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Indigenous Entrepreneurs



Are you an Indigenous person with a business idea?

A number of organizations can help you along the way, whether or not you live in an Indigenous community. These organizations offer financing, support and a wide variety of information.
 


 

Abenakis
 

Algonquian
 

Atikamekw

*All links in French only

Crees
 

Huron-Wendats

*All links in French only

Innu

*All links in French only

Maliseet
 

Mi’gmaq
 

Mohawk
 

Naskapis
 

First Nations resources
 

  • Corporation de développement économique montagnaise (CDEM) (in French only)
    This Indigenous corporation offers financing services for the Innu from the Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean and Côte-Nord regions. It provides a wide range of services and support measures to promote the Innu Nation’s economic development. Services are available for individual and collective business owners. CDEM assistance generally takes the form of a temporary or other type of loan, or a loan guarantee.
     
  • First Nations of Quebec and Labrador Economic Development Commission (FNQLEDC)
    The FNQLEDC provides a variety of support services for First Nations, with a special focus on women entrepreneurship, youth entrepreneurship and the social economy. It also promotes knowledge of and access to businesses with its Aboriginal Business Directory.
     
  • First Nations Quebec Business Network (FNQBN)
    The FNQBN is a non-profit organization that provides advantages, training sessions, documentation, coaching and networking opportunities to its members.
     
  • Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC)
    The ITAC’s Tourism Development Funding Support Program helps Indigenous tourism businesses reach a market-ready state and achieve their development goals. The program invites Indigenous tourism businesses (that are at least 51% Indigenous owned) to get in touch and find out more about becoming a member and participating in the certification program for market/export-ready status.
     
  • Investissement Premières Nations du Québec (IPNQ) (in French only)
    This limited partnership invests venture capital in Indigenous commercial and community businesses. It also offers consulting and strategic advising services.
     
  • Native Commercial Credit Corporation (SOCCA)
    Socca’s mission is to provide financing services and advice adapted to First Nations’ needs. It offers term loans, non-refundable contributions through the Aboriginal Business Financing Program and support and coaching services for starting, acquiring or growing a business.
     
  • Quebec Aboriginal Tourism
    This sectoral tourism organization’s mission is to protect the interests of   Aboriginal tourism businesses, to stimulate their development and offer them a range of products and services to encourage improved business practices and better positioning on tourism markets.  It is recognized by the Ministère du Tourisme as the official representative of Québec’s Aboriginal tourism industry, and the Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador Labrador considers it to be a hub for exchange and services.


 

Secrétariat aux affaires autochtones
 

The Secrétariat aux affaires autochtones manages the Aboriginal Initiatives Fund III, which aims to foster conditions that promote economic development, business and job creation, and investment in Indigenous communities. It also supports the development of Indigenous social economy enterprises and entrepreneurship for Indigenous women and youth.
 

Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec
 

The Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec manages the Recognition Program, which aims to support the Indigenous arts community in its efforts related to reappropriation, reconstruction and development. The Program consists of five components: three for up-and-coming or established artists, and two for artistic organizations geared towards the promotion, circulation and dissemination of Indigenous works and artists throughout Québec and elsewhere.
 

Ministère du Tourisme
 

The Ministère du Tourisme manages the Programme de soutien aux stratégies de développement touristique (in French only). The program consists of five components, including component 3: to support the strategy for nature and adventure tourism development, and component 5: to support the strategy for tourism development north of the 49th parallel in Québec.
 

Revenu Québec
 

The Revenu Québec website contains the Indian Employee and Indian Employer sections, which outline the specific rules that may apply to Indigenous entrepreneurs with employees in terms of the source deductions and contributions they are required to pay. For more information, employers may consult Revenu Québec’s Guide for Employers: Source Deductions and Contributions.

Revenu Québec also provides information on the goods and service tax (GST) and the Québec sales tax (QST). In most cases, GST and QST do not need to be collected on products and services sold to Indians. Special measures may apply for specific taxes.
 

Ministère de l’Énergie et des Ressources naturelles
 

The Ministère de l’Énergie et des Ressources naturelles supports the Indigenous exploration organizations, the Nunavik Mineral Exploration Fund and the Cree Mineral Exploration Board. Each organization is eligible for up to $300,000 per year. The Indigenous nation or community involved is also required to contribute to financing for the organization’s activities.
 

Société du Plan Nord
 

The Société du Plan Nord’s mandate includes coordinating infrastructure development and providing support to local Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities. Two financing programs are available for communities located in the area covered by the Plan Nord:

  • The Fonds d’initiatives du Plan Nord program supports and promotes projects that generate economic activity and create and maintain jobs in the area covered by the Plan Nord. It also funds projects that assist development and well-being in northern communities and target the protection and conservation of the region’s environment and biodiversity.
  • The Community Greenhouse Program supports northern communities involved in the implementation of the Plan Nord and the interested in developing community greenhouse projects on the area it covers.

The Business Development Office supports businesses interested in acting as suppliers to ordering parties on the area covered by the Plan Nord. It also helps them find out what ordering parties in the area need, in terms of goods and services.  Businesses are encouraged to create a profile on the Plan Nord Business Platform.
 

Entreprises Québec
 

The Entreprises Québec website (in French only) has information and several reference pages for a wide range of subjects, such as obligations related to starting and managing a business, human resources, international trade, SME finances and innovation.

Entreprises Québec also has an online service locator (in French only) that lets businesses find out what business support resources are nearby and how to get to them. The locator includes many local economic development organizations, community business development corporations (CBDC), Femmessor offices, Services Québec offices and local employment centres (CLEs).
 

Ministère de l'Économie et de l'Innovation
 

The Ministère de l’Économie et de l’Innovation provides start-ups and growing businesses with projects related to innovation and exports with strategic coaching and advising services, best business practices training, and a number of financing programs (links in French only).

Contact one of the Ministère’s directions régionales (in French only) to get your project started.
 

Ministère des Affaires municipales et de l'Habitation
 

The Ministère des Affaires municipales et de l’Habitation website contains a link to the best practices guide Guide des bonnes pratiques pour la mise en place de partenariats d’affaires durables entre la communauté innue et le milieu régional (PDF, 712 KB; in French only), a reference document developed by the task force on First Nations to stimulate business partnerships between Indigenous and non-indigenous individuals, organizations and communities.


 

Indigenous Services Canada
 

Indigenous Services Canada outlines the financing programs provided by the Government of Canada to support Indigenous entrepreneurship and economic development.

​The following programs are available for Indigenous:

Indigenous Services Canada also maintain the Aboriginal Business Directory, which includes businesses from everywhere in Canada.
 

Business Development Bank of Canada
 

The Business Development Bank of Canada provides loans for Indigenous entrepreneurs to start a business or scale up, whether their operations are on or off reserve. Financing is available in amount up to $250,000 for existing business and up to $150,000 for start-ups.
 

Ressources Naturelles Canada
 

The Indigenous Forestry Initiative is administered by Natural Resources Canada and provides funding to support the economic development of Indigenous peoples in Canada. It funds projects that aim to increase Indigenous participation in natural resource projects, particularly those that are forestry-related.
 

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
 

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation provides wage subsidies to help First Nations and Inuit business and organization create internships for youth. These internships can provide much-needed work experience and on-the-job training for youth between the ages of 15 and 30.



 

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