Gateway Gazette

Fund to Help Indigenous Community-owned Businesses

Community-owned Indigenous businesses can apply for investment backing from a government program starting on June 29.

Bearspaw Kananaskis Travel Centre offers highway travellers an Esso gas bar and a Tim Hortons — adjacent to the Stoney Nakoda Resort & Casino.

The Aboriginal Business Investment Fund (ABIF) will provide eligible Indigenous community-owned businesses with up to $500,000 in funding for ventures that demonstrate social and economic benefits for their communities.

“ABIF aligns with our goals to be partners in prosperity with Indigenous people and to restore Alberta’s economy. Indigenous-owned businesses create jobs and bring new services to their communities and surrounding areas. Investing in Indigenous businesses is an investment in Alberta’s economic future.”Rick Wilson, Minister of Indigenous Relations

ABIF supports projects that increase:

  • employment opportunities for Indigenous people
  • local revenue streams for Indigenous communities
  • the economies of Indigenous communities

Communities must own and control 51 per cent or more of the proposed business or joint venture to be eligible.

Past funding from ABIF has been used to build grocery stores, hotels, gas stations, and purchase heavy equipment, including marketing and telecommunications equipment.

ABIF funds also helped to expand the operations of a forage operation that exported timothy hay and alfalfa to international markets in Japan, Korea, the Middle East and China.

“Thanks to ABIF funds, Kainai Forage is able to play a key role in growing the on-reserve economy and providing employment and advancement opportunities for our membership, while positioning the Blood Tribe as a broader participant in global agricultural businesses.”Chief Roy Fox, Blood Tribe

The closing date for applications is Sept. 30.

Quick facts

  • ABIF has supported 40 projects to date that have created:
    • almost 300 full-time jobs
    • more than 150 full-time construction jobs
    • 130 spinoff businesses
  • Previously funded projects include:
    • Piikani Resource Development Ltd. (Gravel Pit) –
      A large-scale commercial gravel pit located on the Piikani First Nation used funds to buy a loader, pit trucks, a portable office and a fuel tank. 
    • Loon River Truck Stop – used funds to construct the building and fuel systems for the stop and convenience store.
    • O’Chiese Market Place Inc. – was granted funds to build an almost 1,022-square metre grocery store on the O’Chiese First Nation.
    • Bearspaw Kananaskis Travel Centre – used funds to construct a 557-square metre travel centre across from Stoney Nakoda Resort and Casino.

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