First Nations University of Canada to host BDC's National Aboriginal Youth Business Plan Competition

    REGINA, Sept. 19 /CNW Telbec/ - First Nations University of Canada and
the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) announced today that the 2008
E-Spirit Awards, a national Aboriginal Youth Business Plan Competition, will
be held at the University of Regina campus from May 12 to 14, 2008.
    "First Nations University of Canada, where aboriginal youth work towards
building a bright future for themselves in an environment that reflects their
cultural heritage, is an ideal setting for E-Spirit," said André St-Pierre,
Vice President, Corporate Finance, BDC.
    "E-Spirit was developed by BDC in response to the growth in
self-employment among Aboriginals, which is more than nine times that of the
Canadian average. In fact, the number of Aboriginal entrepreneurs in Canada
increased by 30% from 1996 to 2001," he added.
    Working in teams at their high schools, the students must complete a
16-week interactive business planning program. They have access to mentors and
meet and network with other students both online and during the event in May.
The 3-day event is expected to attract 300 Aboriginal youth from across the
    During the competition, the students present their business idea to an
independent panel of experts who judge their business plan and display.
Displays can include posters, detailed 3D mock-ups, product samples, business
cards, promotional videos and laptop demonstrations. Finally, at a special
ceremony, Gold, Silver and Bronze trophies and monetary awards are presented
to the top three winners.
    "We are very pleased to be hosting the E-Spirit conference through our
School of Business and Public Administration," said Charles Pratt, President
of the First Nations University of Canada. "We proudly support this national
initiative that will encourage and lead our Aboriginal youth to play a
prominent role in the business world."
    Over the last seven years, close to 3,000 Aboriginal students from high
schools across the country have participated in the program. Registration for
E-Spirit 2008 takes place from September 24 to October 19, 2007. For more
information, or to register online, visit
    The E-Spirit program was developed by BDC and has been supported by
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), Indian and Northern Affairs
Canada (INAC) and Aboriginal Business Canada.

    About BDC

    BDC is a financial institution wholly owned by the Government of Canada.
BDC actively supports the development and growth of Canadian small and
medium-sized businesses through its complementary financial, investment and
consulting solutions. BDC is one of Canada's Top 100 Employers for 2007.

    About First Nations University of Canada

    The mission of the First Nations University of Canada is to enhance the
quality of life, and to preserve, protect, and interpret the history,
language, culture, and artistic heritage of First Nations.
    First Nations University of Canada was established in 1976 as the
Saskatchewan Indian Federated College (SIFC) through a federated partnership
with the University of Regina. It offers undergraduate and graduate degrees
within an environment of Indian culture and history combining First
Nation-oriented and standard areas of study in all programs.

For further information:

For further information: Denise Arab, Director, Communications, BDC,
(514) 283-3054,; Tina Pelletier, Communications Officer,
First Nations University, (306) 790-5950 x 2600

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