The Government of Alberta is relaunching a program that funds the development of Indigenous community-owned businesses in the Lloydminster area and across the province.
The Aboriginal Business Investment Fund (ABIF) provides business projects with up to $500,000 to increase job opportunities, local revenue streams, and local economies for Indigenous people and communities.
Indigenous Relations Communications Director, Olga Michailides, says projects that receive funding typically benefit from the program.
“The program staff work really closely with applicants to make sure that they’re putting forward the best applications. It’s a very detailed application process that includes a detailed business plan with cost estimates and project milestones all set out in advance, and that is because we want to see these projects be successful,” said Michailides.
She adds that communities such as Onion Lake are eligible for the program.
Onion Lake has had applications accepted in the past.
Communities must own and control a majority of the proposed business to be eligible for funding.
Previous funds from the program have led to the creation of grocery stores, hotels, gas stations, and has been used to purchase heavy equipment.
The government says ABIF has created nearly 300 full-time jobs and more than 150 full-time construction jobs.
Previous projects include:
- Bearspaw Kananaskis Travel Centre
- O’Chiese Market Place Inc.
- Loon River Truck Stop
- Piikani Resource Development Ltd. (Gravel Pit)
In a press release, Chief Roy Fox of the Blood Tribe, says the program has helped expand his community’s forage operation.
“Thanks to ABIF funds, Kainai Forage is able to play a key role in growing the on-reserve economy and providing employment and advancement opportunities for our membership, while positioning the Blood Tribe as a broader participant in global agricultural businesses,” said Fox.
The application period for the ABIF program opened on June 29 and will remain open until September 30.