Frank Parnell, the CEO of TRICORP, and Brent Mainprize, the ACE program director, announced the program will receive $1 million from BMO Financial Group. (UVic Photo Services)

$1 million to expand Indigenous entrepreneur program

Aboriginal Canadian Entrepreneurs Program, dreamed up in northwest B.C., to grow nationally

This month alone, 22 students in northwest B.C. will be graduating from the Northwest Aboriginal Canadian Entrepreneurs Program (ACE) — a program that recently received $1 million to expand nationwide.

It’s the first time the six-month program has been offered in the Nass, where 19 students have taken classes on topics ranging from law and marketing to organizational behaviour and then mentored by an expert in their business field. For the 13 students from Terrace, it’s the second time ACE has been offered in their city.

“We’ve offered it in Prince Rupert I can’t even remember how many time now,” said Cory Stephens, the program manager in the northwest.

After five years, the program has 275 graduates from 26 Indigenous communities in B.C. Approximately 72 businesses have been started by people who have graduated from regional ACE programs.

“It’s not only an entrepreneurship program. It really changes the way graduates visualize and see opportunity,” Stephens said. “It positively affects our graduates in all aspects of their lives once they move forward. A very common thing our students say once they’ve completed the program is they see the world in a different way.”

READ MORE: Six Rupertites awarded Irving K. Barber Aboriginal scholarships

On April 3, University of Victoria announced BMO Financial Group is giving the ACE Program $1 million to expand.

One of the first additions will be the ACE Artists program in Victoria, which will be launched within the month. Expansions are in the works for northern B.C., such as in Bella Bella, and across Canada.

Stephens said there will be a strong focus on the north, specifically, “because that’s where the program started and where we’ve been the strongest.”

Dreamed up by Frank Parnell, the CEO of the Tribal Resources Investment Corporation (TRICORP), the program is designed to bring university-level education to the north with professors from the University of Victoria’s Gustavson School of Business.

Business plan writing coaches and mentors from the north, Stephens said, offer vital local knowledge of what it takes to run a successful business in the north.

Stephens will soon begin recruiting for the next session of the program, starting mid-May in Prince Rupert. Interested people can apply at www.iamace.ca.

READ MORE: Indigenous stewards of the land, river and sea



keili.bartlett@thenorthernview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Langley twins sell out sixth cancer fundraising concert

This Saturday’s Gone Country - Here for the Cure is a multi-artist show raising money for the cause.

Langley man fights for his life against flesh eating disease

The rare infection has landed Rob Erke in hospital since July 7.

Aldergrove Food Bank leader ‘retires’

Darlene Isaak has a ‘legacy written in the hearts and bellies of the vulnerable’

Junior cadets get glimpse of RCMP life in Langley

The annual summer event saw kids learn about policing.

GranFondo riders to rally in Langley Sunday

The massive bike ride will send 1,400 cyclists through the Fraser Valley.

VIDEO: Plant lovers helped raise more than $2,000 for charity

A Langley nursery opened up their private gardens for the 17th year in a row.

Hub for mental health and addictions treatment opens at B.C. hospital

St. Paul’s Hospital HUB is an acute medical unit that includes 10 patient beds

Restaurant Brands International to review policy over poaching employees

One of Canada’s largest fast-food company to review ‘no-poach’ franchise agreements

Calgary family’s vacation ends in tragedy on Texas highway

Three people died and four others were injured in the crash

Union construction cost competitive, B.C. Building Trades say

Non-union firms can bid on infrastructure, but employees have to join international unions

Trudeau to shuffle cabinet ahead of Liberals’ team for 2019

Trudeau could lighten the work loads of cabinet ministers who currently oversee more than one portfolio

Car calls 911 on possible impaired B.C. driver

A luxury car automatically calls Princeton police to scene of crash involving alcohol

BC Games marks 40 years in 2018

Cowichan Games a milestone for BC Games Society

VIDEO: Life’s a beach at this B.C. sand sculpting contest

More than $50,000 was up for grabs at the annual contest held in Parksville

Most Read