RAMA, Ontario – On November 7th, 2019, the Waubetek Business Development Corporation hosted its 2019 Business Awards Gala at the Casino Rama Resort and Conference Centre, at Rama First Nation, Ontario, at 5:00 p.m. The gala was held to recognize Indigenous role models recognizes the achievements of Aboriginal businesses in North East Ontario who create much-needed jobs and services throughout the region and also serve as inspirational Aboriginal role models. In this age of reconciliation, it is important for everyone to see the significant contribution made by Indigenous businesses that benefit both Indigenous and Non-Indigenous people alike.
The Waubetek Business Development Corporation is a member of the network of Community Futures Development Corporations in Ontario and Aboriginal Financial Institutions in Canada. “Waubetek”, meaning “the future” in the Ojibwe language, has been honoured to help to significantly strengthen the regional economy through provide a variety of business services and $94 million in investment financing to more than 3,000 Aboriginal businesses through a variety of industries since 1989. This celebration also marked Waubetek’s 30th Anniversary.
This “Investing in the Aboriginal Spirit” recognized four (4) Indigenous businesses in the following categories.
- “Youth Entrepreneur of the Year” – presented and sponsored by RBC, to an entrepreneur who has established a successful business prior to reaching thirty-six (36) years of age. This award was presented to Kathryn Corbiere, OneKwe is a modern metal fabrication business located on the M’Chigeeng First Nation, Manitoulin Island, Ontario.
- “Entrepreneur of the Year” – presented and sponsored by Ontario Power Generation, to a successful business less than three years old that exhibits substantial future potential. This award was presented to Z’Gamok Enterprises Inc., is a community economic development corporation business located on the Sagamok Anishnawbek First Nation, Ontario.
- “Business Merit Award” – presented and sponsored by Waubetek Business Development Corporation, to business people regarded as significant contributors to their community and region. This award was presented to Mark Hamlin, RF Kiln Tech Ltd., is an innovative wood recovery business located in Midland, Ontario.
- “Business Achievement Award” – presented and sponsored by Cole-Munro and Canadian Aquaculture Systems Inc., to a well-established business with a history of pioneering and who plays also an integral role in the economy of their communities through continued business innovation, expansion and job creation. This award was presented to Ben Kanasawe, of Buzwah Fisheries, an aquaculture business located on the Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory, Manitoulin Island, Ontario.
The gala also featured Indigenous music artists: Red Man Singers, Niibishens Trudeau, Chief Guy Monague, Chief Scott McLeod and The Lohrwoods.