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B.C. supports opportunities for Indigenous entrepreneurs in cannabis industry

Press Release

VICTORIA – The Province is providing additional funding to the B.C. Indigenous Cannabis Business Fund (ICBF) to support Indigenous participation in the regulated cannabis industry.

Launched in December 2022, the ICBF supports First Nations communities and Indigenous businesses in British Columbia that want to increase their participation in, or join, the regulated cannabis industry.

Nearly $2.3 million will be provided to the New Relationship Trust, which is responsible for administering the program, to increase the number of Indigenous businesses that could receive support through the fund. The new, one-time funding is in addition to the original joint contribution of as much as $7.5 million by the Province and the federal government over three years.

“I am pleased that this additional grant will support Indigenous entrepreneurs in British Columbia,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. “It is another step forward in keeping true to our commitment to develop a robust, diverse and sustainable regulated cannabis economy that is inclusive of Indigenous entrepreneurs and First Nations communities.”

The fund supports business planning and advisory services, and helps Indigenous businesses or First Nations cover the costs of licensing and permitting. It also makes capital available to support the launch or expansion of businesses.

Additionally, the fund will support the development of information and planning workshops for First Nations communities and Indigenous entrepreneurs to learn about the cannabis industry, regulations, business opportunities and how to apply for funding. These supports will create jobs and economic opportunities for Indigenous businesses and First Nations.


Regional Chief Terry Teegee, BC Assembly of First Nations –

“I commend the Province for enhancing its support of First Nations cannabis-related economic development through the ICBF. This fund is one example of how the BC Assembly of First Nations advocates and works collaboratively to advance First Nations rights and interests in alignment with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”

Hugh Braker, political executive, First Nations Summit –

“We are pleased B.C. is providing additional funding for the IBCF. The cannabis industry is one of many sectors where First Nations communities and entrepreneurs can work to create self-determined economies, engage in the B.C. economy and take a lead in the cannabis industry going forward. We continue to see this program as a key support for the priorities of First Nations in relation to cannabis and look forward to how it will evolve as we continue to work to align provincial and federal laws with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”

Walter Schneider, chief executive officer, New Relationship Trust –

“The cannabis sector can be a multifaceted decision for First Nation communities and entrepreneurs. The additional funding means unlocking more opportunities for First Nations seeking to advance their own path toward economic development in the regulated cannabis industry. The New Relationship Trust is excited to continue its work with the Province of B.C. and Aboriginal financial institutions in supporting First Nations that choose to implement and participate in this important initiative.”

Quick Facts:

  • The ICBF was developed by the governments of Canada and British Columbia in partnership with the BC Assembly of First Nations and the First Nations Summit, through the federal Strategic Partnerships Initiative (SPI).
  • The SPI is an innovative mechanism for federal partners to work with other governments and Indigenous partners to support collective investment decisions and address gaps in existing programs that would otherwise limit or exclude Indigenous participation in economic opportunities.
  • The New Relationship Trust is an independent non-profit organization dedicated to strengthening First Nations in British Columbia through capacity-building.
  • The New Relationship Trust invests in First Nations by supporting them in five key capacity development areas: governance capacity, education, language, youth and Elders, and economic development.
  • Aboriginal financial institutions (AFIs) are autonomous, Indigenous-controlled, community-based financial organizations, and AFIs provide developmental lending, business financing and support services to First Nations, Métis and Inuit businesses in all provinces and territories.

Learn More:

The New Relationship Trust and participating Aboriginal financial institutions in British Columbia administer the application process and contribution agreements for the fund:


Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General
Media Relations
250 213-3602


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