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Today at the Songhees Nation, the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD), announced more than $27 million for 45 projects in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, through the Western Diversification Program (WDP). The announcement was made at the Songhees Innovation Centre, a co-working space that received funding through WDP to help Indigenous entrepreneurs thrive in Canada’s growing tech sector.

The projects represent an array of economic activities, from rural First Nations installing solar equipment to generate power for their communities to post-secondary institutions launching programs to train the next generation of Indigenous workers. These investments will contribute to the prosperity of Indigenous communities across the Western provinces by making it easier for businesses to create jobs and capitalize on economic opportunities.

The funding announced today follows an investment of $2,250,000 to the Aboriginal Tourism Association of British Columbia, announced by the Honourable Bardish Chagger, Minister of Small Business and Tourism and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, on January 22, 2018. That investment was also made under WDP and is supporting over 400 Aboriginal cultural tourism businesses in B.C.

Following this event, Minister Bains will travel to Haida Gwaii to make an important high-speed Internet funding announcement on behalf of the Governments of Canada and British Columbia. This funding will benefit Canadians living in rural and remote communities.


"The success of Indigenous businesses is essential to building a strong, innovative and inclusive Canadian economy. I am proud that the Government of Canada is investing in these 45 projects and supporting Indigenous communities across the West."
– The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada

"Songhees Nation is proud to host this announcement in recognition of the entrepreneurial spirit and economic contributions of Indigenous businesses across Canada, and we are grateful and inspired to be the recipient of funding that supports the ongoing success of Indigenous entrepreneurs at the Songhees Innovation Centre. Our Council saw the importance of an initiative like this taking shape in our building, and we are grateful to Animikii Indigenous Technology for seizing this opportunity and working with us to create this unique co-working space where they are now located. We are witnessing the emergence of a growing number of impassioned Indigenous graduates and business people for whom the co-working environment is a natural catalyst for launching and growing entrepreneur-driven enterprises. Today’s announcement honours our entrepreneurs, our creatives, and our partners, South Island Prosperity Project, Victoria Foundation and Community Micro-lending who continue to collaborate with us to realize the goals of the Songhees Innovation Centre and the aspirations of Indigenous entrepreneurs."
– Chief Ron Sam, Songhees Nation

Backgrounder: Indigenous Economic Growth Announcement

A skilled and entrepreneurial workforce is critical to drive economic growth in Western Canada. The investments announced today are part of the Western Diversification Program (WDP) , the main program through which WD makes strategic investments in initiatives that enhance and strengthen the economy of Western Canada.

Today’s announcement is for 45 Indigenous Economic Growth projects across the four Western provinces: Organization Project Description Location Funding C-FER Technologies (1999) Inc. Develop and implement an Indigenous pipeline monitoring program Edmonton, AB $344,000 Norquest College Develop and implement an Indigenous Pipeline Construction Worker Program Edmonton, AB $75,000 Oteenow Employment and Training Society Deliver an office skills development and testing program to Indigenous people Edmonton, AB $474,375 Yellowhead Tribal Development Foundation Develop an innovative database to manage skills, employment and traditional lands Edmonton, AB $554,500 Alberta Indian Investment Corporation Increase the […]

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