Balance the Values: (1) Community (2) Culture and (3) Cash (3Cs) in New Business Ventures: The BC Indigenous 3C Challenge

Presenting organization: British Columbia Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres and the National Consortium for Indigenous Economic Development at the University of Victoria 


This session will focus on the unique design, development and delivery of the BC Indigenous 3C Challenge program; a partnership between the BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres and the Gustavason School of Business at UVic. The BC 3C Challenge is an innovation in experiential learning targeted for Indigenous youth (women and men ages 15-29) that requires teams to work collaboratively to balance the values: (1) Community, (2) Culture and (3) Cash (3Cs) in new business ventures. The essence of the challenge is to have teams of four or five participants, with a $1,000 micro‑loan provided by the program, start a business that will create the most value (social, cultural, and/or financial) in 30 days.

This interactive session describes how the unique program facilitates a value trade-off scenario for participants as they come to consensus within their teams about which C or Cs will be the focus of their value creation.

What Participants will learn

  • How you can have a 3C Challenge run in your community.
  • How this hands‑on learning experience presents a microcosm reflecting discussions that may occur in Indigenous communities when economic development projects are considered.
  • How Indigenous youth get to ‘try out’ social innovations and entrepreneurship activities. Whether they succeed or fail, they gain valuable business skills, experience and knowledge.
  • The best practices (wise practices) we have learned to date by offering the 3C Challenge.


  • Leslie Varley, Executive Director, BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres
  • Brent Mainprize, Program Director of Aboriginal Canadian Entrepreneurs (ACE) Program, University of Victoria
  • Renée Letellier, Manager, National Consortium for Indigenous Economic Development, University of Victoria.

Presenter Biographies

Leslie Varley, MBA, Executive Director, BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres, and her team provide front line services to Indigenous people through 25 member centres. Previously Leslie held the Indigenous health portfolio at Provincial Health Services Authority where she led the San’yas Indigenous Cultural Safety Training, an online, decolonizing, anti-racism program offered to health, social and justice sectors in 3 provinces.  Leslie’s community work focused on ending violence against women and girls.

Dr. Brent Mainprize teaches entrepreneurship and Indigenous economic development at UVic’s Gustavson School of Business. Brent has over 20 years' experience as an entrepreneurship educator, academic, and facilitator of economic change in BC Indigenous communities. He has been invited to research and design unique programs that promote leadership and self‑reliance through economic development and entrepreneurship. In 2016, one of the programs that Brent co-developed with an Indigenous business leader won national, North American and international awards.

Renée Letellier has a diverse professional career that includes small businesses, government and a multi-national corporation. She helped re-structure organizations and her proven track record includes coordinating complex projects with multi‑million dollar budgets to meet objectives and deliverables on time. With her unique combination of business experience, Renée liaised effectively with a wide range of stakeholder groups. Renée has Métis heritage; her paternal grandmother was Cree and her grandfather, French Canadian.