Skidegate's Patrick Shannon is the recipient of this year's B.C. Aboriginal Business Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Evil Patrick by Design, as the company was once called, is Mr. Shannon's award-winning brainchild and is in the midst of being rebranded with the new and improved name, InnoNative.
Amougnst his accomplishments is the Xaayda Hub in Skidegate, a venture he runs with Yolanda Caltworthy that provides a place for people to rent professional, temporary work space to get out of the coffee shop scene. "Not only for our needs, but I thought, we can also address the broader need in the communities here for the space," Mr. Shannon said.
He started his entrepreneurial career just over a year ago when he had the opportunity to be a part of the program, Haida Owned and Operated, in which he learned how to turn his passion for web design, videography and photography into a successful business.
His goal isn't just to make a living on Haida Gwaii, but bring in new business from off-island to contribute to the local economy on a greater scale.
"We have recognized that if we want to grow, we need to look off island for the big market to hit," Mr. Shannon said. "There is only so much of what we can do on-island, and also we want to bring more money back to the islands. That is the great thing about technology and media, that it allows you to do work remotely."
Internet service on Haida Gwaii has been Mr. Shannon's biggest barrier. But he is confident the days of inferior service are numbered.
"Once we hurdle that, really, the sky's the limit. I see Haida Gwaii being the media and technology hub of Northern B.C."
This is why Mr. Shannon won the Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
He credits his mentor Erica Ryan-Gagne for nominating him. She has one herself, from 2013. She was also named Outstanding Female Aboriginal Entrepreneur of the Year in 2011.
"She has her finger on the pulse of a lot of amazing resources for young entrepreneurs and has been a wealth of resources—a friend and support system," Mr. Shannon said.
"Having people like Erica has been absolutely pivotal of getting any amount of success like this, I think that this is what we would like to do for other people."
By all indications, the future of Mr. Shannon's business is bright. "If you look at a year ago to now, it's night and day, we have basically launched two businesses and now won an award, and it is still growing exponentially."
Ms. Caltworthy and Mr. Shannon will be attending the Gala Dinner for the award in Vancouver next month, but not before a lengthy filming trip around the northwest to help promote their business.
"This [award] is putting what we do, all our services, in front of the top business leaders in B.C., which can't do anything but help," Mr. Shannon said.