On Tuesday, Futurpreneur Canada announced that it is partnering with the National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association (NACCA) in order to support Indigenous entrepreneurs in Canada.
“As an entrepreneur and Métis person … I’m fully aware of the additional challenges that Indigenous entrepreneurs face.”
The two national organizations are joining forces to support Indigenous entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 to 39. Through the partnership, Futurpreneur and NACCA plan to assess the barriers and gaps in service faced by young Indigenous entrepreneurs and work to develop tools and models of support to address those gaps.
Both Futurpreneur and NACCA received significant funding from the Government of Canada through Budget 2019. Futurpreneur was allotted $38 million to help it support entrepreneurs between 18 and 39. This investment also included $3 million over a five year period to support young Indigenous entrepreneurs.
Budget 2019 also promised $100 million for an Indigenous Growth Fund, which is managed by NACCA. In June, the organization also received $3.1 million under the Investment Readiness Program to help it support its network of Aboriginal Financial Institutions (AFIs) that are placed across Canada to provide financing to Indigenous entrepreneurs.
“Business development is a key driver of employment, wealth creation, and more resilient communities, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous alike,” said Shannin Metatawabin, CEO of NACCA. “NACCA, through its network of Aboriginal Financial Institutions, and Futurpreneur Canada … are ideal partners for delivering the support necessary to fuel young Indigenous-led business development from coast to coast to coast.”
As part of the partnership, NACCA and Futurpreneur will work together to identify aspiring Indigenous entrepreneurs served by NACCA’s network of AFls, and provide them with the startup financing and support services to launch or acquire businesses.
The organizations are also set to convene an Indigenous youth business advisory council comprising of six to eight successful young Indigenous entrepreneurs. The council members will be tasked with offering insights and business experience to help determine the best ways to support what is an underserved market in Canada.
A 2016 study by the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business noted that over half of Indigenous entrepreneurs surveyed found one of their biggest challenges to be locating potential sources of funding.
“As an entrepreneur and Métis person myself, I’m fully aware of the additional challenges that Indigenous entrepreneurs face and am excited about this opportunity to collaborate with organizations like NACCA to help Indigenous entrepreneurs,” said Cindy Goertzen, Futurpreneur board member, co-founder and COO of Trivenity, and co-founder and president of Maira Group.
“When launching a business, one of the key barriers faced by all young entrepreneurs is access to critical startup financing,” added Karen Greve Young, CEO of Futurpreneur Canada. “The first step in supporting more young Indigenous entrepreneurs, particularly those living in smaller communities, is raising awareness of the financial support available to them.”
The partnership will also see community partners working to launch an awareness-building campaign showcasing young Indigenous entrepreneurs as success stories and role models for Indigenous people considering starting a business as a career option.
“Indigenous entrepreneurs have a substantial impact on their communities, not only by creating direct employment, but also by establishing more resilient local economies,” said Jean Vincent, chair of NACCA’s board of directors. “There is a growing need for capital to fuel these youth-led businesses and a huge opportunity to turn them into engines that will drive prosperity across Canada.”
Image source National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association via Twitter