Non-profit establishes first Aboriginal entrepreneurship accelerator

A new accelerator has been established in New Brunswick with the aim of fostering entrepreneurship in Aboriginal communities.

The Aboriginal Business Accelerator was established by the Joint Economic Development Initiative (JEDI), a not-for-profit dedicated to encouraging Aboriginal economic development. The organization partners with Aboriginal communities, Aboriginal organizations, the Government of Canada, the Government of New Brunswick, and both public sector organizations and private sector companies as part of its mission to connect entrepreneurs with angel investors and venture capital.

According to a report from Entrevestor, JEDI started its 10-week accelerator in January, and will assist entrepreneurs in areas like financial management, raising capital, and R&D. Its first cohort includes five entrepreneurs, and the industries they focus on include shipbuilding, aerospace, and defence.

“You don’t often hear of aboriginal entrepreneurs getting the same investments that non-aboriginal entrepreneurs in tech get,” said JEDI shipbuilding strategy manager Mark Taylor.

Entrepreneurs in the accelerator are currently working on projects like digitized user manuals, river turbine technology, and an app to help people with disabilities better access buildings.

Related: Former Prime Minister Paul Martin speaks on investing in indigenous education