ROLF & MARG HOUGEN Entrepreneur Speakers Series: Jenny Tyldesley & Deborah Turner-Davis


Every 1st Thursday of the month, join us as local entrepreneurs share their hard-won start up successes & laugh out loud blunders. A useful conversation while enjoying a drink and appetizer at NorthLight Innovation. Powered by Marg & Rolf Hougen.

Last March, our monthly event featured the story of Jenny Tyldesley and Deborah Turner-Davis!

Listen to the full interview here:

Music by FREDJI



Meet the Makers: Jeramy

Meet the Makers is a series of interviews to help you get to know the people who are building our community. Jeramy is our new Operations Assistant.

How did you get involved with Yukonstruct? 

I really wanted to make a titanium ring and found out that there was a metal lathe on site. Logan gave me a crash course on the metal lathe and a week later I was turning my first titanium ring, which I still own and wear.

What is your role at Yukonstruct?

As an operations assistant I work at the front desk greeting people, giving tours of the facilities, signing up new members and helping existing members. I will also be helping keep things clean and running smoothly.

Why should people become MakeSpace or CoSpace members?

I have met many amazing people here, was able to collaborate on projects, get feedback on things I was making and advice when I started my business. It is also a great place to test the waters, try things out that you’re not sure or confident about, and use as a launch pad to the next step.

What inspires you to make things?

Honestly, sometimes making things is my greatest inspiration. I will get into my workshop, or the Makespace, and start a project – half way through I will have an idea sparked by the process or material I am using and either write it down for later or start on it right away.

What has been your favourite project so far?

A steak knife that I forged out of titanium with the induction forge and anodized blue and purple in the Hackerspace. The knife I made is terrible but it taught me so much about the forging process, titanium itself, and anodizing.

What do you like about this organization?

The community of makers and entrepreneurs it has built and is building! The stories, the mentorship, the amazing ideas that come from these people and are helping shape Whitehorse and the Yukon territories future.


Meet the Makers: Claire

Meet the Makers is a series of interviews to help you get to know the people who are building our community. Claire is our new Events and Office Coordinator.


How did you get involved with Yukonstruct?

I am happy to join the Yukonstruct team as the Events and Office Coordinator. I look forward to contributing to this vibrant environment and to supporting our dynamic, hardworking community.

Why should people become Yukonstruct members?

This is a unique space that is friendly to both beginner and more advanced creators. If you are new to dabbling in the realm of the creative, Yukonstruct is an amazing place to bump shoulders with Makers who will spark and support your creativity. For the more advanced, Yukonstruct not only provides the equipment you need to build, but also a platform to share your skills and expertise.

What do you like to make?

I like to make food, bread, and friends! It’s good that these three things tend to go quite well together. I would love to spend some time in the woodshop now that I have access. I’m dying for some beautiful planters for an herb garden.

What advice do you have for other makers in the Yukon?

Don’t be afraid to try something new and be open to learning. There is always someone with something to teach if you let them.

What’s the funniest thing that’s happened to you while making something?

I have made my fair share of Kombucha geysers; a smelly mistake. I have also failed embarrassingly when I attempted to build a pallet-bed – I still can’t believe I was defeated by a Pinterest-inspired dream. The point is, it’s important to remember that a project rarely turns out the way you intend, and that’s okay.

StartUp Canada Awards celebrate Yukon entrepeneurs!

This past Saturday, Yukonstruct hosted the annual Startup Canada Awards – North Region program. The event took place at NorthLight Innovation – home to Whitehorse’s key entrepreneur support organizations, Yukonstruct Society and Yukon College’s Cold Climate Innovation. Recently outfitted with art by local artists and full of inspiring energy, the venue was the perfect backdrop for the evening’s celebration.

Yukonstruct team with Honourable Larry Bagnell, MP for Yukon; Chief Richard Sidney; Minister of Economic Development, Ranj Pillai; Startup Canada Young Entrepreneur Award winner Charlie Fiddler


A candid roundtable discussion with award recipients, local and national corporate partners, and key leaders in the North, got the night off to a productive and thought-provoking start. Participants discussed the state of entrepreneurship in the North and how entrepreneurs can best be supported. Key takeaways included:

• Importance of training and support for entrepreneurs (e.g. financial literacy, etc.);
• Importance of developing strong partnerships in order to start and scale businesses;
• Need for government to back existing organizations that already support, entrepreneurs, rather than create new programs.

