The Anishnawbe Business Professional Association (ABPA) today opened the registration for the inaugural ‘Roots in Resilience Webinar Series’ to help First Nation community-owned businesses and indigenous entrepreneurs access much-needed capital amid the economic devastation brought by COVID-19.
“COVID-19 is devastating our First Nations communities and without access to stimulus funding we risk losing critical businesses that create jobs and help build opportunities in our Northern economy,” said Jason Rasevych, President of the ABPA. “We are creating a series of information sessions online and by teleconference to help First Nation companies play on an even playing field and give them a chance to survive with the hope to prosper,” Rasevych said.
The Roots in Resilience Series (Our Fair Share) is designed to help ensure First Nation’s economic development corporations, community-owned partnerships, indigenous entrepreneurs and independent contractors understand that they are eligible and how to apply for emergency loans and grant programs. This provides them with clear information about the requirements for a successful application.
The series kicks off on May 6th, 2020 at 1:00 p.m. eastern standard time with special guest speaker Brian Davey, Executive Director of NADF. NADF provides financing programs to 89 First Nations and their members, on or off-reserve, as well as entrepreneurs and wholly-owned or majority-owned First Nation businesses operating in Northern Ontario. The goal of the session is to guide the First Nation companies and educate them about the stimulus support funding by connecting them with the right people that can process applications for these potentially business-saving loans and grants.
On April 18, 2020, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced $306 million in new pandemic relief funds earmarked for indigenous business. The new package allows Indigenous Financial Institutions across Canada to take new applicants for the program, which provides emergency loans to First Nation businesses.
The ABPA and First Nations leadership have also been calling on the federal government to include First Nation community-owned corporations and partnerships in the eligibility criteria for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy.
Due to the obstacles to accessing financing, First Nations businesses also face considerable challenges in accessing the stimulus measures put in place by the government for SMEs. In 2015, only 19% of First Nation businesses accessed financing from traditional financial institutions. This is one of the main reasons that the ABPA is stepping up to bridge the information, application and advocacy gap.
“First Nation businesses have always struggled to access the capital they need to thrive. Now is the time to show commitment to the communities being hit the hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic. I look forward to working with the key players and institutions that want to help,” stated Rasevych.
For more information about the ABPA – Roots in Resilience Series Click Here.
To register for Our Fair Share: Helping Indigenous Business in Northern Ontario Access Covid-19 Relief funds: Click Here.