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May 6, 2019

Why reconciliation means supporting Indigenous entrepreneurs

Haley Lews is TVO‘s Indigenous Hub reporter.  She recently had a conversation with NACCA CEO Shannin Metatawabin, which formed the basis for the following article:

Indigenous-led businesses help combat economic marginalization — but they face many barriers. TVO.org spoke with three organizations about how to foster entrepreneurship and keep money in communities.

From 2003 to 2011, the estimated number of Indigenous entrepreneurs across the country increased from 27,195 to 38,000. According to a countrywide survey from the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business, more than 43,000 Indigenous people were self-employed in 2016 — 10,320 of them were based in Ontario.

But, as the Conference Board of Canada notes, research shows that Indigenous people continue to “face significant barriers to accessing various forms of support (e.g., capital, equity, business training, business planning) for their start-ups.” One of the most commonly referenced issues, it says, is locational — would-be business owners simply don’t have access to financial services.

And even when they can access such services, loans can be difficult to obtain: Indigenous entrepreneurs are sometimes seen as “high-risk,” says Shannin Metatawabin, CEO of the National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association.

“We have policies that the Indian Act put in place that say we can’t put up security on our communities,” he says. “We’re not close to the market. We don’t have any equity. Our families are not rich.”

Please read the rest of the article on TVO website at tvo.org (https://www.tvo.org/article/why-reconciliation-means-supporting-indigenous-entrepreneurs)

March 11, 2019

NACCA’s Indigenous Business Awards of Excellence showcase Aboriginal Financial Institutions’ impact on communities

At the inaugural Indigenous Economic Prosperity Forum, six companies were honoured with the National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association (NACCA) Indigenous Business Awards of Excellence.

Nominated by Aboriginal Financial Institutions (AFIs), these awards showcase the strength and resilience of First Nations, Inuit and Métis entrepreneurs across Canada. NACCA CEO Shannin Metatawabin is clear that, “by any standard, Indigenous entrepreneurs impact more than just the bottom line. All six winners have a substantial impact on their local community, not only through employment but the larger social impact of improved health, bringing pride to families, and building local economies.”

February 19, 2019

Supporting Indigenous businesses begins with addressing lack of loan capital

Capital makes the world go round: it’s a basic rule of business. Whether a startup or an established company, whatever the sector, entrepreneurs need ready access to capital to start and expand their businesses. This rule also applies to Indigenous entrepreneurs, who too often find themselves in an economic environment that works against them.

Capital accumulation generally comes from land ownership. And yet to this day, land is a major barrier to economic reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. Where “Indian lands” are concerned, Canada still operates in the 1800s. Antiquated federal laws and policies continue to stand in the way of Indigenous people – rights-holders in their own land – realizing our economic potential.

But here’s the thing: With the lending supports Indigenous entrepreneurs have had, we have demonstrated high rates of business success. Located in rural and urban centres, both on and off reserves, First Nations, Inuit and Métis businesses have created jobs, wealth and health for our people – where we live, in our own communities.

This is an opinion article written by NACCA Chair, Andrew Leach.

Read the entire article on the Globe and Mail.

December 18, 2018

Canadian Business Journal: NACCA Interview

Increasing the Number of Successful Aboriginal Entrepreneurs by Providing Opportunities to Access Capital

The National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association (NACCA) was founded 20 years ago as an organization that was borne out of what are known as Aboriginal Financial Institutions (AFI), which were first created in the late 1980s by Aboriginal leaders, the Government of Canada, and a Native Economic Development Program initiative. The primary mandate was to address the lack of available capital to finance Aboriginal small-business development.

AFIs were created to provide repayable, interest-bearing loans to Aboriginal small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that were unable to secure loans from highly-regulated conventional lenders due to risk tolerance levels.

Several AFIs joined together to form NACCA and retain their autonomy. The purpose of NACCA was to increase the number of Aboriginal entrepreneurs in Canada and provide opportunities for Aboriginal entrepreneurs to be successful.

This is an excerpt from the Canadian Business Journal.

Read the entire story on Canadian Business Journal.