During the reception, attendees enjoyed the incredible beer and award-winning cocktails served up by Yukon Brewing, and gourmet catering by the Wandering Bison. Guests also had a chance to check out artisan goods produced by some of the creative entrepreneurs working out of Yukonstruct’s Makespace at the Makers’ Market, held in the NorthwesTel Event Space.

Reception and Makers’ Market in the NorthwesTel Event Space.

The Awards ceremony kicked off after the reception and was hosted by the dynamic Lauren Manekin Beille from Yukon College’s Cold Climate Innovation. A passionate community builder, Lauren set an engaging and charming tone. Government attendees included the Honourable Larry Bagnell, MP for Yukon; Mayor Dan Curtis; and the Honourable Angelique Bernard, Commissioner of Yukon.

Winners and presenters of this year’s StartUp Canada Awards – North Region

The winners of this year’s StartUp Canada awards were:

Ranj Pillai – Startup Canada Entrepreneur Promotion Award
däna Näye Ventures – Startup Canada Entrepreneur Support Award
UasaU Soap – Startup Canada Entrepreneur’s Choice Award
Make I.T. Solutions – Startup Canada Global Entrepreneurship Award
Proof – Startup Canada Innovation Award
Arctic Fresh – Startup Canada Social Enterprise Award
Antoinette’s Restaurant – Startup Canada Women Entrepreneur Award
Charlie Fiddler – Startup Canada Young Entrepreneur Award
Outpost 31 Media – Startup Canada Entrepreneur of the Year Award

Neil MacDonald, Jayden Soroka, David Hamelin

The ceremony included plenty of laughs, heartfelt speeches, and a few joyful tears by the amazing winners who continue to impact entrepreneurship in Canada.

Yukonstruct is honoured and humbled to celebrate the creative, hardworking, and inspiring entrepreneurs that make up this lively community.

Check out the pictures of the event here!

Philip Fitzgerald CFO, Northern Vision Development; Minister of Economic Development, Ranj Pillai

And a BIG thank you to our local sponsors for making these events possible!



ROLF & MARG HOUGEN Entrepreneur Speakers Series: Luke Legault of Wandering Bison

Every 1st Thursday of the month, join us as local entrepreneurs share their hard-won start up successes & laugh out loud blunders. A useful conversation while enjoying a drink and appetizer at NorthLight Innovation. Powered by Marg & Rolf Hougen.
Last February, our monthly event featured the story of Luke Legault of Wandering Bison!

Listen to the full interview:


Music by FREDJI


Everyone knows the light bulb is the universal symbol for an idea, but no one thinks about the millions of tiny connections that need to occur for that idea to be realized. Well … almost no one. Yukon artists Michel Gignac and Gorellaume have thought about it quite a bit. So much so that they’ve incorporated it into a new installation at NorthLight Innovation called Through the Thought Process (Eureka). It’s the first collaboration between Gignac, who often works in sculpture, and Gorellaume, who focuses on figurative drawing.   

They say the piece mirrors the process of an idea in that both begin with a tripped switch. In the case of the installation, it’s quite literal.

As you enter the front door of NorthLight, there’s a silver light switch on a post near The Poor Creature cafe. Follow a single black cable from that switch and you’ll find it leads to a tangle of colourful wires sweeping along the wall, thinning and thickening and splicing off in a dozen different directions on its way to a single lightbulb hanging in Cospace, waiting to fire.

What does it take to get there?” says Gignac of the lit bulb. On the way to illumination, there’s a mix of emotions, triumphs and roadblocks. All are highlighted by Gorellaume’s illustrations, which appear along the length of the wires.

Hand-painted on the wall, stoats, jump and run. There’s a pensive coyote. A fox curled in a tight circle, sleeping.

