Today, on the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, Kate Young, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages (FedDev Ontario), announced a total of $12.43 million for eight organizations that advance Indigenous businesses and promote and celebrate Indigenous culture and traditions across southern Ontario. Support for these organizations is as follows:
With a FedDev Ontario investment of $10.07 million, Aboriginal Impact Capital (AIC) has been established, which is a collaboration between four Aboriginal Financial Institutions (AFIs) in southern Ontario: Two Rivers Community Development Corporation, Tecumseh Community Development Corporation, the Métis Voyageur Development Fund, and the Indian Agricultural Program of Ontario. Funding will enable these AFIs to meet the increasing need for access to capital for Indigenous entrepreneurs by providing loans to spur growth. As these loans are repaid, the funds will be reinvested, creating sustained opportunities to develop growing Indigenous SMEs throughout the region for years to come.
“Six Nations of the Grand River Development Corporation (SNGRDC) is grateful to have Aboriginal Impact Capital (AIC) as an Indigenous managed source of capital available to support business financing needs. Like many Indigenous businesses, SNGRDC needs to access capital to fund the business growth that we need to undertake to achieve our goals. By offering loans up to one million dollars, AIC provides a much needed potential source of funding above the previous limits of approximately $250,000. Being able to access up to $1M through our local community AFI who understand the unique challenges we face as a First Nations’ based business enterprise provides vital support to us and growing the Indigenous economy overall.”
— Lewis Staats, Vice-President of Six Nations of the Grand River Development Corporation
Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB), with a non-repayable contribution of $160,000, will bring public awareness to Indigenous-led enterprises through the development of a publicly available National Indigenous Business Directory and Heat Map that will act as a “one-stop shop” for both the government and private companies looking to engage with Indigenous businesses. This will help to create opportunities for up to 3,000 small- and medium-sized enterprises across Canada, including 500 in southern Ontario.
“The FedDev Ontario funding will allow CCAB to create a public National Indigenous business list, allowing for a visual representation of, and contact with, Indigenous business across Canada. It will serve to increase awareness of Indigenous businesses by promoting the services and capabilities within the Indigenous business space, in turn, encouraging supply chain opportunities and growing the Indigenous economy.”
— Tabatha Bull, President and CEO, Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business
Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation is receiving a non-repayable contribution of up to $250,000 to transform Cape Croker Park into an Indigenous cultural tourism destination with new interpretive programming, facility improvements, including renovating the existing 50-year old pavilion, as well as staff training, improvements to visitor services and updates to the Band website.
“The Cape Croker Park management and the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded are excited to have received the Canadian Experiences Fund contribution for the restoration of our pavilion. This is an investment in our community’s infrastructure and in our future. The development of interpretive programming will give our people a voice through which we can share the stories of our culture and our connection to the land. Miigwetch FedDev Ontario.”
— Nathan Keeshig, Cape Croker Park Manager
Chippewas of Saugeen First Nation #29 is receiving a non-repayable contribution of up to $500,000 to refurbish a stone amphitheatre built in the 1970s, and construct a visitor centre. The centre will feature learning and educational activities and event and festival space.
“The Amphitheatre project brings a great deal of pride and accomplishment to our community, empowering all involved in the project. With this Canadian Experiences Fund contribution, we are investing in our people to create the workforce for the future as we learn and share the unique trade of drystone walling. We look forward to welcoming all visitors to our newly restored amphitheatre and to breathing new life into the shared vision for reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities.”
— Jennifer Kewageshig, Amphitheatre Program Coordinator
Indigenous Tourism Ontario (ITO) is receiving a non-repayable contribution of up to $200,000 to grow the Indigenous food tourism industry in Ontario. The project will build on ITO's previous and similar work in Northern Ontario by engaging rural and remote southern Ontario Indigenous communities to provide regional input for an Ontario Indigenous Food Tourism Strategy.
“Ontario will be home to the first province-wide Indigenous food tourism strategy and is not only leading Canada, but also the world, on this front. The Indigenous tourism industry is well positioned for growth and with access to resources and programs such as the Canadian Experiences Fund, organizations like ours can help support Indigenous tourism businesses reach their fullest potential.”
— Kevin Eshkawkogan, Indigenous Tourism Ontario, President & Chief Executive Officer
Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte is receiving a non-repayable contribution of up to $150,000 to make accessibility upgrades to Christ Church, a local attraction and National Historic Site owned by the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte. In addition, the project will undertake the restoration and preservation of the stone tomb of Ojihjiskoh, originally erected in 1840.
“The Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte appreciate the Canadian Experiences Fund contribution to assist with the cost of renovations at Christ Church, Her Majesty’s Chapel Royal of the Mohawks. This historic site honours 300 years of friendship and military alliance with the Crown and the hundreds of Mohawk lives lost at wartime and those who served. This project is preserving a part of our history, is creating jobs for specialty contractors and is contributing to tourism in the area while we educate visitors about our history.”
— R. Donald Maracle, Chief of the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte
Ottawa Tourism is receiving a non-repayable contribution of up to $500,000 to help Indigenous entrepreneurs develop their tourism ideas into viable, market-ready visitor experiences. The 10-week Indigenous Tourism Entrepreneurship Training, through Algonquin College’s Indigenous Initiatives, will be provided to 20-25 Indigenous entrepreneurs. Each participant will receive a personalized study plan, will be taught in an Indigenized learning environment, will learn the traditional ways, and be mentored by experienced Indigenous entrepreneurs, guest instructors and Knowledge Keepers.
“Ottawa Tourism is proud to work with Algonquin College to develop this unique training initiative, designed to support Indigenous tourism entrepreneurs in building visitor experiences that celebrate and highlight Indigenous culture and heritage. Without the support from FedDev Ontario, we couldn’t have created this important capacity-building destination development tool. We are thrilled to launch this initiative this fall and look forward to welcoming new Indigenous experiences into our region’s tourism landscape.”
— Michael Crockatt, President and CEO of Ottawa Tourism
Six Nations of the Grand River Development Corporation is receiving a non-repayable contribution of up to $600,000 to support the revitalization of Chiefswood Park into a world-class heritage destination that will offer a variety of product experiences to teach guests about Six Nations Indigenous culture.
“We are very thankful for the contribution to Chiefswood Park as the revitalization will allow us to expand the existing tourism initiatives within the community. Indigenous tourism is continuously growing and Six Nations Tourism along with Chiefswood Park welcomes visitors to the community for authentic Indigenous experiences.”
— Jaquie Jamieson, Manager of Six Nations Tourism
News Release: FedDev Ontario invests in Indigenous organizations and tourism in southern Ontario