OTTAWA ON, June 30, 2020 /CNW/ - The National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association (NACCA) is very pleased to announce that Indigenous businesses have begun accessing economic relief from NACCA and Aboriginal Financial Institutions (AFIs). The AFI network provides financial and business services to First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities from coast to coast to coast.
As a national leader in Indigenous economic development, NACCA began seeking a COVID-19 response tailored to the needs of Indigenous entrepreneurs when the crisis first hit in March. Working with Indigenous Services Canada, the Association put forward a plan to help Indigenous businesses survive and recover. In late April, the federal government confirmed that it will provide $307 million in relief, including $204 million for an Emergency Loan Program (ELP) to be delivered by NACCA and AFIs.
"This initiative is very useful and we are grateful to the federal government," states Jean Vincent, Chair of NACCA's Board and CEO of the Société de Crédit Commercial Autochtone, an AFI located in Wendake, Quebec. Since receiving the emergency loan funds late in May, NACCA has allocated $123 million for delivery by over 30 AFIs. The Tale'awtxw Aboriginal Capital Corporation, the first AFI to provide support under the program, has now issued over 80 loans to Indigenous entrepreneurs in British Columbia.
"Indigenous-specific supports are so important to protecting First Nations, Métis and Inuit businesses impacted by COVID-19," says NACCA CEO, Shannin Metatawabin. Disproportionate numbers operate in sectors that are heavily affected by social distancing measures. Many Indigenous businesses face further barriers to accessing mainstream loan and government support, including remoteness, impediments thrown up by the Indian Act, and poor socio-economic conditions in their communities.
Many Indigenous businesses across the country are sole proprietors and employ their families. "When events like COVID-19 happen, it has a dramatic effect on family income and on Indigenous communities in general," states Matt Tapper of the Ulnooweg Development Group, an AFI in the Maritimes. "The ELP is going to be another support that Ulnooweg's clients can lean on in these unprecedented times."
Pam Larson, CEO of the Clarence Campeau Development Fund in Saskatchewan offers that the ELP loans are filling a gap, assisting Métis business owners who do not qualify for the Canada Emergency Business Account program. "The ELP is providing small businesses with the capital they need to cover operating costs while restructuring their business to align with COVID-19 safety measures and, in many cases, transition their business to e-commerce."
NACCA and the AFI network are on the front lines, helping Indigenous businesses to survive this crisis. We will continue working hard to ensure that the entire $204 million of emergency loan relief reaches First Nations, Métis and Inuit entrepreneurs across the country – and to advocate for Indigenous-specific aid to promote their long-term recovery.
National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association (NACCA)
Established in 1997, the National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association (NACCA) is a not-for-profit organization that advocates on behalf of a network of 59 Aboriginal Financial Institutions (AFIs) providing financial and business services to First Nations, Métis and Inuit businesses across Canada. Beyond delivering the Emergency Loan Program and other COVID-19 economic relief programming for Indigenous businesses, NACCA also administers the Aboriginal Entrepreneurship Program (AEP) and various other initiatives in partnership with the Government of Canada.
Our work supports the economic inclusion of Indigenous peoples in Canada.
Facts & Numbers
- AFIs have delivered over 47,000 loans, totaling $2.7 billion, over the past three decades. NACCA and the AFIs have a proven track record, with an extremely high repayment rate (97.5%) for economic development loans.
- Each year, AFIs make over $120 million in loans to 500 Indigenous-owned start-ups and 750 existing businesses. Across the nation at any given time, businesses with active loans with our AFIs employ over 13,000 people.
- As with loans to other Canadian SMEs, the ELP support available to First Nations, Métis and Inuit businesses is a $30,000 loan and $10,000 non-repayable contribution. The current relief package does not yet acknowledge the barriers Indigenous entrepreneurs face compared to their non-Indigenous counterparts. As such, NACCA is advocating for additional non-repayable capital for Indigenous entrepreneurs as they recover from this crisis.
- NACCA has long advocated for further federal investment in Indigenous business development through the AFI network. Even prior to the COVID-19 crisis, our network has been unable to meet the growing demand for loan capital from ever-increasing numbers of Indigenous entrepreneurs (the fastest-growing population in Canada, according to Statistics Canada).
For more information about NACCA, the network of Aboriginal Financial Institutions, and the AFIs that are now delivering COVID-19 related relief, please visit our website at NACCA.ca.
SOURCE National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association
For further information: Shannin Metatawabin, CEO, [email protected], 613-282-2431 (cell); Jean Vincent, Chair, [email protected], 418-569-7122 (cell); André Jetté, Communications Manager, [email protected], 613-688-0894, Ext 506