NAN Grand Chief launches Project Beyshick 2008 at Anishnawbe Keeshigun

    THUNDER BAY, ON, Aug. 15 /CNW/ - Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief
Stan Beardy launched Project Beyshick 2008 with introductions of the 10 NAN
participants at the Anishnawbe Keeshigun festival at Fort William Historical
Park today.
    "Project Beyshick is an invaluable mentoring program for First Nation
entrepreneurs. By working one-on-one with mentors in the Toronto business
community, they are gaining first-hand experience that will lead to improved
intercultural awareness and understanding," said NAN Grand Chief Stan Beardy.
"This will help bring NAN and First Nations business and leadership capacity
to the forefront of the Canadian economy."
    Project Beyshick is an entrepreneurship, economic development and venture
capital initiative for NAN business owners, students, professionals and
community leaders over age 18. This year's participants are:

    -   Ben Bear, Sandy Lake First Nation
    -   Darcy Kejick, North Spirit Lake First Nation (Project Beyshick
    -   Louise Thomas, Long Lake No. 58
    -   Keri Lynn Cheechoo, Long Lake No. 58
    -   Kenneth Thomas, Fort Severn First Nation
    -   Narene Barkman, Sachigo Lake First Nation
    -   Shannon Jacob, Webequie First Nation
    -   Spencer Morris, Muskrat Dam First Nation
    -   Tracey Spence, Webequie First Nation
    -   Wendy McKay, Bearskin Lake First Nation

    From August 15-23, participants will gain culture-based business skills
training and mentorship in partnership with faculty, First Nations Elders and
MBA students from Trent University Indigenous Studies Program, Ryerson
University, Students for Free Enterprise (SIFE), Dale Carnegie Training and
Native Canadian Centre of Toronto.
    Practical business skills training from First Nations and mainstream
perspectives is followed by job shadowing and mentorship in the public and
private sectors of Toronto with senior level executives from North York
General Hospital, HSBC, Toronto Police Services Board, TV Ontario, BMO,
Black's Photography, Karma Candy Inc., Prego Della Piazza, Sears Canada, Royal
Ontario Museum and the Heart and Stroke Foundation.
    Project Beyshick was developed by POA Educational Foundation and
Nishnawbe Aski Nation in 2005. NAN youth are partnered with Toronto business
executives in their area of interest - job-shadowing for one week learning
through mentorship and being part of the staff.
    Another highlight of Project Beyshick is an annual juried Business/Career
Plan Competition with an award of $15,000 being presented to recognize the
participant who prepares the most feasible business or career plan.
    "It is our goal that members of First Nations will become equal partners
in the economic prosperity of Canada and Canadian life. I strongly believe
that initiatives like Project Beyshick that provide training and first-hand
exposure to the top leadership of the public and private institutions will
help nurture entrepreneurs who will make the First Nation a prosperous
community," said Project Beyshick co-founder and Canadian entrepreneur Aditya
Jha. "The business award component of the project brings us closer to our
vision of a Social Venture Capital Fund for First Nation entrepreneurs."

    Nishnawbe Aski Nation is a political territorial organization
representing 49 First Nation communities in James Bay Treaty 9 and Ontario
portions of Treaty 5 - an area covering two thirds of the province of Ontario.

    POA Educational Foundation is a charitable foundation aiming to provide
support for educational and entrepreneurial initiatives that target regions
with specific challenges and pressing needs. The foundation takes special
interest in nurturing prosperity and financial independence amongst Canadian
First Nation communities and individuals.

For further information:

For further information: Michael Heintzman, Media Relations Officer -
Nishnawbe Aski Nation, (807) 625-4906 or (807) 621-2790 mobile

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