashii encompasses Indigenous values and honours Tsimka’s Nuu-chah-nulth heritage and way of life while giving her a strong competitive edge. Historically, canoes were the main source of west coast transportation and provide eco-friendly transportation without noise and environmental pollution. The tour pace would be comparable to a leisurely stroll with a storyteller versus a tour bus with a megaphone. In addition, the sharing of her nation’s history and indigenous perspective give her a competitive edge. Hence, living and operating on the traditional territory of her ancestors, using a canoe carved by her father, gives Tsimka an advantage that is difficult to emulate.
Equally important, social and environmentally friendly businesses are in demand as consumers become more aware. Thankfully both are traits T’ashii already possess. Notably, T’ashii donates 1% of revenue to the local Tribal Park, hires youth, respects the environment, educates on Indigenous history and implements language revitalization projects. Furthermore, the business offerings and activities naturally fit a market demand in the tourism industry – the demand for authentic Indigenous cultural tourism experiences during their visit to Canada (source: DestinationBC). Hence, the business matches well with current industry trends.
Tsimka’s advice to aspiring entrepreneurs: “I would say that time management becomes really important because as the one in charge, you have some freedom to choose when you focus on your business.”
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