Western Arctic Youth Collective

The Context

The Western Arctic Youth Collective (WAYC) was created by youth for youth with connections to the Western Arctic regions of the Northwest Territories. WAYC strives to create opportunities to prepare and support ongoing development to improve the lives of Indigenous young people by empowering them to be changemakers by providing a platform of youth-led collaborative initiatives and partnerships in their communities and with other like-minded groups in other northern regions. WAYC is a project on MakeWay’s Charitable Society’s Shared Platform, which provides a network community of like-minded initiatives, operational support, governance, and charitable expertise for change makers.


Focus area(s): Youth development, entrepreneurship and innovation

Headquarters: Inuvik, NT

Organization type: Registered charity

SDG(s) Alignment: SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals

SDG(s) Sub-Target(s): 17.17 - “Encourage and promote effective public, public-private, and civil society partnerships, building on the experience and resourcing strategies of partnerships.”

Project Type: Feasibility Assessment

Year: 2023

The Brief

When WAYC approached us, its objective was to decrease its dependence on grants and establish sustainable revenue sources, ultimately aiming to transform into a Social Enterprise. As part of this endeavor, WAYC aimed to assess the feasibility of creating a co-working space along with a pop-up business (e.g., a cafe or a shop showcasing local art and handcrafted products) in Inuvik. This initiative sought to foster entrepreneurship in the Western Arctic and promote community interaction and engagement.

At the initial stage of this feasibility study, our mission was to assist WAYC in various tasks, including evaluating the supporting hard and soft infrastructure, identifying and assessing potential site locations in Inuvik, exploring potential owner/operator models, examining industry best practices, and identifying potential funding and business models.

The Solution

To bring this vision to fruition, our initial step involved reevaluating the original concept by determining whether there was a genuine demand for such a solution. To accomplish this, we designed a comprehensive survey and extensively shared it within the community. Additionally, we conducted in-person community engagement sessions in Inuvik to gather valuable insights.

In addition, we conducted a thorough benchmarking analysis of numerous co-working spaces worldwide that shared a similar focus on impact, akin to Inuvik. Our goal was to comprehend their innovative revenue streams, pricing models, and the services they offered. To gain deeper insights, we interviewed some of these co-working spaces to understand their journey towards establishment and financial sustainability. 

Furthermore, we diligently explored appropriate buildings for acquisition in Inuvik. We used the plans provided by the owners to develop potential layouts, envisioning how our services would be organized within the building.

Lastly, to ensure a robust foundation, we constructed a flexible financial model that assessed essential costs and potential revenue streams. This model was designed to adapt based on the services ultimately chosen for implementation.

The Impact

Our aspiration is that, if the project comes to fruition, its impact on WAYC and the community would be transformative, fostering entrepreneurship, creativity, collaboration, and sustainable development in the Western Arctic region.

To learn more about Western Arctic Youth Collective, visit https://www.wayc.ca/.