The Indigenous economy is continuing to grow rapidly. Indigenous entrepreneurs are creating businesses at nine times the rate of non-Indigenous Canadians. However, even with their projected growth, according to the National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association (NACCA), Indigenous entrepreneurs face challenges that other businesses don’t.
Many Indigenous entrepreneurs come from lower-income situations, limiting their ability to build the equity needed to invest in a business. Also, many Indigenous communities aren’t equipped with the basic infrastructure to support businesses, such as reliable internet and working spaces.
Community Futures Central Alberta and our partners are here to connect Indigenous entrepreneurs with the tools and opportunities needed to start and grow your businesses.
- Funding through loans and grants
- Business development knowledge and resources tailored to your business
- Entrepreneurial guidance
- Networking opportunities
To get you started, we have created a list of resources Indigenous entrepreneurs can access.
Indigenous & Metis Business Resources
Community Futures Central Alberta
Community Futures Central Alberta is committed to supporting Indigenous businesses and entrepreneurs. We want to see Indigenous-owned businesses grow in our local economy. Our small business specialists are knowledgeable in the resources, networking and funding that will best support Indigenous entrepreneurs. We connect you with training, upskilling, and financial support to build your confidence and expertise while strengthening our communities.
Our goal is to help Indigenous businesses grow and boost our area through economic diversification.
Business Link’s team of Indigenous small business experts can provide you with the best resources to make your startup successful. Business Link offers:
- Free small business training in your community or for your Indigenous organization
- Providing a presence at tradeshows, job fairs, and other entrepreneurial-focused events
- Small business guidebooks
The Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) creates partnerships between associations, organizations, government departments and industry leaders from across Canada to support Indigenous tourism. They address the demand for the development and marketing of authentic Indigenous experiences. ITAC's membership process enables Indigenous tourism partners to engage with and support Indigenous tourism.
Indigenous Services Canada offers programs to support Indigenous entrepreneurs and business owners in Canada, such as the Aboriginal Entrepreneurship Program (AEP). This particular program provides Indigenous entrepreneurs and business owners with access to capital and business opportunities.
The Alberta Indian Investment Corporation is a First Nation-owned investment company providing lending and business resources for First Nation people. The entrepreneurial support they provide empowers First Nation business owners to successfully build businesses that will positively impact their communities.
Apeetogosan provides profitable and sustainable financial services and support to Indigenous entrepreneurs looking to attain economic self-sufficiency.
- Access to small business grants (MEAP)
- Support service programs
- Business advisory services
SIC serves the business community of the eight Métis Settlements in Alberta by providing:
- Promotion of business-driven economic development
- Access to capital by providing developmental debt financing
- The tools to build management capacity and business skills through business planning, mentoring and management support services;
- Partnerships and relationships with other Aboriginal, public and private sector partners to enhance the developmental financing and support services
- Related public and private sector programs and services
CFT7 is funded by Prairies Economic Development Canada for operations, lending, and business support services for members of Treaty Seven. They also offer technical assistance for reviewing business plans, identifying potential opportunities, business counselling, and entrepreneurial training.
The Aboriginal Business Investment Fund (ABIF) can fund capital costs for Indigenous community-owned economic development projects. Projects like these improve social and economic outcomes for Indigenous Peoples and their communities.
Indigenous Youth Business Resources
The Canadian Youth Business Foundation, in partnership with Aboriginal Business Canada and with the assistance of the Aboriginal Advisory Board, is working to establish a national organization that meets the needs of young Aboriginal entrepreneurs.
Futurpreneur Canada supports Indigenous entrepreneurs aged 18-39, helping them launch or buy their own businesses. With financing, expert mentors for up to two years, and access to resources, they help young entrepreneurs bring their business plans to life.
As an employer, you know that hiring decisions are among the most important and difficult decisions you need to make. Rupertsland Institute (RLI) can ease this burden and help you find Métis workers that match your employment needs. RLI assists employers with:
- Access to a bank of skilled, qualified and motivated individuals that can be matched to meet the needs of your organization;
- Placing job postings on the RLI job boards at all 11 Métis Education & Training Information Services (MÉTIS) centres;
- Providing wage incentives to employers who provide Métis individuals with career-related work experience and training.
Each business requires tools and resources tailored to their business to help them succeed, and that especially applies to Indigenous entrepreneurs and small businesses. There are many organizations dedicated to helping Indigenous businesses succeed, including Community Futures Central Alberta.
If you are an Indigenous entrepreneur looking to start or build your business, you can contact us today to find out how we can fund and support you.