Last October, the Lil’wat Business Group won the BC Achievement Indigenous Business Award for 2020. As a director of the Lil’wat companies, I’m very proud of the work our board, CEO and staff have done. Averaging $15 million in revenues per year and 60 full time employees, the Lil’wat Business Group is a model for Indigenous economic development.
The keys to success have been many: leveraging legal rights to acquire economic assets, creating a long-term vision for investment priorities, slow and steady development of assets, carefully assessing business and investment partners, and managing the delicate balance between politics and business management decisions. Finally, the competence of the senior management team can’t be underestimated. Led by CEO Kerry Mehaffey, the team at Lil’wat Business Group realizes how economic development for the long-term is a slow and steady process. The business we engage in is for the benefit of the community and the team evaluates risks in that context.
The new Lil'wat Station opened up in 2019. Another is being built in Whistler. Image courtesy Lil'wat Nation.
While “slow and steady” may not sound exciting, the results are anything but boring: Lil’wat Business Group has contributed millions to Lil’wat Nation social and cultural projects like language immersion, land purchases, a cultural center, community transit, a youth center, community gardens, fire protection, an annual rodeo and other recreation programs. Together, the direct and indirect benefits generated by Lil’wat Business Group are a critical part of rebuilding the Nation. Congratulations Lil’wat!