OTTAWA, April 18, 2020 /CNW/ - The National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association (NACCA) applauds the Government of Canada's strong support of a targeted economic stimulus package of $306.8 million for our Indigenous businesses. The programming will be delivered through NACCA and the network of Aboriginal Financial Institutions (AFIs). The AFIs provides financial and business services to First Nations, Inuit, and Métis entrepreneurs from coast to coast to coast.
NACCA's strategic response to the crisis was led by its Board of Directors. The Chair, Jean Vincent, is also President and CEO of the Société de crédit commerciale autochtone (SOCCA), an AFI located in Wendake, QC. Mr. Vincent has welcomed today's announcement, stating, "Indigenous businesses have distinct needs and are more vulnerable during economic downturns, including the unprecedented impacts of this current pandemic".
NACCA CEO Shannin Metatawabin is confident that the announced $306.8M stimulus will ensure the economic stability of an already-fragile economic situation for Indigenous entrepreneurs. "We have been working for weeks with the government on this stimulus package for the AFIs and their clients. Our AFIs will be ready to roll this out to assist Indigenous businesses that have been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis."
The Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Indigenous Services indicated that "some Indigenous businesses who are already facing unique challenges, including being in rural or remote locations and having less access to capital, are disproportionately affected by this unprecedented situation". All too often, Indigenous business-owners are justified in believing that they will be unable to meet the eligibility criteria of mainstream institutions. Established, business-focused, Indigenous-led institutions like NACCA and the AFIs are vitally necessary to deliver programs targeting the unique business needs of their Indigenous clients.
The Honourable Bill Morneau, Minister of Finance, added that this support will assist Indigenous businesses "so they can continue to grow and thrive when this crisis passes." Prime Minister Justin Trudeau concluded his announcement by adding that "this is just a first step, we'll have more to say soon on what else we'll do to help Indigenous businesses and the people who rely on them".
Indigenous businesses are a key driver of employment and better socio-economic outcomes for Indigenous people. They are crucial to achieving greater prosperity for Indigenous communities across the country. NACCA and its national network of AFIs are leaders in assisting Indigenous entrepreneurs achieve their aspirations. Their work supports the economic inclusion of Indigenous peoples in Canada.
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, Metis and Inuit businesses across Canada. NACCA also administers the Aboriginal Entrepreneurship Program (AEP), and various other initiatives, in partnership with the Government of Canada.
Facts, Statistics & Numbers
AFIs have delivered 47,000 loans, totaling $2.7 billion, since their inception.
NACCA and the AFIs have a proven track record, with an extremely high repayment rate (95%) for economic development loans.
The stimulus package announced in response the COVID-19 pandemic is a great first step, though – as with other Canadian businesses – more will be needed as businesses weather its economic impacts.
In mid-March, NACCA surveyed its network of AFIs across Canada to determine the expected impacts of COVID-19. Although the survey took place very early in the crisis, the response was telling. Over 95% of AFI respondents expected the pandemic to have a negative impact on their existing clients. As one AFI put it, "No sector will be immune from this event." AFIs expected all sectors to face an impact, with the most significant ones in tourism, accommodation and food services, hospitality, transportation, service and retail trade.
For years, NACCA has advocated that the federal government invest further in the network of AFIs, as we are currently unable to meet the growing demand of ever-increasing numbers of Indigenous people (the fastest-growing population in Canada, according to Statistics Canada).
For more information about NACCA and the network of Aboriginal Financial Institutions, please visit our website at NACCA.ca
SOURCE National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association
For further information: André Jetté, Communications Manager, NACCA, [email protected], 613-688-0894, Ext 506; Shannin Metatawabin, CEO, NACCA, [email protected], 613-282-2431 (cell); Jean Vincent, Chair of the NACCA Board, [email protected], (418) 569-7122 (cell)