APEX – Aboriginal Partnership Expo Garners FedNor Support

Business Report
Chief Clarence Louie speaking at Aroland First Nation Vision Quest in Thunder Bay
Chief Clarence Louie speaking at Aroland First Nation Vision Quest in Thunder Bay

THUNDER BAY – BUSINESS – A FedNor investment of $39,500 will enable the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce to host the Aboriginal Partnership Exchange, which gets underway on Thursday this week. Specifically, the funding is supporting a number of marketing and conference logistics activities. The event will help participants build business management capacity by helping them better understand available opportunities in their region, outlining growth areas to consider in business development planning, and highlighting best practices that have led to successful partnerships in other jurisdictions.

Greg Rickford MP
Greg Rickford MP Kenora

“Our Government is proud to help Northern Ontario communities, First Nations and businesses to capitalize on economic and business development opportunities. Today’s investment will help foster and strengthen collaboration and partnerships between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal businesses to maximize the potential for economic growth and job creation,” said The Honourable Greg Rickford Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario. 

Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce President
Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce President Charla Robinson

“Thanks to the Government of Canada, through FedNor, this event will set the stage for networking opportunities that could build and grow connections between purchasers and suppliers, address workforce training challenges, and raise awareness about local supply chains for the benefit of all in the region,” stated Charla Robinson, President, Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce.

NetNewsledger will carry the keynote speakers and other components of the conference live.

APEX Agenda

9:00am Opening Ceremonies

9:30pm Morning Keynote Presentation

A Pathway to Prosperity…
Chief Clarence Louie, Osoyoos Indian Band

Widely recognized as a one of North America’s most prominent Aboriginal business leaders, Chief Louie shares his insight how social-economic development is a pre-requisite for First Nations self- reliance and will facilitate a return to Aboriginal working culture. Chief Louie draws on his experience as Chief and Chairperson of the Osoyoos Indian Band and how those experiences relate to development in Northern Ontario.

A Success Story: Powering Change in Northwestern Ontario
Byron LeClair, Director of Energy Projects – Pic River First Nation

Since 1991, Pic River First Nation has engaged private sector industry and partners to develop multiple energy projects as a means to provide own-source revenue streams for their community. As team lead for energy projects in the community, Mr. LeClair shares the success and benefits that have resulted from these projects and the importance of effective partnering in promoting community development.

10:30am Networking Coffee Break

11:00am: General Session– Establishing the Economic Landscape for Northwestern Ontario

Doug Murray, CEO – Thunder Bay Community Economic Development Commission
Brian Davey, Executive Director – Nishnawbe Aski Development Fund

Northwestern Ontario is rich with abundant natural resources driving Forestry, Mining, Energy, and Tourism Sectors to name a few. Serving as a regional hub to Northwestern Ontario, Thunder Bay’s economy is further enhanced by the demand of essential supplies and services required by outlying communities. Mr. Murray and Mr. Davey will guide us through an overview of the regional economic opportunities and challenges that we must overcome to promote a healthier, more vibrant Northwestern Ontario.

12:00pm Luncheon Keynote – Successfully Engaging our First Nations Partners

Calvin Helin – Bestselling, multi-award winning author, speaker, entrepreneur, and lawyer

Author of seven-times bestseller, Dances with Dependency, Calvin Helin shares his thoughts on engaging First Nations affected by resource based projects to obtain meaningful consent and engagement. A leader in the Eagle Spirit Energy Project in Northern BC, Mr. Helin proposes alternatives to engagement of First Nations affected by proposed Enbridge and Kinder Morgan Pipeline Projects and draws correlations to similar resource development opportunities in Northern Ontario.

1:00pm Concurrent Session 1- Digging Deeper: Understanding the Cultural, Social, and Economic Impacts of First Nations Business

David Paul Achneepineskum, CEO – Matawa First Nations
Brian Davey, Executive Director – Nishnawbe Aski Development Fund
Dr. Cynthia Wesley-Esquimaux – Vice-Provost of Aboriginal Initiatives, Lakehead University

A 2013 survey of 12 Nishawbe Aski Nation communities estimated that First Nations communities contribute over $52 Million annually to Thunder Bay’s economy. Many of these communities face unique challenges as a result of their remote locations, but are faced with even greater economic opportunities as the result of their close proximity to potential resource projects. Our panel will discuss the cultural, social, and economic impacts that must be considered and included when engaging First Nations customers and business partners.

Concurrent Session 2 – Aboriginal Solutions to the Workforce, Education, and Training Needs of the Future

Glenn Nolan, Vice President Aboriginal Affairs – Noront Resources Inc.
Don Bernosky, Vice President Regional Workforce Development – Confederation College
John DiGiacomo, Executive Director – Anishnabek Employment & Training Services

The growing demand for skilled labour in virtually all sectors in Ontario is expected to continue to rise in the next 15 to 20 years. The Aboriginal youth population is growing four times faster than any other demographic in Canada. Our panel examines the continuum from education to workforce, and answers questions how partners can better engage the Aboriginal population as a solution to workforce needs.

2:00pm Networking Break

2:30pm Concurrent Session 3 – “The Business” of Aboriginal Business: Finance, Legal, and Accounting Considerations

Ted Scollie, Partner, Lawyer – Erickson & Partners
Jason Williams, Senior Tax Manager – BDO Canada, Thunder Bay
Herb Zobell, Regional Director, Aboriginal Markets – RBC Royal Bank
Moderator: Ted Davis – BDO Canada, Thunder Bay

Our panel of business experts take us through the considerations to factor in decision making when structuring new partnerships and business involving Aboriginal partners. Topics include legal structures, accounting considerations, governance policies, and access to financing.

2:30pm Concurrent Session 4 – Emerging Leaders

A panel of young professionals and entrepreneurs to share their inspiration and motivation to success and the value of mentoring, and networking.

Kateri Skaarup, COO – Skaarup Construction
Derek Fox – Lawyer, Erickson & Partners
Tony McGuire, President & Director – Theymedia

3:30pm Reflections

4:00pm Networking Reception

5:30pm Closing

– See more at: https://www.netnewsledger.com/2015/04/17/chief-clarence-louie-apex-conference-keynote-address/#sthash.FZOgjkoT.dpuf

Quick Facts

  • The focus of the Aboriginal Partnership Exchange is on best practices, collaboration and workforce education and training
  • The funding announced today is provided through FedNor’s Northern Ontario Development Program, which support projects that promote sustainable community economic development, enhance business development and growth, and facilitate
  • Since 2006, through FedNor’s Northern Ontario Development Program, the Harper Government has invested $351 million in support of more than 1,675 projects. These investments have supported more than 22,700 jobs throughout Northern
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