The Government of Canada has launched several grant initiative programs for Aboriginal and First Nations business development to build an Aboriginal economy designed to encourage self-reliance and viability of the Aboriginal and First Nations communities. The grants promote an economy to be competitive with the economies of Canada and the world.
Housing Internship Initiative
Aboriginal businesses in the housing industry offer First Nations youths between the ages of 15 and 30 youth employment through the Housing Internship Initiative business grants program. The business grants offer up to $100,000 in wage subsidies in support of work experience and training for First Nations youths to pursue long-term employment in the housing industry. In addition to the grant, housing internships are available to First Nations youths who have an eligible sponsor. First Nations youths gain exposure to housing administration, construction, renovation, maintenance and client relations. To qualify, youths must be residents of a First Nations Reserve, out of school and unemployed. Priority is given to single parents, those with low literacy or have a disability.
First Nations Wage Subsidy Program
If your business is in the Yukon in the mining industry either directly or indirectly, you could qualify for a wage subsidy of between 20 to 80 percent, to hire and train First Nations employees, based on the skill levels involved. The First Nations Wage Subsidy Program reimburses you for a portion of the wages until your employee is qualified for the position or trained for a more advanced position if they are already skilled. In addition, you may qualify for further assistance for the cost of supervising and training employees.
Aboriginal Community Capital Grants Program
Aboriginal communities have a need for small business centers that provide services to promote and educate in business activities.The Aboriginal Community Capital Grants Program provides funds to First Nations as well as Aboriginal non-profit corporations who develop small business centers that help businesses grow. The purpose of the business centers is to provide a range of business services from offering rental space, business services and counselling to the Aboriginal community including First Nations. Funding is in the amount of 90 percent of the total cost of the project between $50,000 and $500,000. Since its inception in April 2005, the program has granted First Nations funds for business center and community center construction, renovation and feasibility studies.
First Nation Youth Livestock Program
First Nations youths interested in establishing a business in livestock may qualify for a loan through the First Nation Youth Livestock Program in the province of Saskatchewan. Funds must be used to purchase a beef livestock herd. While the majority of funds act as a loan to be repaid, a portion of the funds may be earned providing all terms and conditions of the program have been met. The purpose of the program is to enhance skills of First Nation youth in livestock production to include business and financial management. In addition, Aboriginal youths are able to access training and support from an experienced livestock operator and other resources. First Nations youths living in a community with infrastructure to support a livestock operation, aged 12 to 19, may apply. Applicants must also provide ten percent cash equity.