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On December 29, 2008, the Government of Canada announced a suite of new measures aimed at improving access to commercial financing for Aboriginal entrepreneurs and communities. One of these measures was a pilot initiative designed to increase the participation of Aboriginal businesses in major energy and development projects across Canada.
Called the Major Resource and Energy Development (MRED) Investments Initiative, the pilot is designed to help Aboriginal businesses partner in some of the most important economic developments and energy projects in the country. The MRED Investments Initiative will leverage financial participation from other levels of government, the private sector and Aboriginal partners to increase the availability of equity funding to medium and large Aboriginal businesses so that they may participate and partner in major development projects.
Recent developments have also occurred to further engage Aboriginal businesses and communities in these projects:
The MRED Investments Initiative targets the equity gaps facing Aboriginal firms and enables them to become operational as resource and energy businesses. This investment by the Government of Canada will contribute to the planning, pre-feasibility and feasibility work needed in early project stages, as well as the late-stage equity required to leverage commercial financing.
These pilot investments will also test new approaches to working with other levels of government, the private sector and Aboriginal organizations to improve access to capital for First Nation entrepreneurs.