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Taking care of business

Arctic Bay teens plan to open bed and breakfast

Maria Canton
Northern News Services

Arctic Bay (Dec 18/00) - There are several young entrepreneurs living in Arctic Bay.

About 18 ambitious teens, ages 15-25, are developing a business plan for their own bed and breakfast called the Middle of Nowhere Bed and Breakfast.

The group is are part of Nunavut Youth Consulting, which is a non-profit society called formerly known as the Inuujaq School High School Cafe.

"This is a big project for us, but things are moving along," said Teresa Barnabas, a recent high school graduate who has been involved with the group since she was 16.

"We are budgeting and planning, we have people coming (to Arctic Bay) to talk with us and we are planning a trip to Iqaluit."

The five-bedroom house the group is considering for the project costs $180,000. They have hired a consultant, through a tendering process, to look at their options and business plan.

Ron Elliott, the chair of Nunavut Youth Consulting, says above everything else, the project is a learning experience.

"The students aren't rushing on any of the plans, the idea is for them to make all of the decisions themselves so they will take ownership of it," said Elliott, who was a teacher at Inuujaq School and provided guidance for the High School Cafe.

"The budget includes absolutely everything they will need for a bed and breakfast and includes the training the group will need to take."

Members of the group are trying to secure funding for a trip to Iqaluit to attend the 2001 Nunavut Trade show. Once in the capital, they also have plans to visit established bed and breakfasts and compare notes with the owners.

Many have business experience from their days with the High School Cafe. The group started as a small outlet that sold homemade snacks, fruit and drinks at the school.

The group did all the baking and bookkeeping and expanded to include catering for staff parties and community meetings.

The money raised went back into the community. One year they bought jackets for the graduating class, and another year they bought T-shirts for everyone at school and donated money and prizes to community events, needy families and students.

Last May, they received the Wally Beevor Award. The national award recognizes school-to-work transition programs.

Barnabas says all of this makes her very proud and encourages her to work even harder.

"I stay involved even though I'm finished school because it's the best way to stay active in the community and it gives me skills for my future career. I don't think the bed and breakfast will happen for about a year, but we're definitely working towards it."