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Financing Solutions for Start-ups: Part 5 – For Indigenous Businesses

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This article includes some of the start-up financing options for Indigenous Businesses.

If you are of Indigenous descent and have a great business idea you are looking to grow, then there are several business funding and loan opportunities with the following programs:

Clarence Campeau Development Fund (CCDF)

The Clarence Campeau Development Fund, also known as the Métis Development Fund, provides equity for Métis businesses, loan support to community economic development initiatives, and assistance for Métis business owners and entrepreneurs to develop management skills. Programs are:

      • Business Plan Program

This program provides support to entrepreneurs who have a business concept that provides excellent opportunity but requires a professional business plan to attract financing.

The program allows entrepreneurs to engage the services of professional consultants to undertake the research and planning necessary to develop a business plan and attract the appropriate financing.

CCDF can consider funding up to 75% of the costs to a maximum of $10,000.

      • Metis Entrepreneur Equity Program

This program assists Métis entrepreneurs by providing equity through a non-repayable contribution to enhance the applicant’s ability to leverage financing from other financial institutions and agencies.

Under this program, CCDF can provide a Métis individual a non-repayable contribution of up to 40% of eligible project costs to a maximum of $99,999.

Under this program, CCDF can provide a Métis community owned business with up to 40% of eligible project costs to a maximum of $250,000.

      • Metis Emergency Stabilization Program

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, the Clarence Campeau Development Fund through assistance provided by the Government of Canada, is taking action to ensure that Métis business owners impacted by Covid-19 have access to the support they require. The emergency loan program is a component of the Indigenous Business Stabilization Program.

The Emergency Loan Program (ELP) is designed as an emergency measure to support small business owners in meeting their immediate operating cash flow needs. These funds are not intended to replace or duplicate government or other bank/lender emergency financing that are available to businesses in Canada.

Maximum assistance is up to $60,000 comprised of a 67% loan and 33% non-repayable contribution. Loan and contribution are issued together.

      • Business Development Program

This program assists Métis entrepreneurs by providing equity through a repayable interest-free loan contribution enhancing the applicant’s ability to leverage financing from other institutions and agencies.

Under this program, CCDF can provide interest-free financial assistance of up to the lessor of $300,000 per project or 50% of project costs excluding pre-operating costs, working capital, and goodwill as identified in the program costs.

      • Major Business Development Program

This program is intended to help increase the involvement of Métis entrepreneurs in the energy and resource sectors and other large-scale business initiatives.

CCDF can provide financial assistance of 50% of the project costs excluding pre-operating costs, working capital, and goodwill.  Minimum funding under this program is $300,001 up to a maximum of $1,000,000.

      • Women’s Business Development Program

This program assists Saskatchewan Métis Women with the desire to become entrepreneurs, overcome barriers and enhance their ability to leverage financing and support services from other financial institutions and agencies.

Under this program CCDF can provide an interest free loan of up to the lesser of $100,000 or 65% of project costs excluding pre-operating costs and working capital identified in the program costs.

      • Youth Business Development Program

This program is to assist Saskatchewan Métis Youth ages 18 to 35 with the desire to become entrepreneurs, overcome barriers and enhance their ability to leverage financing and support services from other financial institutions and agencies.

Under this program CCDF can provide equity assistance in the form of a loan of up to 65% of project costs to a maximum of $10,000. Total project costs cannot exceed $25,000 excluding working capital.

      • Community Business Development Program

This program is intended to assist Métis communities to develop businesses that will result in the creation of wealth and jobs for Métis people.

Under this program CCDF can provide a one-time non-repayable grant up to a maximum of $300,000 or 50% of project costs excluding pre-operating costs and working capital.  Should the business be sold or disposed of within three years of receiving a non-repayable grant it will become repayable immediately.

As well, CCDF can contribute a repayable loan up to a max of $700,000 as a repayable loan contribution. Repayable loan contributions and non-repayable grants will not exceed 85% of approved project costs.  Maximum funding under this program will be $1,000,000.

      • Management Skills Program

This program supports training for existing CCDF clients to develop their management and marketing skills.

CCDF can consider funding up to 75% of the approved costs, to a maximum of $10,000 over the life of the contribution.

      • Business Support Program

This program is intended to provide professional support to existing CCDF clients to help improve their opportunity for success.

The purpose is intended to allow the business to engage the service of a professional consultant to examine the operations of the business to identify areas that require special consideration.

CCDF can consider funding of up to 100% of the cost, to a maximum of $10,000 over the life of the contribution.

Saskatchewan Indian Equity Foundation Inc. (SIEF)

SIEF is an Aboriginal financial institution that offers developmental lending to First Nations businesses in Saskatchewan. SIEF is owned by the 75 First Nations of Saskatchewan and affiliated with the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations.

  • Commercial/Agriculture Development Loans
    A “developmental loan” is a business loan that is provided to Aboriginal entrepreneurs or business entities owned and controlled by Aboriginal people or communities that face difficulty in obtaining business financing from a mainstream commercial financial institution.

These include:

      • Capital Loans: Businesses usually need to purchase assets to begin operating; SIEF can provide financing for purchases for your business.
      • Working Capital/Operating Loans: Daily operation may see your business running short on cash; SIEF can provide financing for your business.
      • Bridge Financing: If you have a guaranteed source of revenue, such as government grants/funding, SIEF may be able to provide lending until funding is received.
      • Participation Loans: SIEF will consider partnering with another financial institution if your financing needs exceed SIEF lending guidelines.

SIEF Contribution ProgramThe SIEF Contribution Program is a needs based program with the mandate to create jobs and to increase the economic well-being of First Nations people. The program is designed to support: Business start-ups, business acquisitions, or expansions to existing businesses.

The SIEF Contribution Program is in the form of a conditional non-repayable financial contribution up to a maximum of $99,999 of total projects costs for individual applications and up to a maximum of $250,000 of total project costs for community or band owned enterprise applications.

SaskMétis Economic Development Corporation (SMEDCO)

The SaskMétis Economic Development Corporation (SMEDCO) is an Aboriginal Capital Corporation that finances the startup, acquisition, and expansion of Métis-controlled small businesses in Saskatchewan. SMEDCO offers a variety of programs for Métis business including loans, business advisory services and youth programs (ages 18-35).

  • SMEDCO Blended FinancingTheir Financing package is designed to create the most affordable primary term debt for Métis Entrepreneurs in Saskatchewan. SMEDCO combines traditional financing with non-repayable contributions to create a low-cost borrowing option compared to basic mainstream financing options.

Loans can be from $30,000 to $500,000+, and have negotiable terms, as they understand business require different terms to become successful.

There you have it, 3 amazing local organizations to support first nations, Please join us for the sixth part of our series Financing Solutions for Start Ups and Entrepreneurs as we look at grant opportunities for your business start-up.

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