Thunder Bay CEDC launches funding program for Indigenous Entrepreneurs

Open for Business on New Year's Day?

Thunder Bay – BUSINESS – The Thunder Bay Community Economic Development Commission (CEDC) is pleased to announce a new chapter for the Starter Company Plus program. With help from our partners at the Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation & Trade, and Indigenous Affairs Ontario, the Thunder Bay and District Entrepreneur Centre has opened a new Indigenous funding stream for the Starter Company Plus Program called: Miinikaanan Badakidoon – which means “to plant the seeds” in Anishnaawbe from the Lake Nipigon dialect.

“The Thunder Bay CEDC recognizes the importance of supporting and growing Indigenous based businesses. Providing a new stream of funding that furthers our support of Indigenous owned and operated business is crucial to bolstering the strength and diversity of our economy.” states Eric Zakrewski, CEO, Thunder Bay CEDC. “The Starter Company Plus program has been around since 2014, and has helped hundreds of entrepreneurs in our region, covering areas from Atikokan to Greenstone. The new funding stream is a source of new potential, reflecting both entrepreneurship and growth.”

The Miinikaanan Badakidoon funding will support Indigenous lead business and entrepreneurs across the Northwest region. The program has been adapted to provide business training, mentoring, and grant funding specific to Indigenous entrepreneurs.

“Ontario recognizes the critical role that Indigenous entrepreneurs and businesses play in creating lasting economic prosperity for Indigenous people and communities and supporting COVID-19 response and recovery efforts,” states Robert Derbyshire, Manager, Strategic Planning and Economic Policy Branch, Ministry of Indigenous Affairs. “Funding for this program will support important entrepreneurship and employment skills training to meet the unique needs of Indigenous entrepreneurs and employees in Northwestern Ontario.”

$50,000 in grants are available through the program, which will assist 10 entrepreneurs in launching their business, expanding operations, or purchase an existing business. Applications for the program are open today, Wednesday, December 15th, 2021 and can be found at with program delivery beginning in the New Year.

Applications close Friday, January 7th, 2021.

Visit for more information about the program.

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