Government of Canada announces support for Indigenous businesses
(Ottawa, Ontario) Indigenous businesses provide jobs, goods, and services to communities, and are an important part of the Canadian economy. Right now, they are facing challenges and economic hardships due to COVID-19. That is why the Government of Canada is taking action to make sure that Indigenous business owners have access to the support they need to get through this crisis.
The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced up to $306.8 million in funding to help small and medium-sized Indigenous businesses, and to support Aboriginal Financial Institutions that offer financing to these businesses.
The funding will allow for short-term, interest-free loans and non-repayable contributions through Aboriginal Financial Institutions, which offer financing and business support services to First Nations, Inuit, and Métis businesses. These measures will help 6,000 Indigenous-owned businesses get through these difficult times.
“I am extremely happy to see that the government is listening to the concerns of the Indigenous tourism industry and has taken action to support one of our proposed solutions,” said Keith Henry, CEO and president of Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada. “We know that it’s an unpredictable time for our country and this investment will provide important relief for our Indigenous tourism operators, many of whom have had to shut down completely and are facing the loss of their 2020 tourism season.”
- Financial support for Indigenous businesses will be provided through Aboriginal Financial Institutions, and administered by the National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association and the Métis capital corporations in partnership with Indigenous Services Canada.
- The funding will allow for interest-free loans, as well as non-repayable contributions, to help Indigenous businesses unable to access the government’s existing COVID-19 support measures. Additional funding will help Aboriginal Financial Institutions cover operational expenses, and help the National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association increase its operational capacity.
- The National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association is a network of 59 Aboriginal Financial Institutions providing a full range of financial services, loans, and grants to Indigenous entrepreneurs to start new and expand existing businesses.
- On March 18, 2020, the Government of Canada announced that it would provide $305 million for a new distinctions-based Indigenous Community Support Fund, to address immediate needs in First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities.