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Selkirk College Students Use Business Skills to Support First Nation Economic Resilience

Press Release
Dec 12 2019
Students in the School of Business were challenged to put their knowledge and skills to work in a case competition that took a closer look at economic development for the Atikameksheng First Nation in Ontario.

Graduating students in the School of Business at Selkirk College put their education into action for a case competition focused on a northern Ontario First Nation.

Teams of students created mocked-up economic development plans for the Atikameksheng First Nation and presented their proposals to a panel of local judges that included Selkirk College’s Director of Finance Lareena Rilkoff, Grant Thornton accountant Tara Perepolkin and Kootenay Career Development Society Finance Manager Richard Thomas.

“It’s a great opportunity to see how business students at Selkirk College use their skillsets to prepare and present a business plan with challenging issues in such a short time,” Thomas said.

Learning Through Experience

While the business plan itself is an educational document not intended to be delivered to the First Nation, Selkirk College instructor and event organizer Naomi Havard explained that using real-world scenarios helps the students see the broader possible application of the business skills they are acquiring.

“Business education prepares people for more than just a typical for-profit business,” Havard said. “Canada’s colonial history and the issues it presents for First Nations today is complex. The essence of business education is about understanding complexity and offering rational, well thought solutions to it.”

The case competition moved through several rounds of eliminations, with five teams advancing to the final round event. The winning team consisted of Garunesh (Avi) Bhatoolall, Elias Layachi, James Tucker, Jenna Krajinovic and Daniel Rodriguez.

“The case competition was a fantastic opportunity to work with local business professionals, develop innovative case proposals and build my business skills at Selkirk College,” said Tucker, a second-year student in the School of Business.

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