Aboriginal Week: Your One Stop Toolbox For Starting Your Own Business


Having a dream is a start, but turning it into a reality is a totally different story. The resources are out there, you just have to know where to find them. That’s where TalentEgg comes in. Check out our ‘toolbox,’ complete with information on the resources you’ll need to get your idea off the ground.

Aboriginal Business Development Program (ABDP)

With a goal of aiding growth of a strong Aboriginal business sector in Canada, ABDP works with Aboriginal entrepreneurs to support clients and provide information to help them succeed.

ABDP can provide up to almost $100,000 of financial support to help with planning, expansion, marketing, product development and operating costs. Aboriginal Financial Institutions (AFIs) across the country are able to approve and deliver these funds. To find an AFI in your area, click here.

For more financial resources available for Aboriginal business from the Government of Canada, click here.

Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB)

Established in 1982, CCAB has worked to connect the mainstream corporate sector and the Aboriginal community while developing the self-reliance of these communities.

The CCAB is the only non-profit organization in its sector to receive no government funding.

The CCAB also awards Aboriginal entrepreneurs and businesses based on their achievements to recognize how important these endeavours are to Canada’s economic future. For example, the National Youth Aboriginal Entrepreneur Award recognizes entrepreneurs under 35 and the Aboriginal Business Hall of Fame is a lifetime achievement award given to business people who proved themselves to be excellent leaders and members of their communities.

This year, Savannah Olsen from Alberta won the National Youth Entrepreneur Award for her Old Faithful Shop in Vancouver – a modern day version of an oldtime general store. Could you be the recipient next year? Read on to find out more about successful Aboriginal businesses.

Need some inspiration? Check out these Aboriginal-run businesses in Canada that saw their dreams become a reality! Thanks to the Globe and Mail for the list.

1. Nk’Mip Cellars

Situated in the Okanagan Valley, North America’s first Aboriginal-owned and -operated winery was built on desert land. The Cellars are open all year and host events to celebrate Native traditions.

2. First Air

Canada’s largest airline in the Arctic employs more than 1000 people, around half of which currently live in the Arctic.

3. Det’on Cho Corp.

For a company that was hatched with a $15,000 grant, the group now includes more than 15 companies that range from logistics to real estate and last year Det’on Cho made $83-million in revenue!

4. First Nations Bank

A bank with a focus on financial services for Canada’s Aboriginal population is more than 80% Aboriginal-owned and its assets have grown every year since 1999.

5. Windigo Catering Ltd.

This company has more to offer than food! Windigo provides camp management, catering, housekeeping and laundry to a fly-in camp for a mine on Opapimiskan Lake and Thunder Bay.

6. Manitobah Mukluks

If you’re a fan of Town Shoes then you may have seen moccasins, mukluks or accessories by Manitobah Mukluks. Now, they sell to over 20 countries with celebrities like Megan Fox and Jessica Biel rocking their leather footwear.

Photo credit: Robert Sheie

About the author

Rosie Hales was an Editorial and Marketing intern at TalentEgg in the summer of 2013. She recently hatched her career in Communications at her alma mater, Queen's University. Follow her on Twitter @rosieehales.