Column: New resource to support Aboriginal entrepreneurs

The enterprising spirit of British Columbia’s Aboriginal peoples dates back centuries, and is still alive and well across our province.

The enterprising spirit of British Columbia’s Aboriginal peoples dates back centuries, and is still alive and well across our province, where more than 1,200 Aboriginal-owned companies operate.

However, Aboriginal entrepreneurship comes with its share of challenges, and recent consultations with BC’s First Nations identified a lack of easily accessible information about resources available to help Aboriginal entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses.

To address this problem, our BC Liberal government has created a document that consolidates information about services and supports available to Aboriginal entrepreneurs in one convenient quick-reference guide, the Aboriginal Small Business Resource Handout.

The guide not only provides a list of federal and provincial programs, services and helpful contacts – it also includes resources for new employers, information about tax collection and remittance and tips about doing business on reserve. Additionally, it covers the basics of starting an Aboriginal business specifically, from planning, financing and registration, to opening and marketing the business. And while the information listed in the Handout is not exhaustive, it includes a broad range of resources that cover all aspects of start-up and growth, and will help Aboriginal entrepreneurs spend less time searching out the information they need and more time growing their businesses.

As Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction, clearing a path for businesspeople to succeed is a priority for me. I was proud to announce the publication of this brand-new resource for Aboriginal businesspeople at the beginning of September, and it was my pleasure to speak with First Nations leaders about it and other issues surrounding Aboriginals in business at the recent BC Cabinet and First Nations Leaders’ Gathering in Vancouver. It is my hope that resources like this guide will help Aboriginal people across the province, and especially in Cariboo North, achieve their entrepreneurial ambitions.

If you or someone you know could benefit from the Aboriginal Small Business Resource Handout, I encourage you to visit www.gov.bc.ca to find out more about how to turn the dream of small business ownership into a reality.

Contact MLA Oakes’ constituency office:

Phone: 250-991-0296

Email: coralee.oakes.mla@leg.bc.ca

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