Haida Owned and Operated
Fraser Earl, the Haida Owned and Operated (HO2) Program Manager, is an accomplished adult educator and facilitator with over 20 years of experience coordinating and instructing entrepreneurial training programs at Northwest Community College, the University of Northern British Columbia, and the University of Victoria.
Fraser has instructed the Aboriginal Business & Entrepreneurship Skills Training Program multiple times and is currently the program manager for the Haida Owned and Operated Program through the University of Victoria Peter B. Gustavson School of Business. He also runs his own Educational Consulting business designing and teaching entrepreneurial and financial literacy to a wide range of audiences. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and Anthropology, and a Masters of Education from Simon Fraser University. He is currently a managing partner in a local accommodation business on Haida Gwaii.
In 2014, Fraser began working with the HO2 Program, and says that the most enjoyable part of managing the program is “helping people reach their potential” as entrepreneurs and community leaders. Fraser has seen the program “change lives and communities” in a visible way, and has seen the profound changes in students as they “find the words to [describe] what they already know”. Through HO2, the students develop a “self-confidence” and a “desire to use entrepreneurship to develop their communities.” To date there have been three HO2 cohorts, and Fraser says that the experiences of the graduates and their presence in the community has spread the word: “I constantly have “people in the community tell me their business ideas and ask me when the next program is starting.” When asked about his favourite part of the program, Fraser echoes the sentiments of many of the students when he identifies the 3C Challenge. He says that he “really enjoys watching the 3C Challenge unfold. It brings the group together early and provides the context for classroom learning. Everyone has lots of fun and the businesses that are started are really smart and creative.”
Fraser believes that “entrepreneurship is the absolute backbone of our communities”, and that is the “path towards political and economic self-sufficiency.” While there is a great deal of opportunity on Haida Gwaii, but the ability to start or expand business is necessary to take advantage of that opportunity. He says that many “students come into the program believing that all business must be “big””, but that the reality is that “it is small business that is at the heart of a diversified and resilient northern economy.”
Fraser advises prospective students of the ACE program to “have fun and take advantage of the opportunity”. In Fraser’s opinion, “nothing beats being where the magic happens”. Often, the first hurdle the students will face is taking the leap and starting their business. Even so, Fraser says that “there is nothing wrong with starting small” and that the greatest barriers to the successful entrepreneur “are those that we carry in our heads”.
Raised on the north coast, this longtime resident of Haida Gwaii is a devoted father of two daughters. He often spends his free time exploring the area by kayak with his daughters.
The ACE program is grateful to Fraser Earl for his work as Program Manager. With individuals like Fraser, the program will continue to grow and facilitate many more Indigenous entrepreneurs in the pursuit of their dreams.