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Business ᐊᐱᒥᐱᐦᑖᑭᓂᐧᐃᒡ ᐋᐱᑎᓰᐧᐃᓐ

Aboriginal business networking event focuses on Indigenous economic development

BY Sakib Hossain May 22, 2023

With a focus on Indigenous economic development, the event aims to bring together entrepreneurs, businesses and supporters to discuss the challenges, opportunities and tools needed to support the growth of Indigenous-owned businesses.

The event will feature a fireside chat with Robert Auclair, Business Development Officer for CREECO, the recipient of the CCAB’s 2022 Aboriginal Economic Development Corporation award. 

Auclair will share insights on how CREECO’s companies contribute to employment, training and revenue for the Cree Nation. CREECO’s latest project is a $100 million, 26-story tower on Robert Bourassa Boulevard in Montreal.

Stéphane Côté, President of Major Projects Division, COGIR, CREECO’s partner on the project, will also participate in a discussion that will focus on the importance of Indigenous economic development, the challenges faced by Indigenous-owned businesses, and the opportunities for growth.

The event is part of CCAB’s efforts to promote economic reconciliation and create opportunities for Indigenous-owned businesses and entrepreneurs. It comes at a critical time, as Indigenous-owned businesses in Canada were hit hard by the Covid pandemic. 

According to CCAB research, over half of Indigenous businesses reported lower revenues and many had to temporarily close or lay off staff. The event will provide an opportunity for Indigenous entrepreneurs and businesses to network and access resources and support to help them recover and grow.

The event is supported by Google Canada, which announced a $1.5 million commitment to CCAB to help Indigenous businesses and entrepreneurs across the country. Most of the support will go towards cash grants and CCAB memberships for Indigenous businesses. The partnership between Google Canada and CCAB aims to close the digital divide and create opportunities for Indigenous businesses to capture the full potential of digital.

“Guided by CCAB’s research, our support will be used by CCAB to address some of the most pressing needs of Indigenous businesses in Canada, with the goal of building a more resilient and inclusive economy,” said Sabrina Geremia, country director of Google Canada.

Indigenous-owned businesses in Canada contribute more than $30 billion annually to Canada’s GDP, and by 2025, that number is expected to be over $100 billion. 

“Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business is thrilled to be returning to Montreal for our first in-person Tools and Financing for Aboriginal Business networking event post-Covid,” said Philip Ducharme, vice-president, entrepreneurship, and procurement at CCAB. 

“We look forward to bringing together members of the CCAB family, as well as welcoming new family members,” he added. “This will be an afternoon of building business connections and hearing the success stories that come from growing the Indigenous economy.”

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