Minister Vandal announces nearly $200,000 through CanNor to support the growth and expansion of two Yukon small businesses 

News release

Funding for Anto Yukon and Kaska Dena Designs will help scale-up, increase productivity and reach international markets

October 19, 2022 — Whitehorse, Yukon — Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency

Small businesses, and their workers, are the backbone of our economy and the heart of our communities. The government knows how important small businesses are to keeping our country running and we will continue to support them to ensure they can keep growing and  giving back to Canadians. 

Today, as part of Small Business Week 2022, the Honourable Dan Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs, Minister for PrairiesCan and Minister for CanNor, announced an investment of nearly $200,000 to support the continued growth and expansion of two women-owned Yukon small businesses.

Anto Yukon is receiving $99,999 towards a two-year project to help expand sales to international markets. Anto Yukon is a small business based in Whitehorse that manufactures and sells natural soaps and body care products that are hand-wrapped and packaged in designs by Canadian artists. These products have generated significant interest from consumers and potential distributors that target the international gift market in North America and Japan. CanNor funding supports marketing activities, the purchase and installation of efficient manufacturing equipment, as well as renovations to the new production facility. This will help position the business to deliver to larger, international markets while also promoting opportunities for new partnerships and sales.

Kaska Dena Designs is receiving $99,999 towards a two-year project to support business scale-up and productivity with further investment from the Yukon Aboriginal Women’s Council, däna Näye Ventures and the Government of Yukon’s Department of Economic Development. Kaska Dena Designs is owned and operated by fashion and jewelry designer Natasha Peter, who is Kaska-Dena from Ross River. Funding towards this project supported participation at New York International Indigenous Fashion Week as well as International Indigenous Fashion Week in Paris. It will also help with the purchase of sewing machines and associated equipment, rental fees for increased production and retail space as well as the hiring of a web content developer to create a professional web presence.

Funding towards these projects, which was delivered through Inclusive Diversification and Economic Advancement in the North (IDEANorth), demonstrate the Government of Canada’s commitment to supporting the sustainable, diversified growth of economic sectors across the North. 


“Small businesses bring economic growth, job creation and pride to their communities. Anto Yukon and Kaska Dena Designs are no exception. Both have built businesses on talent, hard work, and, of course, quality products – products that weave together material, purpose and meaning from the inspiring Yukon surroundings. This investment supports Anto Yukon and Kaska Dena Designs in scaling-up and expanding to larger markets so that customers and distributors everywhere can appreciate the beautiful crafts of these local small businesses.”

The Honourable Dan Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs, Minister for PrairiesCan and Minister for CanNor

“This Small Business Week, let's celebrate the incredible local businesses that make up our community, but more importantly the incredible people behind them. They help feed our families, they create local jobs, they grow our economy, and they reflect the qualities and characteristics that make our neighborhoods unique. Our government knows how difficult the last two years have been, and that small businesses continue to face challenges, but we will continue to support them by making life more affordable and ensuring they have the resources they need to succeed.”
The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade

“Across the Yukon, there is an incredible culture of supporting local. With great pride, Yukoners use, wear, eat and give many wonderful products made in-territory. Anto Yukon and Kaska Dena Designs are two well-known examples of small businesses that have established themselves with quality products, strong leadership and big ambitions. This funding, delivered through CanNor, will help these businesses prepare for the next big step – taking on international markets.”

Dr. Brendan Hanley, Member of Parliament for Yukon

“The Yukon’s Economic Development Fund provides support for small businesses across the territory to help them scale-up and reach new markets. Natasha Peter, who owns and operates Kaska Dena Designs, is a perfect example of one of the Yukon’s brilliant and creative entrepreneurs whose inspiring ventures are showcasing the talent we have in the North on an international stage! It is great to see the Yukon’s Economic Development Fund working in concert with the Creative and Cultural Industries Strategy to assist Yukon artists and small businesses as they grow and continue to contribute to our local economy.”

The Honourable Ranj Pillai, Yukon Minister of Economic Development

“The support Anto Yukon has received from CanNor has allowed us to keep our business in the North while maintaining a competitive position within the Canadian market. We are excited to keep our operations local and prove Yukon is a place where small businesses can grow and thrive.”

Kym Rempel, Founder of Anto Yukon

“My late grandparents (Art/Alice John, Mary Charlie, Maclary Acklack, and Tootsie Charlie) had always told me, you’re the next generation in life and it’s important to keep our traditional culture alive when we pass on. Our culture will disappear and you will have a hard time in life, as hard times are coming. It’s up to you what you do with what I teach you. You’re going to have kids of your own and you’re going to have to teach them our Dena skills. My traditional skills aligned my destiny in perusing my Dena skills, it had helped me get out of my dark spot in life, today I am teaching my daughter (Ariel Tootise) her Dena skills of what my grandparents had taught me while growing up. Showing her how important it is to keep our Kaska Dena culture alive, as I pray that she keeps our culture going for her children and for their children as the days, months and years pass by. As what my grandma Tootsie Charlie would say “keep on keeping on with life”.

Natasha Peter, Owner/Operator of Kaska Dena Designs and Ross River Dena Council Member/Member of the Wolf Clan

Quick facts

  • Inclusive Diversification and Economic Advancement in the North (IDEANorth) makes foundational investments in economic infrastructure, sector development and capacity building to help position Northerners in the territories to take advantage of Canada’s innovation economy.

  • The program focuses on four priority areas: economic growth and sector development; business scale-up, productivity and innovation; small-scale economic infrastructure development; and foundational economic infrastructure.

  • Small Business Week has been a registered trademark of the Business Development Bank of Canada since 1986, and is taking place from October 16 to 22 this year.

  • The Business Development Bank of Canada is a Crown corporation created by Parliament and wholly owned by the Government of Canada that provides financing, venture capital and consulting services for entrepreneurs.

  • 98 % of businesses in Canada are small businesses. 

Associated links


Kyle Allen
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Northern Affairs, Minister Responsible for Prairies Economic Development Canada, and Minister Responsible for the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency

Laura Seeley
Communications Advisor, Yukon

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