Indigenous business program launched

Online course designed for First Nation entrepreneurs

Canadian actor Simon Baker, left, with Ian Campbell, hereditary chief of the Squamish Nation, at the Indigenous Partnership Success Showcase in May, where indigenous business and partnerships were showcased. | Nelson Bennett Photo

There are already an estimated 50,000 small and medium-sized businesses run by aboriginal people in Canada, according to the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business, and for younger indigenous people thinking of starting their own business, there is a new online business course available.

Activ8 Corporate Relations and Training is launching a new nine-hour online course for First Nations people thinking of starting their own business.The cost of the online course is $495. In some cases, First Nations economic development offices will cover the cost of the course for would-be indigenous entrepreneurs.

“The Indigenous economy in Canada was estimated at $32 billion in 2016 and is expected to balloon to $100 billion within the next five years,” the company says in a news release.

“Much of the growth is in big projects, however, developing areas means greater opportunity for Indigenous entrepreneurs to meet the demand for goods and services in these regions.

“Procurement mandates of Indigenous communities, corporate Canada and government give priority to hiring member-owned businesses from a nation's community whose land is in development.”

The new course offers training in eCommerce, sales, marketing and digital communications skills. Some First Nations communities, like the Nisga'a, have only recently obtained access to high-speed Internet, so online instruction wasn't even an option for some remote indigenous communities, and is only now starting to become available.

Activ8 business training has been used by the Squamish First Nation’s Nch'Kay Economic Development Corporation.

"We have partnered with Activ8 to provide entrepreneurial training at the Squamish Nation so that our members learn about self-employment and are better prepared to access procurement opportunities happening on our lands,” said the corporation’s COO, Brian Titus.

"Cultivating member-owned businesses contributes to local prosperity and job creation benefiting not only the individual and their family but the entire community."