First Nations make Business Moves to ‘Supply Change’ in Northern Ontario

Brian Davey, Jason Rasevych and Jason Thompson at PDAC with Aboriginal Business Professional Association
Brian Davey, Jason Rasevych and Jason Thompson at PDAC with Aboriginal Business Professional Association

THUNDER BAY – BUSINESS – Close to 100 delegates from various First Nations communities representing Northern Ontario met with potential partners from across Canada at a new event designed to stimulate discussion, create relationships, do business and capitalize on the burgeoning economy of Northern Ontario. ABM Indigenous: Ontario North is taking place June 11th and 12th at the Valhalla Inn in Thunder Bay. It’s a partnership between Anishnawbe Business Professional Association (ABPA) and Advanced Business Match (ABM).

The powerful technology-facilitated trade show is designed to connect Indigenous and non- Indigenous decision makers to create opportunities for business. It is a highly efficient way to connect commercial interests and drive economic growth. Delegates have been preparing by matching in ABM’s sophisticated online forum; now they’ll take those conversations into a hyper-productive schedule of face to face meetings on the trade show floor.

Some of the First Nations includes Animbiigoo Zaagi’igan Anishiniaabek, Ginoogaming, Long Lake # 58, Nibinamik, Ojibways of Onigaming, Pays Plat, Red Rock and Wunnumin Lake as well as Nokkiwin Tribal Council, that met with private sector representatives to discuss ways to increase Indigenous participation in and capitalize from projects on their traditional territory.

Some of the non-Indigenous delegates include Haztech Energy Corp, Penner Oil, McDougall Energy, MNP LLP, QM Environmental, Outland Camps, Strad Energy, Pioneer Construction, Growcer Modular Food Systems, Newmont Goldcorp Musselwhite Mine, Valard Construction and Public Services and Procurement Canada. There are also several Indigenous-owned businesses looking to forge new relationships, including travel business Happy Time Tours, and First Logistics, a division of Kimesskanemenow LP, equally owned by the Attawapiskat, Fort Albany, Kashechewan and Moose Cree First Nations.

For ABPA President Jason Rasevych, ABM Indigenous: Ontario North helps fulfill his organization’s mandate to empower his region’s First Nations to strengthen their impact as players in a resource-driven economy. “This event is the first initiative spearheaded by us to connect businesses and communities in the region for respectful and rewarding relationships that lead to mutually beneficial business agreements and arrangements. It provides a fertile environment for Indigenous and non-Indigenous SMEs to find partners to sharpen competitive edges, improve products and services and capacity to benefit from procurement opportunities and engage industry to increase participation by Indigenous businesses in the supply chain for existing or planned projects.”

Katrin Harry, Managing Partner for ABM says their events, held annually at cities across Canada, eliminate geographic barriers, reduces costs, and creates connections that would otherwise not happen. “They are a highly efficient way to connect commercial interests and drive economic growth while fostering economic reconciliation.”

For Rasevych, this is an exciting time for First Nations in Northern Ontario. “We’re engaged in mainstream business development in a more meaningful way than we’ve ever been. We’re working on creating a lasting legacy for our future generations while driving sustainable economic development that brings success for all.”

The Anishnawbe Business Professional Association acknowledges the corporate event sponsors the Thunder Bay Community Economic Development Commission (CEDC), Resolute Forest Products, Newmont Goldcorp Musselwhite, Venshore Mechanical Ltd, and cultural entertainment sponsor NADF.

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