For some the career choice is that of an owner/businessman and opportunities in Eeyou Istchee abound for youth.
No one knows this more than Patrick Forward and Ryan Petawabino, owners of Transport R&P Services. They started out two years ago with a moving van, and few contacts and have been growing ever since. In no time Mistissini and the surrounding region saw it made more sense to use their services. In most cases they cost less and worked faster then the competition.
Just recently Transport R&P Services added a laundromat and car-washing elements to their business.
Both owners acknowledge they had a lot of help in making their business a success. “Our parents were really there for us all the way,” said Patrick Forward. He said both fathers were ready to lend a hand with advice and support. “They really gave us the benefit of their knowledge and now it’s up to us to make it work,” said Forward. Ryan Petawabino added that friends and other family members helped out a lot also.
To grow in this manner takes patience, organization, planning and of course, money. Forward said they had a lot more assistance than he would have thought possible. “We had a lot of help from the Mistissini Economic Development Department and Cree Human Resources Development,” said Forward. He said the Aboriginal Business Canada (ABC), Indian Affairs and the Minister of the Region assisted in funding. “We’re still waiting for official word from the Eeyou economic group but we’re positive it’ll be good news,” said Forward.
The Caisse Populaire has already approved them for a loan for their business expansion.
Local Mistissini Chief John Longchap and Grand Council Deputy Chief Ashley Iseroff participated in the official opening of the car wash and the laundromat.
“Well, I’ll know where to do my laundry now, since I don’t have a wife yet,” Iseroff joked. While there was some laughter and some wit, said interested ladies can apply at the Grand Council offices.
Chief Longchap talked about pride in seeing youth talking control of their future and helping to contribute to making a better future for all of Mistissini. Longchap said he hopes the people of Mistissini will support this business by becoming customers.
The laundromat has coin-operated machines and will sell detergent in either single packs or in large bulk. Two of the car wash ports are coin-operated while a third is for those who want a professional cleaning inside and out.