Feds announce money for Indigenous business development

By James Matthews
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Digital literacy in business is crucial for success in today’s marketplace.

To that end, the federal government announced a cash infusion Nov. 25 in Lindsay to help rural, remote, and Indigenous entrepreneurs learn the tools necessary for success.

Filomena Tassi, the minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), announced more than $1-million for economic growth and job creation through the Jobs and Growth Fund.

It’s for the Pinnguaq Association to adapt its digital literacy training tools to support businesses and underrepresented job-seekers in Indigenous communities in southeastern Ontario.

The training will focus on the regions of Haliburton, Kawartha Lakes, Peterborough, and Hastings, including Treaty 20 and Williams Treaty Nations.

The Pinnguaq Association is a not-for-profit organization working with rural, remote and Indigenous communities to ensure they have the support needed to develop digital literacy and skills needed to position them for success.

“By providing the necessary tools and resources to Indigenous-led businesses and organizations, we’re giving everyone an opportunity to succeed,” Tassi said.

“These internships, job placements, and training will increase Indigenous participation in the economy and drive economic growth in local communities.”

According to a government release, Indigenous businesses, organizations and workers are vital contributors to Canada’s economy and our nation’s rich culture. But entrepreneurs and job seekers need the required tools and resources to start and grow their businesses or search for employment.

Through the two-year project, businesses will be supported and Indigenous job-seekers will receive training to strengthen their digital abilities from basic computer skills to digital marketing and communications. The training will include website and graphic design to prepare them for employment.

Individuals will also participate in internship opportunities, job placements, and targeted recruitment activities.

That will be valuable on-the-job experience to prepare for future employment. The project is expected to support 60 Indigenous businesses with funding to support up to 120 internships and job placements.

“The Pinnguaq Association is delighted by the support for this program,” said Ryan Oliver, CEO at the association.

“It is our honour to be able to co-deliver these opportunities with Indigenous communities and businesses in both settler communities and Indigenous Nations on Treaty 20 and Williams Treaty land.”