Is Help Available for Economic Development?


Question: Is Help Available for Economic Development?
Answer: DIAND has developed a number of initiatives to encourage and promote economic development in First Nation communities.

This programming pertains to the following three areas: community economic development, general business assistance and resource-based opportunities.

Community Economic Development:

•Community Economic Development Program (CEDP) provides funding to First Nations, Inuit and Innu so they have the capacity (through Community Economic Development Organizations [CEDOs]) to plan for and pursue economic development opportunities.
CEDOs are the predominant economic development agents. They operate in 437 communities and provide support in a number of ways, including:

•helping to develop community economic plans and strategies

•providing advisory services

•planning and facilitating business development projects

•providing contributions, repayable contributions or loans to community members for training, business or resource development projects

•investing equity positions in start-up enterprises or expansions

•providing job-related training and employment programs

•managing financial and technical services

General Business Assistance:

•Opportunity Fund provides financial assistance to First Nations, Inuit and Innu to establish viable business enterprises. The program is delivered through First Nation and Inuit CEDOs that have submitted an acceptable business plan that documents an opportunity for the development of a viable business. The Opportunity Fund Program helps Aboriginal businesses to attract joint venture partners or secure conventional debt financing to take advantage of a business opportunity.

•Procurement Strategy for Aboriginal Business (PSAB) aims to increase the number of Aboriginal firms doing business with the federal government. The PSAB is open to Aboriginal businesses and joint ventures and can include sole proprietorship, limited company, co-operative, partnership or not-for-profit organizations. Aboriginal firms are encouraged to pursue federal contracts that are open to all qualified suppliers in addition to those that have been set aside for competition among qualified Aboriginal suppliers.

•Aboriginal Resource Net is an online directory (developed by DIAND) of federal programs and funding sources available to assist Aboriginal people in developing new businesses or expanding existing ones. The Internet address for this Web page directory is

Resource-based Opportunities:

•Resource Access Negotiations funds First Nation and Inuit communities and their mandated organizations to negotiate benefit agreements with resource developers involved in major projects near reserve communities. Long-term employment, training, business contracts and other benefits result from the agreements.

•Resources Acquisition Initiative assists First Nation and Inuit businesses, through matching equity, to acquire natural resource permits and licences and to finance business start-ups and expansion in the natural resources sector.

•Federal-Provincial-Territorial Regional Partnerships Initiative (FPTP) is a flexible partnering fund that enables Aboriginal governments and Aboriginal community-owned and -controlled enterprises to participate more fully in partnership forums and initiatives with the private sector and other levels of government in major regional resource-based economic opportunities. The program typically assists Aboriginal participation in major opportunities in mining, forestry, eco-tourism and agriculture.