CCAB gets funds to focus on Indigenous small business owners

 CCAB gets funds to focus on Indigenous small business owners

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Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB) has received funding of CA$500,000 from the Ministry of Small Business. Ms. Rechie Valdez, Minister of Small Business, made the announcement at the CCAB’s West Coast Business Forum. The funding aims to help CCAB support Indigenous small business owners and entrepreneurs with the resources they need to succeed.

The CCAB has been working for 39 years to bridge the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, businesses, and communities. The organization conducts a variety of programming, provision of tools, training, networking opportunities, significant business awards, and national events.

The CCAB will use the funds to promote its 50–30 Challenge for increasing Indigenous inclusion in the business space. It will also update its website for Tools and Financing for Aboriginal Business and analyze of the Indigenous business ecosystem. The end goal is to to determine what new resources, including funding and training, are most necessary for Indigenous entrepreneurs. Additionally, it will evaluate how existing support programs can be strengthened.

Ms. Valdez said that Indigenous entrepreneurs provide tremendous benefits to the Canadian economy. Therefore, it is critical to give them a fair shot at starting and expanding their own businesses. She added that the announcement represented yet another government initiative to collaborate with Indigenous communities and advance economic reconciliation. She also emphasized that collaboration with groups like the CCAB allowed the government to go straight to the source to identify the most effective strategies for assisting Indigenous entrepreneurs. Together, government & organizations like CCAB can create a more inclusive economy, create good jobs and remove obstacles to their success.

Also read: BC indigenous communities get CA$5.9M for clean energy & upskilling

Several programs now in play to help Indigenous small business owners

As per the government release, there are more than 50,000 Indigenous-owned companies in Canada. These companies contribute over CA$50 billion to the Canadian economy as per official estimates. However, the number of Indigenous entrepreneurs who rely on personal savings to start up is nearly 65%.

The federal government now supports several programs to support Indigenous small business owners in Canada, listed below.

Indigenous Growth Fund: In April 2021, the National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association (NACCA) and the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) launched a CA$150 million fund. It aims to assist Indigenous small business owners in luring capital and tackling more challenging projects.

Aboriginal Entrepreneurship Program: This program encourages Indigenous communities to become more entrepreneurial and the government allocated CA$42M to it in Budget 2021. The eventual aim it to increase the number of successful Indigenous-owned businesses.

Indigenous Skills and Employment Training Program: This program puts a stronger emphasis on training for higher-quality, better-paying jobs than on rapid reemployment. It was established and funded in Budget 2018 with CA$2 billion over five years and CA$408.2 million annually.

Business Reconciliation in Canada Guidebook: Aimed at non-Indigenous businesses, this resource offers suggestions on how they can form fruitful alliances with Indigenous communities. It was created in collaboration with the CCAB and directly addresses Call to Action 92 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

The Canadian government is also supporting Indigenous entrepreneurship through initiatives like the Women Entrepreneurship Loan Fund and the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy. NACCA, which receives funding from the Loan Fund, is supporting small businesses run by Indigenous women by lending to them and facilitating their access to capital.

Also read: New program for 2SLGBTQI+ entrepreneurs launched by Canada


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