Michael Peters - Nova Scotia

Former youth entrepreneur now VP of corporate development for his First Nation 

By Sam Laskaris
Cando Contributor

Michael Peters

Michael Peters, who began his business career while still in high school, is now the VP of corporate development for the Glooscap First Nation.

If there was a Most Likely To Succeed In Business award at his high school, chances are that Michael Peters would have been the recipient.

That’s because even from his teen years, Peters, a member of Glooscap First Nation in Nova Scotia, has been rather business savvy.

When he was in Grade 11, Peters joined the Junior Achievement group at his high school. The group creates different businesses for students to be involved with.

One of the group’s ventures was making and then selling buttons and pins.

“The pins were the big revenue generator at the time,” said Peters, a 29-year-old, who is now working as the vice-president of corporate development for his First Nation.

But he wasn’t content to just be involved with the groups’ various businesses. When he was 16, Peters started his own business, selling bagged ice to local stores and campgrounds.

After purchasing a $400 ice-making machine, Peters, with some help from his father, managed to sell 1,000 bags of ice in his first year of operations.

The business, called Mi’kmaq Ice, took off and after buying more and more machines to make ice, Peters’ business became the second largest ice supplier in Nova Scotia, selling more than 100,000 bags in five years.

In his final year of high school Peters became the president of his school’s Junior Achievement group.

That same year he founded Peters Beverages, a company which serviced more than 100 vending machines in Nova Scotia. The company’s products included soft drinks, snacks and its own line of bottled water, Mi’kmaq Water.

Peters will discuss his business career at this year’s Cando Conference, as he has been selected to be on the National Youth Panel, featuring successful Indigenous people under the age of 30.

This year’s Cando Conference, scheduled for Oct. 20-21 and Oct. 27-28, will be a virtual one because of the pandemic. The youth panelists will be featured on Oct. 27.

Peters had also been named to Cando’s National Youth Panel for its 2014 conference in Nanaimo, B.C.

“It’s not going to be quite the same this year,” Peters said of the conference which will be online. “But the whole world is different now.”

After his successful business ventures launched while in high school, Peters attended Nova Scotia Community College, graduating in 2014 with an advance diploma in international business and a diploma in business administration.

The following year he became his First Nation’s community economic development officer. He was promoted to be Glooscap’s VP of corporate development last year and now oversees all economic development in the First Nation, except for projects related to fisheries.

Peters also graduated from Saint Mary’s University in 2018 with a Bachelor of Commerce degree.

And he continues to further his education.

He began the sustainable energy technologies program being offered online through Dalhousie University in September. He is expected to complete the program next May.

“Even with COVID, the education system, including universities and colleges, have adapted their ways of learning,” Peters said. “I’m trying to take advantage of that.”