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Funding opportunities for people of Aboriginal descent or Aboriginal businesses and organization

The following funding opportunities are selected for their potential fit with the activities of people working or wishing to work with Forest and Freshwater Foods. The funds documented here are specifically of interest to people of Aboriginal descent living in Ontario or Aboriginal businesses and organizations. This page contains links to foundations and government programs which provide funds in the form of loans, (partial) grants as well as non-financial support services. By no means is this list exhaustive, but perhaps a good start in your search for business or project support.

  • Business Development Organizations

Miziwe Biik – Aboriginal Labour Force Development Circle

Miziwe Biik has programs to increase training and employment opportunities for people with native ancestry living in the GTA. Some of the programs are specifically for people who are trying to set up a business and support may be provided in the form of a wage subsidy, child care costs, support for individuals to develop a business plan as well as start-up costs. Other projects include a ‘targeted wage subsidy’ – businesses or organizations may receive financial support for providing training and employment to people facing employment disadvantages. Most programs are specifically for Aboriginal people, but there is funding available for organizations providing employment and training services for people facing employment disadvantages.

Deadline: Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis and forms can be downloaded on the website.

For more information please visit: http://www.miziwebiik.com/about-us/

Waubetek Business Development Corporation – Business Development Services

Waubetek provides various business development services to First Nation and Aboriginal entrepreneurs in North-East Ontario. They also provide partial grants and loans to businesses and organizations. Services include: commercial financing to establish or expand your business, business counselling, and general advisory services for community projects.

For more information please visit: http://www.waubetek.com/default.aspx

Business Development Bank – Aboriginal Entrepreneur programs

The Aboriginal Business Development Fund provides business financing in the form of loans with management training and coaching. The fund is operated by Aboriginal community organizations and financial services include peer lending, growth capital for Aboriginal businesses, financing for start-up businesses, advice and support for starters. Venture investment also available through BDB.

Deadline: Services are provided on an ongoing basis. Contact BDB to begin the conversation.

For more information, please visit: http://www.bdc.ca/EN/i_am/aboriginal_entrepreneur/Pages/default.aspx#.UUxpHxxkz4t

Capital for Aboriginal Prosperity and Entrepreneurship – CAPEFund (Social investment fund for aboriginal initiatives)

CAPEFund promotes entrepreneurial activities and business ownership among aboriginal people through funding and development of successful business on and off reserve. The fund can provide equity in the range of $1 million – $7.5 million, in one-time or staged amounts. They focus on projects which are linked through ownership, employment or geography to an aboriginal group or community. CAPEFund will act as investor or partner in the company, develop/recruit board etc. CAPEFund does not work with start-ups.

For information, please see: http://www.capefund.ca/


  •  Private Foundations

Dreamcatcher Charitable Foundation

The foundation supports First Nation communities through four different programs: 1. Arts & Culture; 2. Education; 3. Health; 4. Sport & Recreation. Its key objective is to develop youth leadership skills. The education support program may be particularly interesting from a Forest Food perspective as the foundation provides funds to individual students taking ‘unique’ courses as well as funds for school events and trips. Aboriginal individuals or groups are eligible to receive funding, with preference given to projects that include youth under 25. For-profit organizations are not eligible for this funding.

Deadline: Deadlines are twice yearly: January 31 and July 31. Please check the deadline for your specific project. It is possible to apply in multiple years.

For more information please visit: http://www.dcfund.ca/index.php?id=index

Small Change Fund – North of the 55 Fund

The Small Change Fund is a crowd-funding platform which aims to help grassroots organizations access individual donors across Canada. The Small Change Fund will provide you with their online platform and assist with your fundraising strategies. If your project is community-based, has an environment or Aboriginal focus and takes place in Northern Ontario, you could look into the North of the 55 Fund through which there are a number of grants available. To be eligible for these funds (max. $5000) your organization has to be a grassroots charity or registered Aboriginal band in Canada.

Deadline: The Small Change Fund accepts applications on an ongoing basis.

For more information, please visit: http://smallchangefund.org/i-have-a-great-project/

Farm Credit Canada – Agri-Spirit Fund

With the Agri-Spirit fund, FCC is looking to support capital projects in rural communities or Aboriginal bands with populations of less than 150,000. Examples of previously funded projects are recreation centres and community gardens. There is $5000 to $25,000 in partial grant funding available for eligible recipients. Non-profit organizations may apply but must have a municipal partner, possibly a First Nation Band. Project must be accessible to all community members. Funds are for capital costs only (e.g. equipment or infrastructure).

Deadline: The Agri-Spirit Fund will announce its next deadline in early 2015.

