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MN: Economic Growth Fund to help First Nations entrepreneurs

By Mario Cywinski |

MN: A new fund has been introduced by the province to help First Nations people in starting and growing their businesses.

The First Peoples Economic Fund is a non-profit and independent corporation, which was created by the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) and the province.

"Entrepreneurship is a key to sustainable economic development for First Nations because it is a sign that our people are taking control of their own futures by taking ownership of their economies," said AMC Grand Chief Ron Evans.

Here is a breakdown of what the program will provide:

  • An entrepreneur interest-free loan, which will offer up to $200,000 to eligible business owners;
  • a community expansion interest-free load, offering up to $300,000;
  • a business plan assistance program, offering up to $20,000;
  • a program to develop marketing and management stills, 75 per cent of approved costs will be paid;
  • a joint venture investment program that will offer financing of up to $1 million for medium-large First Nations businesses;
  • and a program will be available to help with professional support for up to $20,000.

In all, the province is committing $20 million for the first five years. The funds will be taken from the province's Lotteries Corporation profits.

"The fund will give priority to those projects that can act as a catalyst for further economic development," said Attorney General Dave Chomiak, minister responsible for the Manitoba Gaming Control Commission. "The future off this province hinges on the strong participation of First Nations people in the economy."

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