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NW-ACE program’s golden glow: international recognition for in community entrepreneurial training program

Press Release

May 16, 2019, Victoria, BC – The Aboriginal Canadian Entrepreneurs (ACE) program, developed in partnership with Tribal Resources Investment Corporation (TRICORP), provincial and federal governments and the Peter B. Gustavson School of Business has been honoured with the 2019 Excellence in Practice Gold Award in the special category of Ecosystem Development. Bestowed on the program by the world’s largest association in the field of management development, the European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD), the international recognition honours ACE’s commitment to in community learning and development opportunities for Indigenous entrepreneurs across BC.

The only North American partnership to be recognized as part of the 2019 awards, the ACE program provides Indigenous students to learn, while in living in their communities, the tools needed to turn skills and passion into viable businesses that benefit themselves and their community.

“We’re proud of the ACE programs and the difference they are making in the lives of our people and in the economic self-reliance of our Indigenous communities. This prestigious international honour validates the power in partnership where we work together and learn from each other by bridging Indigenous culture with the key principles of entrepreneurship,” says Frank Parnell, CEO of TRICORP.

The program blends cutting-edge concepts and traditional values with hands-on practical learning and mentorship, leveraging the skills and wisdom of Indigenous community leaders and university educators. To date, the program has 309 graduates from 38 Indigenous communities with 84 businesses started. Enabling the creation of more Indigenous businesses is important for the prosperity of Indigenous communities and helps move toward economic reconciliation in Canada.

“It is an honour to be invited by TRICORP to co-design the ACE program to provide prospective entrepreneurs with the skills, knowledge and mentorship needed to successfully start a business, serve their communities with confidence, and foster entrepreneurial development while using their Indigenous heritage”, says Dr. Brent Mainprize, Director of the ACE Program and entrepreneurship professor at the Gustavson School of Business, “Indigenous businesses and communities in Canada hold tremendous potential to revitalize regional economies and contribute to prosperity and well-being for all Canadians.”

EFMD created the Excellence in Practice Awards in 2007 to showcase outstanding learning and development partnerships that demonstrate best collaborative practices in the field of executive education.

Award recipients will present their partnerships at the EFMD Executive Development Conference, held in Barcelona, Spain on November 12-13, 2019.

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