Gorellaume says he and Gignac don’t want to be prescriptive in their interpretation of the piece, but, in his mind, you can put human feelings to the critters. The stoats are in the early excited stages of an idea. The coyote, at the top of a wall the wires must wind around, is considering roadblocks. The fox is sleeping it off, perhaps hoping to wake up refreshed and with new ideas tomorrow.

Cospace, makespace and community members are invited to flip the switch anytime they experience a Eureka moment at NorthLight.

New mural at NorthLight

They say many hands make light work, but the new mural recently installed at NorthLight Innovation was a massive undertaking for the dozens of community members who helped create it.

The horizontal piece stretches across an upper wall at Cospace. It depicts two seasons (summer and winter), and day and night, along with the Yukon River and the Northern lights. The shapes, including people gathered around fires and playing with their families, are stylized. The colours are vibrant and as varied as the community members who chose them. 

That’s because there wasn’t any single artist behind the work. Under the guidance of a small team, many collaborated on this depiction of the Yukon.

The project was led by Lianne Charlie, a Yukon Indigenous artist who teaches Indigenous Governance at Yukon College, and is a PhD Candidate in Indigenous Politics at the University of Hawai`i at Mānoa. With the support of Kaitlyn Charlie, Youth Recreation Program Coordinator for Kwanlin Dün First Nation, Courtney Terriah, KDFN Youth Worker, and Julia Veidt, Youth Tutor for Kwanlin Dün First Nation; all of whom mentored Teya Rear, a youth artist from the Kwanlin Dün First Nation.

Together, Lianne, Teya, Kaitlyn, Courtney and Julia prepared a mural image on plywood, then invited the community to paint it during four separate community workdays, including weekends at Nakwät’à kų, KDFN’s potlatch house.

Fifteen people from the community also painted 96 “sunrise and northern light sticks” that radiate out from the mural, and Teya made five individual circles, depicting Indigenous innovations in hunting, fishing, sewing, tanning hides and mothering/birthing.   

Throughout the process, Dianne Smith, a Kwanlin Dün Elder, was involved to contribute cultural and geographic knowledge, and to ensure the work was done in a good way.

Our work draws inspiration from the land, plants, animals, and Indigenous peoples’ practices, history, politics and culture to create a sense of connection to place. Our work is vibrant and inherently Northern,” reads the proposal for the piece. “NorthLight aims ‘to empower Yukoners to bring their ideas to life in a creative, innovative community.’ This mural demonstrates that Northlight is actually joining a well-established creative, innovative community—that of the Kwanlin Dün and Ta’an Kwäch‘än Peoples, here, and all Indigenous Peoples in the North. Our mural is both a showcase of Indigenous lifeways and practices of innovation and creativity and an invitation to the NorthLight community to continue this legacy here, on this land, in responsible, informed and respectful ways.”

Meet the Makers: William

Meet the Makers is a series of interviews to help you get to know the people who are building our community. William is our new Launchspace Director. 


Why did you join Yukonstruct

I have been an entrepreneur for the past 6 years and I was looking for an organization and a role where I could add value. I came across Yukonstruct, read about cospace, makespace, the people, the stories, and I knew immediately I had found what I was looking for. Entrepreneurs seize opportunities and that is what I did, the rest is history in the making.
William, what’s your role at Yukonstruct?
I’m the new Launchspace Director. My role currently involves working with various partners in creating a new program that will help support Entrepreneurs turn their ideas into sustainable businesses. At the same time, I am looking for ways existing businesses can benefit from the creative ideas coming out of Yukonstruct. I recognize there is more to the Yukon than Whitehorse and I will work hard to expand our reach and extend our support to other parts of the territory.
What do you like most about Yukonstruct and sub – brands being up and running?
Putting cospace and makespace side by side was a great idea. I love how the space was designed to fit everyone and with everyone in mind.  It is a place for established companies, software based businesses and professionals, hardware and more recently for young entrepreneurs, kudos to all volunteers and the people who made this possible.
Why should people become Yukonstruct members?
Humans are social beings and people thrive on social interaction. At Yukonstruct you get so much more than a desk and a cup of coffee, you immediately become part of a powerful community, where you get access to human capital and talent, equipment, training, knowledge… Being a Yukonstruct member is worth every penny.
What do you like to make?
I’d like to make a crib for my son, or at the very least a toy one 🙂

Meet the Makers: Amy

Meet the Makers is a series of interviews to help you get to know the people who are building our community. Amy is a freelance journalist, a writer, a jewelry designer and our newest Operations Assistant!

