Many people think of hockey when they hear about Canada, but far fewer know that it was Canada’s Aboriginal peoples that were behind this iconic cultural phenomenon. Canadian Aboriginals were this country’s first inhabitants, and many people don’t realize or recognize their continued contributions in various sectors of the Canadian economy, including arts, culture, business, and media.
There are various efforts made to have the Canadian federal and provincial governments respect their obligations and responsibilities to Aboriginal peoples, who have deep roots in Canada’s culture, history, and economy.
The important contributions of Aboriginal peoples are recognized by the federal government, which offers funding for Aboriginal businesses in Canada. They deliver this funding through the Aboriginal Business and Entrepreneurship Development program, which provides a variety of services and supports to help grow a vibrant Aboriginal business sector in Canada for entrepreneurs, communities, and organizations that are dedicated to achieving their business objectives.
The support they provide is based on several different factors, including the client’s needs, the eligibility of costs, the economic benefits to the country, the availability and sources of funding, and the strength of their proposed project.
All applicants for this program must be Canadian Aboriginals, and this program accepts applicants from a wide background to assist with business development support. This includes status or non-status Indians that are on or off a reserve, Métis, Inuit, a majority-owned Aboriginal business, or an Aboriginal community and/or development corporation.
Every prospective applicant should be involved full-time in a management capacity with the proposed business plan. They must also provide cash equity at a minimum of 10% that can help fund the project.
This program supports various different projects, but some of the most commonly awarded areas include the following:
- Introducing technology to improve operations and competitiveness
- Creating new products or process developments
- Business expansions or acquisitions
- Business planning
- Establishment costs, related to capital
- Marketing initiatives with a local, domestic, or export focus
- Operating costs tied to capital costs
- Financial services, business support, business-related training, and mentoring services
These are the most commonly awarded categories, but others might be considered on a per-project basis.
The Aboriginal Business and Entrepreneurship Development Program is offered in partnership with the AANDC and Aboriginal Financial Institutions (AFIs) to help deliver government funding for businesses applying to this initiative.
AFIs manage, distribute, and administer an equity fund. One can find AFIs that are invested in the needs and desires of Aboriginal business across the country, entrepreneurs, and communities at the local level.
Individual Aboriginal entrepreneurs and incorporated businesses can receive up to $99,999 in government funding. The amount varies for community owned businesses, but applicants can receive up to $250,000.
There are various factors that impact the selection process, including the project’s scope, viability, merits, and financing needs. Assessors also consider whether there are other funds from government departments and agencies that applicants should consider instead. The best applications provide a well-rounded approach to their proposed financing, including debt financing from external sources, and at least 10% cash equity, as previously mentioned.
If you are an Aboriginal Canadian, get in touch with our team at INAC Services and we can help you with your application for the Aboriginal Business and Entrepreneurship Development program. We can offer you additional information about this program and other government funding initiatives that can benefit your business.