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Are you an Indigenous person with a business idea?
A number of organizations can help you along the way, whether or not you live in an Indigenous community. These organizations offer financing, support and a wide variety of information.
*All links in French only
*All links in French only
*All links in French only
The Secrétariat aux affaires autochtones manages the Aboriginal Initiatives Fund III, which aims to foster conditions that promote economic development, business and job creation, and investment in Indigenous communities. It also supports the development of Indigenous social economy enterprises and entrepreneurship for Indigenous women and youth.
The Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec manages the Recognition Program, which aims to support the Indigenous arts community in its efforts related to reappropriation, reconstruction and development. The Program consists of five components: three for up-and-coming or established artists, and two for artistic organizations geared towards the promotion, circulation and dissemination of Indigenous works and artists throughout Québec and elsewhere.
The Revenu Québec website contains the Indian Employee and Indian Employer sections, which outline the specific rules that may apply to Indigenous entrepreneurs with employees in terms of the source deductions and contributions they are required to pay. For more information, employers may consult Revenu Québec’s Guide for Employers: Source Deductions and Contributions.
Revenu Québec also provides information on the goods and service tax (GST) and the Québec sales tax (QST). In most cases, GST and QST do not need to be collected on products and services sold to Indians. Special measures may apply for specific taxes.
The Ministère de l’Énergie et des Ressources naturelles supports the Indigenous exploration organizations, the Cree Mineral Exploration Board. Each organization is eligible for up to $300,000 per year. The Indigenous nation or community involved is also required to contribute to financing for the organization’s activities.
The Société du Plan Nord’s mandate includes coordinating infrastructure development and providing support to local Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities. Two financing programs are available for communities located in the area covered by the Plan Nord:
The Business Development Office supports businesses interested in acting as suppliers to ordering parties on the area covered by the Plan Nord. It also helps them find out what ordering parties in the area need, in terms of goods and services. Businesses are encouraged to create a profile on the Plan Nord Business Platform.
The Entreprises Québec website (in French only) has information and several reference pages for a wide range of subjects, such as obligations related to starting and managing a business, human resources, international trade, SME finances and innovation.
Entreprises Québec also has an online service locator (in French only) that lets businesses find out what business support resources are nearby and how to get to them. The locator includes many local economic development organizations, community business development corporations (CBDC), Femmessor offices, Services Québec offices and local employment centres (CLEs).
The Ministère de la Culture et des Communications is responsible for the administration of the Indigenous Projects Assistance (Aide aux projets pour les Autochtones) program, which aims at consolidating and developing Indigenous cultures. The program is for non-profit legal persons, and is divided into three components that can all give rise to a call for projects: Indigenous Media, Cultural Projects for School-Age Young People and Indigenous Languages.
The Ministère de l’Économie, de l’Innovation et de l’Énergie provides start-ups and growing businesses with projects related to innovation and exports with strategic coaching and advising services, best business practices training, and a number of financing programs (links in French only).
Contact one of the Ministère’s directions régionales (in French only) to get your project started.
The Ministère des Affaires municipales et de l’Habitation website contains a link to the best practices guide Guide des bonnes pratiques pour la mise en place de partenariats d’affaires durables entre la communauté innue et le milieu régional (PDF, 712 KB; in French only), a reference document developed by the task force on First Nations to stimulate business partnerships between Indigenous and non-indigenous individuals, organizations and communities.
Indigenous Services Canada outlines the financing programs provided by the Government of Canada to support Indigenous entrepreneurship and economic development.
The following programs are available for Indigenous:
Indigenous Services Canada also maintain the Aboriginal Business Directory, which includes businesses from everywhere in Canada.
The Business Development Bank of Canada provides loans for Indigenous entrepreneurs to start a business or scale up, whether their operations are on or off reserve. Financing is available in amount up to $250,000 for existing business and up to $150,000 for start-ups.
The Indigenous Forestry Initiative is administered by Natural Resources Canada and provides funding to support the economic development of Indigenous peoples in Canada. It funds projects that aim to increase Indigenous participation in natural resource projects, particularly those that are forestry-related.
The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation provides wage subsidies to help First Nations and Inuit business and organization create internships for youth. These internships can provide much-needed work experience and on-the-job training for youth between the ages of 15 and 30.
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