Yellowknife, NT –Today, Det’on Cho Corporation was listed as the sole Northwest Territories company in the 25th annual PROFIT 500 ranking of Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies byPROFIT Magazine.
Det’on Cho Corporation (DCC) is the economic development arm of the Yellowknives Dene First Nation. DCC has four wholly-owned subsidiaries, and a partnership or joint venture interest in twelve more. Together, the Det’on Cho group of companies focuses on providing construction and support to the mining industry.
Ranking Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies by five-year revenue growth, the PROFIT 500 profiles the country’s most successfully growing companies. Published in the summer issue of PROFIT and online at PROFIT500.com, the PROFIT 500 is Canada’s largest annual celebration of entrepreneurial achievement.
“For a few years now, we figured that we were one of the fastest-growing companies in the North,” said Roy Erasmus Jr., CEO of Det’on Cho. “We were pleasantly surprised to find out that we’re one of the fastest-growing in Canada.”
Over the past five years, Det’on Cho’s revenues have nearly quadrupled—earning it number 276 on the PROFIT 500 list.
“The North has been an area of tremendous economic opportunity for a long time now thanks to resource development,” Erasmus said. “In the early part of the last century it was gold. Today it’s diamonds. And it looks like there’s plenty of opportunity for things like oil and gas, and other minerals in the future.”
Twenty-five years ago, the company started with just a $15,000 grant. From those humble beginnings, it wisely grew capacity and invested in ventures that would create employment opportunities for the members of the Yellowknives Dene First Nation. With the discovery of diamonds, it formed joint ventures and subsidiary companies that could support the burgeoning mines.
In the beginning, these joint ventures relied on the expertise of southern companies. That was a foot in the door, not a long-term plan. Det’on Cho used those joint ventures to develop its own capabilities.
“For example,” said Erasmus, “originally we were the Aboriginal partner in Ekati Services, which had the contract for catering and camp services at Diavik Mine. A few years ago, when we had developed our own capacity, Bouwa Whee Catering took over the contract.” Bouwa Whee is a 100-percent DCC-owned company.
“When it comes to Aboriginal companies in the North, a lot of people just expect us to partner with other companies for the paycheque; to let them do the work, while we contribute Aboriginal content. But that’s not how we work. Our vision is to create prosperity for the Yellowknives Dene, so that means creating real opportunities for employment and training. We employ more than 300 people, and we’re proud to say that about forty percent of them are Aboriginal and nearly ninety percent are from the North.”
With sixteen companies, Det’on Cho Corporation is involved in many different things, but most of its current business comes from catering and mine camp services, construction and logistics. In less than ten years, three of its companies have gone from almost nothing to leading the pack in the North.
“It’s an honour to be named one of Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies,” said Erasmus. “I think it speaks to the enormous potential of the North, as well as to the determination and drive of the Yellowknives Dene First Nation.”