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Empowering Indigenous Voices

Support Indigenous Businesses

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Discover how Indigenous Financial Institutions are transforming communities through the inspiring success stories of Indigenous businesses across Canada.

The National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association (NACCA) represents a network of over 50 Indigenous Financial Institutions (IFIs). For almost 40 years, our members have worked tirelessly to support Indigenous business development through business loans and related supports to First Nation, Métis, and Inuit business owners. The goal is to help Indigenous entrepreneurs realize their dreams to create and earn as successful business people.

Once established, Indigenous businesses lead by example. Our research shows that Indigenous businesses enhance health, social, and cultural outcomes in their communities, promoting reconciliation.

We’d like to introduce you to just a few successful Indigenous businesses and owners. 

Feast Café Bistro: embracing Indigenous culinary culture

Feast Café Bistro, located in a stunning heritage building in downtown Winnipeg, honours local Indigenous culinary culture. For eight years, this establishment has served regular patrons and supported those in need through a voucher program that accepts donations, in a neighbourhood where the average income is less than $50,000.

Chalets de l’Anse Ste-Hélène: stunning cottage rentals

In 2017, the Mi’gmaqs of Gesgapegiag ventured into tourism by purchasing the Chalets de l’Anse Ste-Hélène, a thriving chalet rental business next to their powwow grounds. Since then, they’ve operated a top-rated accommodation, welcoming tourists from around the world to Gaspésie, Que., and sharing their rich Mi’gmaq culture.

Salish Soils: growing innovation

Another example is Salish Soils on British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast. For 14 years, the business has used recycled materials that would otherwise end up in landfills to produce rich soils used by farms, gardeners, and landscape artists across the Lower Mainland. Its vision is to enable a regenerative, resilient future for a coastal community seeking to strengthen its local food system.

Celebrating Indigenous businesses

Today, on National Indigenous Peoples Day, NACCA salutes these three Indigenous businesses — and the thousands of others that the IFI network has supported over the decades. 

Supporting such businesses is why the IFI network came into being, and why it remains critical in the Indigenous business landscape. Starting in the 1980s, our member institutions were founded by Indigenous leaders to address the unmet capital needs of First Nation, Métis, and Inuit business owners. Due to factors including the Indian Act’s restrictions on collateral and the legacy of residential schools, Indigenous entrepreneurs are still often perceived as high-risk borrowers and continue to have difficulty getting startup loans from conventional lenders.

An approach that works

Professional, non-partisan, and rooted in their communities, our members are led and governed by all-Indigenous boards. Most of their employees are Indigenous people from the area, and the loans they issue are based on the character and commitment of the loan applicant.

Does this approach work? Absolutely! The results speak for themselves. Since the 1980s, IFIs have extended over 52,000 loans worth more than $3.2 billion, with the network maintaining an average loan loss rate of only about five per cent.

Nationally, IFI network members are represented by NACCA. The vast, diverse network of lenders believes that their members are stronger when they speak with one proud voice. Founded in 1997, under the guidance of our Indigenous board and senior staff, NACCA advocates on behalf of our members and of Indigenous business development more generally. 

Making a difference

This advocacy is needed now more than ever. The pieces are finally in place for Indigenous business development to take off. Whether treaties, settlements of claims, or Indigenous procurement opportunities, Indigenous business development has grown exponentially — for the good of our economies and the Canadian economy as a whole.

Feeding the hungry. Sharing our cultures. Reclaiming the nourishing potential of our lands. In these and countless other ways, Indigenous businesses are making a positive difference in their communities and regions.

Let’s celebrate the excellence and success of Indigenous businesses. We invite you to connect with them in your community by purchasing their goods or services, learning their inspiring stories, and witnessing firsthand the positive impact they’re making locally. With this new perspective, imagine the limitless possibilities for future growth and collaboration. 

Based on our extensive experience supporting Indigenous businesses, we at NACCA can confidently attest to the positive impacts of your commitment — and of successful Indigenous businesses on their communities.  

Learn more at #IndigenousProsperity

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