West Kelowna  

Industry & First Nations 'gel'

A Westbank consulting company is working to foster partnerships between Industry and First Nations that will strengthen both communities and the economy.

2 Badgers Consulting, builds business practices that are centred on social impact and corporate responsibility for industry sectors that hope to engage in a relationship with Aboriginal people.

The company was started by Dion Arnouse a member of the little Shuswap Indian Band, who spent time in the forest and pipeline industry before being called to the Federal Government as an Aboriginal Liaison.

Arnouse's wife, Gloria, is the operations manager for 2 Bagers, she says their aim is to build training, employment, small businesses for First Nations throughout BC, Alberta and Ontario.

"Really we want to make sure the companies that we partner with and bring forward are open and transparent and are willing to engage in cultural awareness training. They have to be willing to mentor and train and provide opportunities," explains Gloria.

On Monday, Arnouse introduced a company, they are currently considering partnering with, to the area's fire protection personnel, at the Westbank First Nations community service building.

The company is called Fire Fox Solutions and manufactures the product Thermo-Gel. Thermo-Gel is a gel concentrate that when added to water transforms into a fire preventing and heat absorbing gel. It adheres to vertical window-panes and forms a protective layer of gel that cools and protects objects from heating, charring and flame impingement.

"We helped them with their marketing plan and we put them in the magazine Aboriginal Market Place. We helped them to bring their products and services to the Aboriginal communities," says Arnouse.

Arnouse says they are still doing their due diligence in researching the company, but that she and her husband really liked the product.

"We live in such a fire zone here, that we have all experienced so many fires getting close to our homes, so we can all relate to the threat of fire," she says.

They approached by-law and fire officials with Westbank First Nations about the product, who in turn became very interested in what Thermo-gel could possibly do.

"It is biodegradable, it's environmentally friendly, it can be used in airplanes, in a garden hose for your house, as a preventative measure or while the fire is going to snuff it out," she explains.

Once Fire Fox Solutions is approved by 2 Badgers, the next step will be to set up a distributor in the community.

"That is part of our capacity building, if there is someone in the community with WestBank First Nations to help sell the kits to bring in money for their different initiatives. Get some of the youth involved in the fire protection aspect. That is our goal, get employment get jobs, get money going into First Nations."

2 Badgers ensures the business will remain profitable and the company maintains a relationship of trust with the Aboriginal community.

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