Government of Canada supports Indigenous economic development in southern Ontario
Two Indigenous-led businesses receive Government of Canada investment of more than $1.6 million to create new jobs and grow
September 8, 2023 - Barrie, Ontario
Indigenous businesses, organizations, and entrepreneurs are an important part of growing the economy and creating good jobs in southern Ontario and across Canada. That is why the Government of Canada is working with these Indigenous communities and their members to strengthen relationships so that people can reach their potential and create new possibilities across Ontario.
Today, the Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), announced an investment of over $1.6 million for two Indigenous-led businesses, eSupply Canada and Biskane Inc., to grow and diversify, leading to new jobs and supporting inclusive economic prosperity.
As part of this investment, eSupply Canada, an Indigenous-owned online distributor of office, janitorial, and small-scale industrial supplies, received more than $1.1 million to improve its online e-commerce platform so it can better support Indigenous businesses and entrepreneurs across Canada. With the Government of Canada's support, eSupply Canada is also implementing new digital services to improve the customer experience, including package tracking. As a result of this investment, the company will create eight new jobs and increase e-commerce revenue. This will help the company grow and create more opportunities for the Indigenous community.
Biskane Inc., an Indigenous-led company that provides e-commerce support for Indigenous artists, business owners, suppliers, and vendors to market their arts, crafts, and products, received an investment from the federal government of up to $500,000. With this investment, Biskane will develop an online platform for supply chain management and mobile authentication to help onboard Indigenous businesses. The company will also collaborate with Indigenous social media influencers to increase the visibility of its Indigenous marketplace, products, and supply chain. As a result of this investment, the company will create seven new positions to support its digital storefront and enhance the online marketplace for Indigenous businesses, allowing them to expand their market reach.
These investments are working to provide good jobs and economic opportunities for Indigenous communities. In partnership with Indigenous businesses and organizations, the Government of Canada is committed to supporting Indigenous entrepreneurs in realizing their goals and helping build a strong, diverse future economy.
“Today’s announcement celebrates the incredible potential of two Indigenous-led businesses, eSupply Canada and Biskane Inc. This support helps them grow and enables them to provide meaningful opportunities for Indigenous communities, entrepreneurs, and artists. The Government of Canada will continue to work with Indigenous businesses and communities so they can reach their potential and create new possibilities.”
- The Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario
“Through the support of FedDev Ontario, we can leverage our technology and supply chain to develop a platform that allows Indigenous entrepreneurs to effortlessly start their own e-commerce business, one with national reach and economies of scale to compete with big box retailers. With our platform, Indigenous peoples will be better equipped to take full advantage of the government's and industry's commitments to economic reconciliation and supply chain diversity.”
- Steven Vanloffeld, Founder and CEO, eSupply Canada
“It’s been a long hard story, but we’re going to take hold of the present and make the future what we want it to be. This support for Biskane from FedDev Ontario will help us to develop new technology that will support supply chains and Indigenous businesses in our e-marketplace.”
- Chad Solomon, Founder, Biskane Inc.
Founded in 2019, eSupply Canada operates as an Indigenous online distribution platform and electronic broker between customers and wholesalers while empowering underrepresented Canadians to pursue entrepreneurship. The company offers an online platform to purchase products from over 1,000 leading suppliers, including Stanley Johnson, 3M and Honeywell.
In 2020, Mukwa Media, a company that sells Indigenous products to communities and educational institutions across Canada, established Biskane Inc., an Indigenous online supply chain management platform for Indigenous artists and entrepreneurs to market their arts, crafts and products in Ontario and Canada.
In June 2023, FedDev Ontario announced new resources for Indigenous businesses and organizations to discuss their objectives as they relate to economic development and guidance on navigating available programming and services. For more information please contact us at +1(877) 553-5507 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On September 12, 2023 FedDev Ontario will be streamlining its application process to better serve southern Ontario businesses and organizations. As a result, applications for funding will now be accepted three times per year (fall, winter and spring), with tailored application forms and streamlined funding parameters. This change will make applying for funding easier and more predictable. For more information please visit our website or please see here.
In November 2022, FedDev Ontario announced an investment of over $1 million for Pinnguaq to adapt its digital literacy training tools to support businesses and underrepresented job-seekers in Indigenous communities in southeastern Ontario.
Since November 2015, FedDev Ontario has contributed more than $75 million to support more than 240 Indigenous-led and Indigenous-focused projects. This includes a $3.5 million investment for Indigenous Tourism Ontario (ITO) to deliver support to Indigenous-led tourism entities across southern Ontario, in addition to direct investments for Indigenous-led tourism organizations and businesses through the Tourism Relief Fund.
Press Secretary, Office of the Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario
FedDev Ontario Media Relations
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