Indigenous businesses and organizations play a vital role in strengthening the economy of Northern Ontario and Canada as a whole.
Below, you will find information and links to funding programs offered by the Federal Economic Development Agency for Northern Ontario, other federal programs and initiatives, as well as additional supports that can help your business and community grow.
Each of these programs aim to help Indigenous communities grow their economies and create good jobs, so if you’re starting a new business or looking to grow your existing enterprise, or if you have a community-driven initiative in mind, get in touch to see how the Government of Canada can help.
FedNor Programs and Initiatives
Northern Ontario Development Program
Through its Northern Ontario Development Program, FedNor invests in projects led by municipalities, First Nations, and other organizations and institutions that support community economic development, diversification, job creation and self-reliant communities in Northern Ontario.
Regional Economic Growth through Innovation (REGI)
If you’re an Indigenous entrepreneur, REGI can help you start and grow a business in Northern Ontario.
Community Futures Program
Through its Community Futures Program (CFP), FedNor supports 24 Community Futures Development Corporations (CFDCs) located in Northern Ontario.
Jobs and Growth Fund
We can help your business or community create jobs and position your local economy for long-term growth. Under the Jobs and Growth Fund, FedNor may contribute up to 100% of eligible costs for projects with Indigenous clients.
Tourism Relief Fund (TRF)
The TRF helps Indigenous tourism businesses adapt to public-health measures and position themselves for future growth. Contributions to non-profit Indigenous entities could be non-repayable.
Other Government of Canada support for Indigenous economic development
Indigenous Services Canada
If you’re looking for support for your business in these difficult times, check out the Indigenous Services Canada page for COVID-19 support. On this page, you’ll find support for businesses, as well as information on how to increase business skills or develop land in your community. Reach out to Indigenous Services Canada in Ontario to learn more or to apply for funding.
Indigenous business export support program
If you’re an Indigenous business or community looking to reach international markets, this program may be able to help. It offers export funding to businesses that are majority-owned and operated by Indigenous people or communities.
Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC)
If you are an Indigenous entrepreneur looking to grow and succeed, the BDC can provide access to financing and advisory services.
Export Development Canada (EDC)
Indigenous exporters can find small business solutions and seize opportunities abroad at Export Development Canada. See how EDC can help you reach international buyers.
Business Benefits Finder
Find the right programs and services for your business, whether you’re starting out or ready to grow. Get a curated list of support options by adding in a bit of information about your situation and your business needs.
Canada Business App Your mobile business partner
Here’s an app that will make it even easier for you to find government programs and services to help your business start up, scale up and reach new markets.
Skills and Partnership Fund
As a complement to the Indigenous Skills and Employment Training program, the Skills and Partnership Fund (SPF) is a project-based fund that supports partnerships between Indigenous organizations and industry employers to provide skills training for Indigenous peoples linked to economic opportunities at the local, regional, and national level.
Additional support for Indigenous economic development in Northern Ontario
Aboriginal Financial Institutions (AFIs)
Aboriginal Financial Institutions provide loans and business services to Indigenous entrepreneurs in Northern Ontario. They can also help Indigenous decision-makers improve skills in governance and financial management.
There are four Aboriginal Financial Institutions in Northern Ontario:
Nishnawbe Aski Development Fund (NADF)
Fort William First Nation
Waubetek Business Development Corporation
Wakenagun Community Futures Development Corporation
Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB)
The CCAB builds bridges between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, businesses and communities through diverse programming, tools and training.
Please note that this list is not a complete inventory of all Government of Canada funding programs and initiatives or advisory support resources available to Indigenous businesses, groups and communities. For more information, please visit the Business and Industry page of the Government of Canada.
For more information, please contact FedNor or call us toll-free at 1-877-333-6673.