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Minister Vandal announces investments to support women’s entrepreneurship, Indigenous economic growth across Yukon

Press Release

From: Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency

July 11, 2023

The Government of Canada is continuing to make important investments to ensure a strong economy in communities across the North. Traditionally underserved businesses, particularly those that are women-owned or Indigenous-owned, are an important pillar to regional economic growth, providing a wide spectrum of important goods and services to their communities.

Today, the Honourable Dan Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs, and Minister responsible for PrairiesCan and CanNor, and Dr. Brendan Hanley, Member of Parliament for the Yukon, announced that a contribution of $200,000 towards the Indigenous Women Entrepreneur (IWE) program, a micro-loan initiative operated by dänä Näye Ventures, has resulted in additional capital support for 12 Indigenous businesswomen to kick-start or grow their businesses across the Yukon.

This funding, delivered by CanNor, and part of the Government of Canada’s $6 billion Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES), served as additional financing for dänä Näye Ventures to accommodate a growing subscription base to its Indigenous Women Entrepreneur program, allowing for more applicants to be accepted into the program.

dänä Näye Ventures is a Yukon-based, First Nation-led institution that provides business development and financial services for entrepreneurs and businesses across the territory. Through its IWE micro loan program, applicants can receive micro-loans up to $20,000 to expand or grow their business, and are provided access to dedicated business support officers, regular workshops and skills training.

Today’s announcement demonstrates the Government of Canada’s ongoing commitment to supporting the diversified growth of northern economic sectors and enhancing the contributions of Indigenous women in the economy.


“The economy will realize its full potential and fire on all cylinders when people and businesses are not left behind. By investing in women-owned and Indigenous-owned small businesses, we can ensure everyone benefits from a strong economy in the Yukon and across Canada. Initiatives like the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy recognize the value these businesses have to their respective communities, as well as the work by organizations like dänä Näye Ventures to support their growth. These businesses create good jobs, are a source for career development and skills training, and give new platforms for the kinds of innovation and creativity that keep our northern economies competitive.”

The Honourable Dan Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs, and Minister responsible for PrairiesCan and CanNor

“The entrepreneurial spirit has always been strong in the Yukon. By making targeted investments in initiatives such as the Indigenous Women Entrepreneur program, the Government of Canada is ensuring every type of business has the support it needs to innovate, contribute and prosper in the Yukon’s growing economy.”

Dr. Brendan Hanley, Member of Parliament for Yukon

“Indigenous women are, and always have been, at the very heart of our communities. Entrepreneurship represents a promising pathway for Indigenous women to enrich their lives, strengthen their families and participate in the development of their communities. At däna Näye Ventures we are happy that we are part of their growth, while working with CanNor to continue doing what is best for our communities.”

Elaine Chambers, General Manager, dänä Näye Ventures

“I have never been happier to get the help I needed to start up my business.”

Christine Lewis, Owner, Bannock Slap Indigenous Soul Food (IWE Recipient)

“When I inform our clients that their IWE Micro Loan applications have been accepted, they are overjoyed! Some hugged me while others shed joyful tears. Knowing that I contribute to their ability to launch or expand their business gives me a pleasant feeling.”

Rosalie Norwegian, IWE Program Officer

Quick facts

  • The Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES), a more than $6-billion investment, includes:
    • the Women Entrepreneurship Loan Fund, which facilitates women entrepreneurs’ access to additional affordable micro-loans through existing loan programs;
    • the WES Ecosystem Fund, which is helping remove barriers to the support networks and deliver the resources that women entrepreneurs need to start up, scale up and access new markets; and
    • the Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub, which has brought together 10 regional hubs, over 300 organizations and thousands of women entrepreneurs to create a more
  • The announced funding was complementary to the National Aboriginal Capital Corporations  Association (NACCA) funding to dänä Näye Ventures of $150,000 in programming under the Indigenous Women Entrepreneur program

Associated links


Kyle Allen
Press Secretary and Communications Advisor
Office of the Minister of Northern Affairs, PrairiesCan and CanNor

Steve Ducharme
Communications Manager
Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency (CanNor)



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