Prospective Aboriginal entrepreneurs will be better prepared to benefit from economic opportunities in northern B.C. due to a unique community-based program through the University of Victoria that combines education and mentorship.
UVic’s Gustavson School of Business and the Tribal Resources Investment Corporation (TRICORP), which provides financial services to First Nations entrepreneurs, have formed the Northwest Aboriginal Canadian Entrepreneurs (NW-ACE) to support people who want to start their own business.
Frank Parnell, chief executive officer of TRICORP, notes that the program is a response to the ‘perfect storm’ of economic opportunity forming in Northwest B.C.
“At the industry level, more than $50-billion worth of economic development projects are happening in the region… There are also new partnerships being created between business and First Nations communities around these development opportunities,” said Parnell.
The program includes six weeks of classroom skills-based curriculum taught by Gustavson faculty, followed by 12 weeks of entrepreneurial mentorship from experienced executives.
Enrollment is full for the program’s first offering, which starts in Prince Rupert on May 21, but interested people can get on a waiting list for the next NW-ACE cohort in fall 2013.
All Aboriginal people are encouraged to apply for the program. To start, go to www.nwace.ca and have a look at the video or download the brochure. Then, you can download an application form, complete a one-pager about yourself, and a TRICORP representative will contact you.