Resource Roundup: Essential Support for Indigenous Entrepreneurs

According to a 2023 report from Export Development Canada, there are over 50,000 Indigenous-owned businesses across Canada, contributing $48.9 billion annually to the country’s economy. Despite this high contribution, the majority of Indigenous entrepreneurs rely on their personal savings to start and build their businesses. Increasing access to resources and financial support for Indigenous entrepreneurs is vital to help these businesses thrive.

In celebration of National Indigenous History Month, we’ve put together a list of resources and organizations offering support and tools to help Indigenous entrepreneurs build and grow their businesses. 

  • Futurpreneur’s Indigenous Entrepreneur Startup Program (IESP): The IESP is designed and operated by an Indigenous team that understands the barriers to success faced by young and aspiring Indigenous entrepreneurs. IESP provides startup loan financing and up to two years of mentorship, supported by a team with lived experience, and offers access to tools and networking opportunities across Canada. 
  • Government of Canada – Aboriginal Entrepreneurship Program (AEP): The AEP seeks to increase the number of viable businesses in Canada owned and controlled by Indigenous people. The AEP funds a broad range of entrepreneurial pursuits and aims to build capacity, reduce barriers, and increase access to capital by forging partnerships that will increase economic opportunities for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis people.
  • Canadian Council for Indigenous Business (CCIB): CCIB delivers programs that facilitate the growth of Indigenous businesses, build relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous businesses, and ensure lifelong learning for Indigenous entrepreneurs and other Canadian business leaders. Programs and offerings include grants and funding opportunities, procurement, tools for indigenous businesses and more!
  • BDC – Indigenous Entrepreneur Loan: BDC offers the Indigenous Entrepreneur Loan with financing of up to $350,000. This dynamic loan is available for entrepreneurs who operate both on and off reserve. 
  • The National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association (NACCA): NACCA supports First Nations, Métis, and Inuit entrepreneurs by providing funding for Indigenous businesses and communities through Indigenous Financial Institutions (IFIs). You can learn more about securing financing to become an entrepreneur through NACCA’s inquiries form:
  • däna Näye Ventures: däna Näye Ventures is a Yukon-based, First Nation-controlled institution that provides business development and financial services to ALL PEOPLE throughout Yukon and in the Northern British Columbia communities of Atlin, Good Hope Lake and Lower Post. Their financial services and business programs include the women’s entrepreneurship loan fund, Indigenous women entrepreneur microloan, Indigenous women entrepreneurs program, and more!
  • Indigenous Tech Circle: Tech Circle is a community for Indigenous change-makers across Turtle Island, dedicated to expanding the Indigenous Tech Ecosystem. They foster a peer-to-peer community of tech organizations, leaders, and change-makers across Turtle Island, offering community, virtual and in-person events, and mentorship. Check out their upcoming events at
  • Pow Wow Pitch: Pow Wow Pitch is a non-profit organization supporting Indigenous entrepreneurs across Turtle Island, purpose-built to provide a safe, collaborative, empowering, and culturally supportive platform for inspiration, education, mentorship, celebration, and reconciliation through entrepreneurship. Pow Wow Pitch offers online learning modules for entrepreneurs, tech for youth entrepreneurs, and an annual pitch competition to win cash prizes from $500 to $25,000.
  • Pauktuutit Inuit Women in Business Network (IWBN): The purpose of the IWBN is to connect Inuit women across Inuit Nunangat who own a business or are interested in starting one. The Network was built to support and assist all Inuit businesswomen at any stage of business development by providing user-friendly resources and having a community that will encourage you. The IWBN is made by Inuit businesswomen for Inuit businesswomen, and anyone is welcome to join!
  • True North Aid: The True North Aid Community Initiatives Program supports Indigenous-led projects in northern and remote communities in Canada that aim to create positive and impactful community-centred change. An Indigenous Advisory Committee meets to collectively review and identify grant recipients and communities with capacity-building opportunities.

Want to learn more about ​​Business Reconciliation and ensuring equal economic opportunity for Indigenous Peoples and prosperity for all Canadians? Check out the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business’ Business Reconciliation in Canada Guidebook

Please note: The above article lists programs and resources for Indigenous entrepreneurs offered across Canada. Startup Canada does not manage or sponsor any of the above programs.