Atuqtuarvik Corporation showcases Cody Dean of Canadrill Ltd.
Click here to read the publication from Aboriginal Business Quarterly.
High Level Commitment in the High Arctic
Hills and high cliffs wrap around Arctic Bay, a tiny hamlet on the northwest coast of Baffin Island. High Arctic birds nest in the cliffs, and narwhals and bowhead whales migrate past every year. Just outside the community is a place called Arqvartuuq, where Moses Oyukuluk’s family often camped when he was growing up. So when he and his wife Zipporah decided to launch their own business, they named it after the place that carries a lifetime of fond memories. In 1993, the couple established Arqvartuuq Services Ltd. as a taxi service, shuttling people between Arctic Bay and Nanisivik, a nearby town built around a lead-zinc mine by the same name. As the business gained traction, Arqvartuuq purchased a bus to transport workers to the mine, while their taxis continued to serve locals as well as workers. As opportunities grew, the company branched out, adding on a construction company and a hotel. Over the years, they have counted more than 100 employees, most of them locally hired. One of the challenges of staffing is finding skilled tradespeople, so the company sometimes needs to hire subcontractors for certain projects. With Arctic Bay being so remote, running a business isn’t always easy. Nanisivik Mine, which had been operating since 1976, was closed in 2002, and the townsite is now abandoned. The hotel sees fewer guests in the winter as the number of visitors to Arctic Bay drops.
Despite the obstacles, Arqvartuuq has thrived. In 2005, the company began working with Atuqtuarvik Corporation, which offered financing and advice. “Arqvartuuq was timely in their reporting, positive and always communicated well with us,” says Reanna Sateana, Operations Officer at Atuqtuarvik. “They weren’t afraid to come to us for advice and I was very impressed with Moses’ business acumen and his ability to recognize an opportunity.” In 2010, the Oyukuluks once again recognized an opportunity and expanded their hotel, the Tangmaarvik Inn, with the addition of a bed and breakfast. This was a significant achievement for their company, offering more options for visitors to Arctic Bay. With a new health centre under construction in the community, the inn is almost always full. If you ask the Oyukuluks, success in business comes down to your relationships.“Be involved in your community,” they advise other Northern business owners, “as support from the community plays a
very important role in your success.”
Nunamiut Company Ltd., a 100% Inuit-owned company, wanted to build a business to promote tourism and provide accommodations in Baker Lake. Their vision became a reality when they received financing from Atuqtuarvik Corporation to purchase a hotel in 2001. It is now difficult to miss the tan and green Nunamiut Lodge that sits on the lakefront in Baker Lake, Nunavut. The business was so successful that they expanded the Lodge in 2010. Atuqtuarvik Corporation was pleased once again to work with the owners to provide the financing they needed to help make this expansion happen. The Lodge continues to offer guests exceptional accommodations as well as a large meeting facility.
In 1989, Timmun and Kristiina Alariaq established Huit Huit Tours to provide guided on-the-land tours to visitors interested in learning and experiencing the traditional Inuit way of life. As business and tourism increased, they realized that new accommodations were needed in Cape Dorset. They wanted to open new accommodations to give visitors an inviting, homey and modern place to stay.
Atuqtuarvik Corporation was pleased to assist in the financing of the first phase of the new ‘Dorset Suites’, which opened in 2007. The Alariaq’s business did very well and they were able to pay off their financing early. An amazing accomplishment!
In 2012, when the Alariaqs decided to build Dorset Suites Hotel (a full-service hotel to complement the ‘Dorset Suites’), they once again turned to Atuqtuarvik Corporation for financing. Based on their outstanding successes, the corporation provided the financial assistance they needed. The Alariaq’s business ventures continue to be successful!
Leelie Enterprises provides retail, lodging and outfitting services in Qikiqtarjuaq, Clyde River and Iqaluit. They successfully expanded their business to include exporting, fuel delivery, consulting and rental services.
Owners Leslie and Tia Nukiwuak credit Atuqtuarvik Corporation with supporting their business at key times of expansion. “We couldn’t have achieved anything without them,” says Tia. “They recognized our potential and really backed us up. Atuqtuarvik Corporation plays a valuable role in the Nunavut economy.”
Since 1985, the Nunavut Sivuniksavut (NS) Program has been educating and preparing Inuit youth for career opportunities in their home territory of Nunavut.
NS was looking for a new building to purchase, and move into, to support the growing demand of its program. While they were able to find funding, they required interim financing to secure the purchase of the building. Atuqtuarvik Corporation saw the opportunity to help make the purchase of a larger facility a reality for NS, so it stepped in with the financing they required. The NS program continues to thrive as students build their capacity for the long-term benefit of Nunavut. Congratulations to NS for realizing their vision!
Leia Cunningham is Nunavut’s first veterinarian. She approached Atuqtuarvik Corporation to help her realize her dream of providing veterinary services in Nunavut. Through the financial assistance she received from Atuqtuarvik Corporation, and from funding agencies, NunaVet opened in November 2011. It provides veterinary services for all domestic animals in Nunavut. Way to go, Leia!