January 25, 2018

NACCA & DISC: Working Towards a New Fiscal Relationship

Ottawa, January 24, 2018 – The National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association (NACCA) was eager to hear about the priorities of Canada’s new Department of Indigenous Services Canada (DISC). For over a year now, NACCA has been advocating on behalf of its members to increase the availability of capital and support services for Indigenous businesses. Currently about half of the members are operating under capacity due to lack of resources.

NACCA CEO Shannin Metatawabin expressed cautious optimism prior to yesterday’s press conference by The Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Indigenous Affairs. “We are hopeful for a real action plan to implement the promises and the recommendations of the past few years” said Metatawabin.

Minister Philpott spoke of five key priority areas for her new department. NACCA commends Canada’s commitment to “health, education, child & family services, and reliable infrastructure such as water & housing”. These four areas are long-standing concerns for all Indigenous communities and organizations, including NACCA.

The fifth and final priority area for DISC will be “a new fiscal relationship”. NACCA has the solid foundation in place to build a feasible economic development agenda with DISC, and to meet the demands of the growing number of entrepreneurs from all Indigenous groups including First Nations, Métis, and Inuit.

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September 21, 2017

Economic self-determination through lending: empowering Indigenous Peoples, implementing UNDRIP

Shannin Metatawabin
Indigenous issues
The Hill Times – September 18, 2017

In the 1980s, the federal government and Indigenous leaders were on the right track. Prior to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and even prior to the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, it was known that the Indigenous economy needed attention. This resulted in the creation of a network of Indigenous business development financial institutions. With an initial federal investment of $240-million, these institutions have since provided more than 42,000 loans totalling $2.3-billion to Indigenous communities and entrepreneurs.

The businesses these loans made possible are diverse. One factor unites them: all are led by Indigenous individuals or communities taking their economic futures into their own hands. In very concrete, everyday ways, these businesses help realize the right to economic self-determination guaranteed in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).

Click here to continue reading this article (Adobe Acrobat PDF file)

July 21, 2017

Ulnooweg First Aboriginal Business To Be Given Torch Award for Ethics

Halifax, NS/June 22, 2017 – BBB Serving the Atlantic Provinces was honoured to present a Torch Award for Business Ethics to the first ever Aboriginal business recipient last week. On Friday, June 23, Truro’s Ulnooweg Development Group received a Torch Award for the 11 to 49 employee category. Torch Awards are given to companies who go above and beyond to give back to their communities and inspire marketplace trust.

“It falls into our work to build awareness about the Aboriginal business population, our need to connect with the non-Aboriginal community, and vice-versa,” says Chris Googoo, general manager of Ulnooweg. “Reconciliation goes both ways. It is important that when we take one step forward, they take two steps towards us. We can help close the gap between us through awareness of the issues in Indigenous communities, such as access to capital.”

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June 20, 2017

“Reconcile-Action” – A Call to Action for National Aboriginal History Month

By Shannin Metatawabin

Did you know that June is National Aboriginal History Month? In 2009, the House of Commons passed a unanimous motion to celebrate the contributions and cultures of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. The month was also intended to provide an opportunity to reflect on their strengths and aspirations.

Recalling the purpose of National Aboriginal History Month, the situation calls for “reconcile-action,” a term coined by our elder, Dr. Wilton Littlechild. In a recent report advising the federal government, the National Aboriginal Economic Development Board estimated that Canada could gain $27.7 billion towards the GDP by acting to close the gap between mainstream Canada and indigenous peoples – in quality of life, infrastructure, education, health and economic development opportunities. Continue reading

May 25, 2017

Changes Ahead in 2017

For the last several years, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce has published an annual list of the Top 10 Barriers to Canadian Competitiveness. That document listed some of the self-inflicted wounds that have prevented Canada’s economy from achieving its full potential and set out their recommendations for change.

This year, they released a different document. Instead of focusing on barriers, they outlined 10 ways to improve our economic success, along with specific recommendations to advocate throughout the year.

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March 29, 2017

NACCA Announces Gerry Huebner as Chief Strategy Officer

Ottawa, March 23, 2017 – The National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association (NACCA) is pleased to announce the appointment of Gerry Huebner as Chief Strategy Officer. Gerry graduated from Trent University in 1983 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and went on to earn his Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Queens University in 1986.
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