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Minister Valdez announces $500,000 for the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business to support Indigenous entrepreneurs

Press Release

From: Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

October 19, 2023 – Vancouver, British Columbia

Advancing Indigenous economic self-determination is a crucial part of the Government of Canada’s commitment to renewing the relationship with Indigenous Peoples. This means supporting the thousands of Indigenous entrepreneurs and small businesses working to create jobs and opportunity in their communities.

Today, the Honourable Rechie Valdez, Minister of Small Business, took part in the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business’s (CCAB) West Coast Business Forum, where she announced $500,000 for the CCAB to help increase the tools and resources Indigenous small business owners and entrepreneurs need to thrive.

This funding will help the CCAB promote the 50–30 Challenge, with the goal of increasing Indigenous inclusion in the business space. The CCAB will also use the funding to revamp its Tools and Financing for Aboriginal Business website and do a deep dive into the Indigenous business ecosystem to assess what new tools, funding and training Indigenous entrepreneurs need the most and how existing support programs can be improved.

Altogether, this work will help the CCAB strengthen Indigenous entrepreneurship services and supports, help the government develop strong evidence-based programs and policies, and help Indigenous businesses play a greater part in Canada’s economy.

The Government of Canada is also investing in Indigenous entrepreneurship through Women Entrepreneurship Strategy programs like the Women Entrepreneurship Loan Fund. With funding from the Loan Fund, the National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association (NACCA) is providing support through loans to small businesses owned by Indigenous women, helping them access capital.

When we build an inclusive economy, we’re building a stronger economy. Access to capital and resources is key to helping businesses start up and scale up, especially for entrepreneurs from communities who have traditionally been overlooked and under-represented. Funding like this supports Indigenous-owned businesses as they create good jobs and drive economic growth.


“Our government recognizes the incredible contributions that Indigenous entrepreneurs bring to the Canadian economy, and that’s why it’s so important to ensure they have a fair chance at succeeding when it comes to starting and growing their own businesses. Today’s funding is great news as it is another step our government is taking to work with Indigenous communities and help advance economic reconciliation. By working with organizations like the CCAB, we are going to the source to find the best ways to support Indigenous entrepreneurs and remove the barriers to their success. Together, we will build a more inclusive economy that helps create good jobs and works for all Canadians.”

– The Honourable Rechie Valdez, Minister of Small Business

“We are encouraged that the Government of Canada is taking an increased role across ministries to advance economic reconciliation and is recognizing that investments need to be made for equity to be achievable. This funding will not only allow Indigenous-led programs to be developed and strengthened but also government programs and policies to be built to benefit Indigenous entrepreneurs across the country.”

– Tabatha Bull, President and CEO, Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business

Quick facts

  • The Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB) has been building bridges between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, businesses and communities through diverse programming, providing tools, training, network-building opportunities, major business awards and national events for 39 years.
  • Here are some brief statistics on Indigenous businesses and entrepreneurship:
    • Number of Indigenous-owned companies in Canada: more than 50,000
    • Contributions to Canada’s economy: $50 billion
    • Number of entrepreneurs who rely on personal savings to start up: 65%
  • Federally funded programs and initiatives to support Indigenous entrepreneurs and businesses include:
    • The Indigenous Growth Fund—On April 14, 2021, NACCA launched its $150 million Indigenous Growth Fund alongside the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC). It helps Indigenous small businesses attract investment and take on more ambitious projects.
    • The Aboriginal Entrepreneurship Program—This program promotes entrepreneurship in Indigenous communities and seeks to increase the number of viable Indigenous-owned businesses. Budget 2021 invested $42 million to expand the program.
    • The Indigenous Skills and Employment Training Program—Budget 2018 invested $2 billion over five years, and $408.2 million per year ongoing, to create and support this program, which includes a stronger focus on training for higher-quality, better-paying jobs rather than rapid re-employment.
    • The Business Reconciliation in Canada Guidebook—This resource, aimed at non-Indigenous businesses, provides guidance on how businesses might engage in meaningful partnerships with Indigenous communities. It was developed in partnership with the CCAB and responds directly to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action 92. To date, it is the major action by the government in this area.
  • To further support Indigenous entrepreneurs, Global Affairs Canada released a joint report with the CCAB yesterday: Adàwe: Export experiences of Indigenous entrepreneurs. This will build understanding of the unique challenges Indigenous businesses face in accessing foreign markets and will help ensure that the benefits of trade are shared among all Canadians.
  • In Budget 2023, the federal government showed it is continuing to build on progress made since 2015 in walking the path of truth and reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples; building strong, diverse communities; and protecting the environment and fighting climate change (see Budget 2023: Advancing Reconciliation and Building a Canada That Works for Everyone).

Associated links


Nadine Ramadan
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Small Business

Media Relations
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada



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