Amy, why did you join YuKonstruct?

I got a tour from a friend because I was interested in becoming a member. At the same time, I was looking to leave my full-time job for a part-time one when the part-time operations assistant position came up. I applied, had a great interview and got a really good vibe from the place and people.

What do you like most about Yukonstruct and sub-brands being up and running?

Tool and space-sharing like this just makes so much sense to me. It’s way more efficient and affordable.

I’m also a huge fan of projects that come out of collaborations between people working in different disciplines (musicians working with illustrators, ie: Christine Fellows and Shary Boyle, or the Interactive Digital Media Incubator at the Art Gallery of Hamilton, which used to connect fine artists with tech experts in software development and gaming to help facilitate the creation of interactive gallery installations), so I’m excited to see what kind of cross-pollination comes out of people working across different media in the same space.

What do you like to make?

I do leatherwork and also work as a silversmith. A lot of the jewelry and accessories I sell are small and simple, but what I love most is working on bigger, sculptural pieces – necklaces that might as well be armour, or wallets/purses/packs that wrap around your hips and leg like you’re a gunslinger. I like the things I make to have a narrative element, even if that narrative is only obvious to me. I think this owes partly to the fact that the things I most like to make are stories (I’ve been a journalist for about 13 years and am currently finishing a master of fine arts in creative writing).

Why should people become Yukonstruct members?

1) Dog pats are on point.

2) I think one of the most important elements in fostering your own creativity is surrounding yourself with other creative people. You feed off each other’s energy, even if you’re doing completely different things. That’s definitely something you feel here.

3) When I first quit my day job to focus on freelance life (journalism and jewelry), I spent two months looking for the perfect robe because it was going to be my new “work uniform.” That robe consumed me like the Ring consumed Gollum. I borderline refused to leave the house because it meant ditching the robe and putting on real clothes. Cospace/Makespace offers a built-in community that not only guards against that kind of abject slothfulness, it guards against the related isolation and tunnel vision that can accompany the freelance/entrepreneur lifestyle. Here, there’s always someone to chat with at lunch or bounce ideas off of over coffee or just take a break and joke around with. Sometimes those conversations can also lead to work – you can find yourself getting hired for your particular expertise, or you might find the perfect person to hire yourself.

What are you working on now?

Right now I’m working on my thesis, which is a novel. I’m also working on re-branding my jewelry line, complete with a new name, website, and logo. (which was actually designed by another Cospace member.)

Meet our Members: Jocelyn Joe-Strack

Over the last four weeks, Yukonstruct Cospace member Jocelyn Joe-Strack, embarked on a speaking tour of Canadian embassies in Europe to share her Indigenous perspective on Climate Change with senior diplomats, academics, youth and the public.

Jocelyn Joe-Strack is an academic with multiple advanced degrees in microbiology and

geography and is currently working towards a PhD regarding Indigenous Land Use Planning. She holds degrees from the University of Northern British Columbia and University of Victoria. She is a Jane Glassco Northern Fellow and a recipient of the prestigious 2017 Vanier Scholarship.

With her business, Subarctic Research & Strategy, Joe-Strack is currently leading development of a progressive Land Use Plan for her First Nation’s Traditional Territory – which will contribute to the Yukon-wide regional land planning process. She is concurrently applying this experience towards a PhD in Sustainability & Environment with the University of Saskatchewan.

Jocelyn was born and currently lives in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory with her husband and two young children.

She enjoys being a part of the Yukonstruct community. Especially the opportunity to network and brainstorm with so many creative and progressive thinkers. It’s the perfect atmosphere to get work done!

During her tour, Joe-Strack has posted regular blog updates about her travels. You can follow her on Twitter at @jocelynjs and facebook /jocelynjs