Toronto – Indigenous – Bank of Montreal (BMO) has initiated a bespoke lending program, BMO for Indigenous Entrepreneurs, aimed at propelling Indigenous-owned businesses. This initiative builds on BMO’s enduring support for Indigenous business banking, aligning with their objective to foster economic empowerment within Indigenous communities across Canada.
Bridging the Capital Access Gap
At the heart of this program is the provision of loans up to $150,000, a significant step towards eliminating financial barriers that Indigenous entrepreneurs often face. The funds can be deployed for various capital investments including, but not limited to, equipment acquisition, property and leasehold improvements, inventory, payroll, lease payments, and short-term receivable financing. The program welcomes business owners both on and off reserves, striving to be an inclusive platform for Indigenous entrepreneurs.
Beyond Financing: Education and Professional Partnerships
BMO goes a step further by offering educational resources and fostering professional partnerships. This holistic approach is designed to provide the requisite knowledge and networks for Indigenous entrepreneurs to not only initiate but also to scale up and fast-track the growth of their businesses. The bank’s engagement spans three pillars: Education, Employment, and Economic Empowerment, all underpinned by a strong commitment to fostering an inclusive environment with zero barriers.
A Tradition of Supporting Indigenous Business Ventures
For over three decades, BMO has been nurturing relationships with Indigenous business owners, recognizing the unique blend of traditional values and innovative approaches they bring to the table. The BMO for Indigenous Entrepreneurs program is a manifestation of BMO’s ethos to “Boldly Grow the Good” in business and life. This commitment is further evidenced by their goal to double the support for small business and women entrepreneurs compared to 2019 levels.
A Sustainable Future Envisioned
BMO’s pledge to mobilize $300 billion in sustainable financing by 2025 encapsulates lending to Indigenous businesses, marking a step towards a more sustainable and inclusive economy. Their recognition with a Gold Certification in the Progressive Aboriginal Relations program for seven consecutive times speaks volumes about their dedication towards advancing Indigenous interests and economic development.
Continuous Learning and Community Engagement
In collaboration with the First Nations University of Canada, BMO has also crafted Nisitohtamowin – Understanding Indigenous Perspectives, a free e-learning course accessible to all. This initiative, along with their annual Indigenous Partnerships and Progress Report, reflects BMO’s continual effort to enrich the discourse around Indigenous economic empowerment and community engagement.
In conclusion, the BMO for Indigenous Entrepreneurs program is a monumental stride towards fostering a conducive environment for the growth and sustainability of Indigenous-owned businesses. With financial support, educational resources, and professional partnerships at the helm, Indigenous entrepreneurs are well-poised to navigate the business landscape successfully.
For further insights into BMO’s commitment towards Indigenous communities and how they are aiding small to medium-sized enterprises, visit www.bmo.com/indigenousbusiness, www.bmo.com/indigenous-commitments, and www.bmo.com/main/business respectively.