The Government of Canada remains committed to supporting all Indigenous businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic and into recovery.
Today, the Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Indigenous Services, announced $117 million to renew the Indigenous Community Business Fund (ICBF). The ICBF provides non-repayable financial contributions to Indigenous microbusinesses and community- or collectively owned businesses across the country that do not qualify for other existing business supports. The ICBF supports the operation, adaptation, planning and reopening of First Nations, Inuit and Métis businesses. By relieving financial pressure, the ICBF helps communities keep members employed and businesses open.
Last year, a total of 559 First Nation and Inuit communities located in the provinces received funding to address the economic impacts of the pandemic, and 170 proposals from community businesses have been funded. Through the ICBF, 999 collectively owned businesses selected by the governing members of the four Métis Capital Corporations (Métis Financial Corporation of BC, Apeetogosan, SaskMétis Economic Development Corporation and Métis Voyageur Development Fund) and the Manitoba Métis Federation received funding.
In addition to the renewal of the ICBF, Budget 2021 proposes funding to support the First Nations Finance Authority’s pooled borrowing regime, investments and measures to expand the Aboriginal Entrepreneurship Program, funding to help the Indigenous tourism industry rebuild and recover from the impacts of COVID-19, an extension of the Indigenous Business Initiative, and measures to ensure that Indigenous women are empowered in the economic recovery.
“The renewal of the Indigenous Community Businesses Fund is a key measure to ensure that Indigenous community-owned or collectively owned businesses can access the support needed to fully participate in our economic recovery. This in turn supports the well-being and quality of life of all Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Canada.”
The Honourable Marc Miller
Minister of Indigenous Services
The ICBF has two streams:
- Stream 1 – Funding will be transferred directly to communities and collectives to immediately support their COVID-19 economic priorities. No applications are required for stream 1 funding.
- Stream 2 – Funding will be proposal based. Applications must be submitted by the community or collectives on behalf of the business. Funding will be transferred directly to communities and collectives.
Budget 2021 proposes a number of investments to support Indigenous entrepreneurs and businesses, and economic development. These measures include:
- $117 million in 2021-22 to renew the Indigenous Community Business Fund. This will ensure First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation communities can continue to provide services and support jobs for their members through collectively owned businesses and microbusinesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- $33.4 million in 2021-22 to support the First Nations Finance Authority pooled borrowing regime.
- $42 million over three years, starting in 2021-22, to expand the Aboriginal Entrepreneurship Program.
- $2.4 million in 2021-22 to the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada to help the Indigenous tourism industry rebuild and recover from the impacts of COVID-19.
- $22 million over three years, starting in 2021-22, to support the National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association’s (NACCA) Indigenous Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative by providing tools, services and resources to increase the number of Indigenous women entrepreneurs. This funding would support NACCA in achieving its target of increasing the number of Indigenous women entrepreneurs who access financing through Aboriginal Financial Institutions by 50%.
- Extending the Indigenous Business Initiative to June 30, 2021, to support Indigenous businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic by providing interest-free loans and non-repayable contributions for First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation businesses.
Today’s announcement is in addition to other measures available through Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, which provide direct support to Canadian workers and businesses.