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New program for aspiring Aboriginal entrepreneursPosted: December 10, 2012

Premier Christy Clark Dec. 4 announced an investment of more than $500,000 for a program that will support skills training for Aboriginal individuals aspiring to start or grow their own businesses.

Cranbrook will be the location of one of three offices province-wide that will deliver the new program.

“The new Aboriginal Entrepreneurship Skills Development Program will help individuals gain valuable skills to help them start and operate their own businesses,” said Premier Clark. “Everything begins with a thriving private sector, and by fostering entrepreneurship we’re helping individuals succeed while growing the economy. By partnering together, we can ensure a brighter future for communities throughout the province.”

The $517,500 investment was announced at the Success Through Sharing Symposium, co-hosted by British Columbia’s Aboriginal Business and Investment Council (ABIC) and the Business Council of British Columbia (BCBC). The symposium brought together over 250 First Nations representatives and business leaders to encourage greater participation by Aboriginal communities in British Columbia’s growing economy.

“Government is committed to ensuring that British Columbians have the skills they need to take advantage of the job opportunities that are available in B.C. communities,” said Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour Pat Bell. “This program will give Aboriginal people the tools they need to start their own businesses and be successful in the labour market.”

Aboriginal Business Service Network Society (ABSN-BC) and the government of B.C. are partnering together to create the new self-employment training program that will provide participants with the skills training they need to start and operate their own businesses. This training includes workshops, mentoring, one-on-one business training, referrals and follow up.

“Mentorships and coaching are important pieces of any successful new business,” said Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation Ida Chong. “This program will provide support and inspiration to about 435 Aboriginal entrepreneurs, setting them on a path to participate more fully in B.C.’s economy.”

The Aboriginal Entrepreneurship Skills Development Program – which is being funded through the Canada-British Columbia Labour Market Agreement (LMA) until March 31, 2014 – is expected to support about 435 people in achieving their business goals. Three organizations are delivering the new program:

* The Kootenay Aboriginal Business Development Agency in Cranbrook.

* The Northeast Aboriginal Business Centre in Fort St. John.

* And the Aboriginal Business and Community Development Centre in Prince George.

Programs and services include a coaching component for those requiring additional one-on-one support for pre- and post-business start-up.

Clark announced this program as part of her keynote address at the Success Through Sharing Symposium. Topics covered at the symposium included how First Nations can access capital, encourage professional development, strive for financial independence and quality governance structures, and create prosperity for both business organizations and First Nations by working together.

“The symposium focused on successful Aboriginal and business partnerships across British Columbia and sharing the fundamentals of what made them work,” said Ellis Ross, chair of the Aboriginal Business Investment Council. “ABIC is going to continue to provide a forum for these interactions to provide paths forward for our First Nations to participate in economic ventures in our traditional territories.”

Learn more

* Kootenay Aboriginal Business Development Agency in Cranbrook: www.kabda.org/

* The Business Council of British Columbia represents over 250 leading companies and enterprises in every key sector of the economy: http://www.bcbc.com/

* Skills and Training Plan: www.bcjobsplan.ca/skills-and-training-plan/

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