Start-up Financing for Aboriginal Entrepreneurs

by David Dierking

2 min read

Obtaining start-up financing can be one of the most challenging parts of starting a new business, and it’s important to investigate a range of loans, grants, and other types of funding. Particularly for aboriginal entrepreneurs, there are many special programs that can help. Here’s a look at a few of the most popular options.

Aboriginal Business and Entrepreneurship Development

The Aboriginal Business and Entrepreneurship Development offers funding to Aboriginal business owners or businesses with majority Aboriginal ownership. Distributed through Aboriginal Financial Institutions, the funding may cover business planning, capital costs, expansions, marketing, and a range of other expenses. There is also a mentoring and business support component to the program. To be approved, applicants must have at least 10% of the needed funds in cash, and they may need to have other types of financing in place as well.

Canadian Council of Aboriginal Businesses

Committed to encouraging Aboriginal entrepreneurship, the Canadian Council of Aboriginal Businesses connects entrepreneurs to procurement opportunities, offers certification for corporate performance in Aboriginal relations, and sets up mentorships. Additionally, this program connects Aboriginal entrepreneurs to financing and tools. The offerings rotate on a regular basis, so it’s important to sign up for notifications from this organization, and you may want to attend a networking event so you can meet like-minded business owners.

Canadian Executive Services Organization

The Canadian Executive Services Organization aims to reduce poverty and increase opportunities in Aboriginal communities throughout Canada. The group works with businesses, community organizations, and individuals, and it provides guidance with business planning and development, and part of that involves helping entrepreneurs or organizations find sustainable funding for their endeavours.

First Nations Bank

First Nations Bank is committed to providing financial services to Aboriginal people and advocating for economic growth in their businesses and communities. Organized like a traditional bank, First Nations Bank serves both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal clients, but the organization has at least 80% Aboriginal ownership. In terms of commercial financing, this bank offers lines of credit, overdraft for business chequing accounts, and other products.

Business Development Canada Aboriginal Banking Department

Dedicating to serving Aboriginal individuals and communities, the Aboriginal Banking Department offers traditional financing solutions for entrepreneurs. Its loans offer flexible seasonal repayment schedules, and they don’t use personal assets as collateral. The organization also visits at least ten communities per year to share information about business solutions, and it offers other activities and events for Aboriginal business owners. In addition to traditional financing, the ABD also works with organizations such as the Aboriginal Business Development Fund, which provides grants and loans that are worth $5,000 to $$20,000, to entrepreneurs who have trouble getting approved for commercial loans.

Settlement Investment Corporation

In addition to nationwide programs, there are provincial programs such as the Settlement Investment Corporation. The SIC works with the eight Metis settlements in Alberta, and this organization helps qualifying individuals access debt financing, develop business skills, and build management capacity. It also fosters networking opportunities.

References & Resources

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