More information at: http://www.fcc-fac.ca/en/AboutUs/Responsibility/agrispiritfund_e.asp 

  • Government programs

Ministry of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry – Strategic Economic Infrastructure Program

This program is part of the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund and provides partial grants or repayable loans to develop infrastructure and facilities in communities in Northern Ontario in order to improve economic prospects. Your project must demonstrate self-sustainability, provide new economic benefits and create jobs. The program may fund community infrastructure, facilities needed for job creation, community development projects (when creating direct jobs), research projects and small capital projects. The program can fund up to 50% of infrastructure projects; assistance in the form of ‘forgivable performance loans’ or ‘repayable loans’ is also available. Partnerships and alliances between municipalities, private sector businesses and organizations as well as government related agencies are eligible. First Nations, non-profit organizations and educational institutes may apply individually.

Deadline: Ongoing. You can find the application form on the website below.

For more information: http://nohfc.ca/en/programs

FedNor – Northern Ontario Development Program  

Provide partial grants to businesses and collaborations in Northern Ontario to fund projects as well as capital costs aimed at economic development, business competitiveness and innovation. This can include project such as getting your business export-ready or efforts aimed at expanding an economic sector. Typically, they will fund up to 33% of eligible capital and up to 50% of eligible non-capital costs. Applicants are asked to speak with their area FedNor officer prior to applying.

Deadline: The program accepts applications on an ongoing basis.

For more information visit: http://fednor.gc.ca/eic/site/fednor-fednor.nsf/eng/fn03467.html

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada – Aboriginal Business and entrepreneurship development

Through the Aboriginal Business and Entrepreneurship Development initiative, AANDC provides funds to support business development. Activities that can be funded through this include the development of new products and process, establishment costs, marketing initiatives, financial and mentoring services as well as operating costs (in association with capital costs) and more. ABED contribution percentage depends on the activities (between 30% – 75%). This fund is available for individuals of Canadian Aboriginal heritage; it is conditioned on their full-time involvement in the proposed business in a management position. Additionally the applicant must have cash equity (10%-15% of total budget) to invest in the business. The maximum amount available to entrepreneurs is $99,999. If the business is community-owned, up to $1 million could be made available through this initiative. Discuss with Development Officer in your area. To begin the application process or for help at any stage of the process, contact your local Aboriginal Financial Institution.

For more information: https://www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/eng/1100100032796/1100100032800

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada – First Nation and Inuit skills link program

Through this strategy, AANDC support learners to develop essential skills that will benefit them in their work lives. The First Nation and Inuit employment strategy specifically focuses on the needs of First Nation learners on reserve or in “recognized communities or community lands.” They fund projects that promote education; support the development of young people’s employability skills (communication, problem solving, and working with others); introduce youth to a variety of career options. The fund provides wage subsidies for mentored work and study opportunities. Proposals will be reviewed by AANDC regional office, or by First Nations or Inuit organizations managing the program.

For more information visit: http://www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/eng/1100100033627/1100100033637

Aboriginal Forestry Initiative – Canadian Forestry Service

The Aboriginal Forestry Initiative replaced the First Nation Forestry program. Through this initiative, projects are supported that are: opportunity ready, appeal to multiple partners and funding agencies and have a potential for regional economic development. There is multiple year funding available on the basis of need, strategic value and opportunity as identified through CFS facilitation of the project and partnership. Current priority areas are bioenergy, forest-based services to industry and government and value-added wood products.

Deadline: There is no application process to access funding. Funds are made available at the discretion of CFS and based on need and strategic value to the forestry sector.

For more information: http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/forests/federal-programs/13125

Northern business opportunity Program – Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation

The Small Business Start-Up program is part of the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund and provides partial grants and repayable loans to support entrepreneurship in Northern Ontario. The program is open to residents of Northern Ontario who are developing a new business. The individual must operate the business on a full-time basis and the activities funded must result in job creation. The program can provide up to $200,000 per project and will cover up to 50% of the costs. The total government funding received cannot be more than 75% and the entrepreneur is required to make a cash investment of 15%.

Deadline: Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis until March 31, 2017.

For more information on this program please visit: http://nohfc.ca/en/programs

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada – Lands and Economic Development SErvices Program

Through this program AANDC provides financial support to First Nation and Inuit communities for providing public services in economic development. The program aims to improve community employment possibilities, and wishes to create better access to opportunities from land and resources as well as expanding community businesses and capacity development. Projects which focus on economic planning, proposal development and community economic development (e.g. research and advocacy, community land and resource development) are eligible for funding. Eligible applicants include First Nation/ Aboriginal organizations, councils, communities as well as local governments. Eligible expenditures include: seed capital, training delivery, economic infrastructure and minor equipment. The funds are regionally allocated and the link below has contact information for the regional offices.

For more information, please visit: http://www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/eng/1100100033426/1100100033427

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada – Community Opportunity readiness Program

Through this program AANDC provides partial grants for projects which result in: increased employment of community members; business development; development of land and resources under community control; access to opportunities originating with lands and resources beyond community control; projects which promote the community as a place to invest; research and advocacy (e.g. facilitating development of partnerships).

Deadline: Applications must be submitted to AANDC regional offices and are judged by greatest economic impact.

For more information: http://www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/eng/1100100033417/1100100033418


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