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Tsawwassen First Nation business misses out on Bear’s Lair

Constant gentle pressure over the years will change the perspective of a business says Steven Stark
Steven Stark makes his pitch on a recent episode of the Bears’ Lair on APTN. Screengrab photo

Steven Stark, and his business Glen-TSI Projects towing, didn’t manage to win the recent episode of Bears’ Lair, which is OK, because the Tsawwassen-based business is already up and running.

Stark appeared on the June 4 episode of the APTN show, similar to CBC’s Dragon’s Den, in which upstart entrepreneurs make pitches for investing in their business.

“I think any exposure is good exposure,” Stark said. “It was a good experience. It’s the second time (season) the show has been on. It’s starting to gain some more momentum. It’s just nice to have that platform for indigenous businesses across Canada.”

He’s now been invited as a potential judge for season three of the show.

On Bears’ Lair, would-be entrepreneurs pitch their business ideas, but instead of having business pros invest with a return expected, cash awards are given outright, with episode winners eligible to win $10,000, while the contestants on the season’s finale are eligible to win $100,000. Mentoring is also provided to all participants.

If Stark had won, the extra cash would have helped with branding and marketing of the towing business which got into gear earlier this year.

Glen-TSI partners with Mainroad Lower Mainland Contracting and provides towing for six major bridges in Metro Vancouver,

His company, Tsawwassen Shuttles Inc., was already providing street-sweeping services for Mainroad when the company suggested he branch into towing.

He started the tow truck business under an agreement with Mainroad, providing stand-by towing service to just two bridges.

Glen TSI now has six trucks and seven drivers to cover accidents and breakdowns that take place on the Queensborough, Alex Fraser, Knight Street, Port Mann, Pitt River and Pattulo bridges.

“(Mainroad) has been an amazing partner to work with. I’m their first indigenous partnership they’ve ever had,” he said.

Stark also spoke at the recent Indigenous Partnerships Success Showcase that took place June 5 and 6 in Vancouver.

While indigenous businesses are popping up across Canada, B.C. is where it’s at, Stark said.

“B.C. is the hub of reconciliation. There are 204 unceded nations in B.C. and so … you are seeing a boom of indigenous business wanting to start, but not knowing where to start.”

But B.C. is by far the busiest for indigenous business.

“There’s a lot more to come,” he added.

When it comes to succeeding in business, Stark follows a basic approach.

His biggest success are the daily interactions of meeting people every day and connecting with them, understanding that if he goes to a meeting, he’s taken the time to get to know some of the people there.

“Relationships matter,” he said, noting that is always unique between two individuals.

“I’ve always said, from when I was a kid, I came up with a quote called, ‘persistence overcomes resistance.’”

Constant gentle pressure over the years will change the perspective of a business, he added.

Stark said he’s has had great mentors in his life.

“The mentee is now mentoring the mentors,” he added.