ARCHIVED - Valuable Partnerships and Unique Opportunities at the Aboriginal Entrepreneurs Conference and Tradeshow

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The Aboriginal Entrepreneurs Conference and Tradeshow was hosted by the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business and supported by Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada on October 24 and 25, 2011 in Ottawa. Over 200 Aboriginal entrepreneurs from across Canada attended the conference to hear from industry experts and expand their networks in the business community.

Co-hosted by Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development John Duncan and President and CEO of the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business Clint Davis, the conference highlighted the importance of Aboriginal business development, the value of partnerships and the unique opportunities for Aboriginal entrepreneurs.

Transcript: Valuable Partnerships and Unique Opportunities at the Aboriginal Entrepreneurs Conference and Tradeshow

Narration: Over 200 Aboriginal entrepreneurs from across Canada took part in the Aboriginal Entrepreneurs Conference and Tradeshow on October 24 and 25, 2011 in Ottawa. Hosted by the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business and supported by Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, participants attended to network, gain insight and learn from national experts on various subjects such as mentorship, business opportunities and the state of the economy.

Chief Robert Louie, Westbank First Nation, British Columbia: This conference, I think, is very very important because it brings together the entrepreneurs, it gives all of us success stories that are happening all across the country, and I think it's a perfect blending of how things can really move ahead.

Narration: In his opening address, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development John Duncan recognized the importance of Aboriginal entrepreneurship and business development in the Canadian economy.

Minister John Duncan, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development: Last January, Prime Minister Harper declared 2011 to be the Year of the entrepreneur, to highlight the essential role that small and medium size businesses play in a strong Canadian economy. Our government recognizes the importance of business development and growth to First Nations, Inuit and Métis people. 

Narration: Clint Davis, President and CEO of the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business and co-chair for the event explained how the conference helps Aboriginal entrepreneurs to understand and develop the skills needed for successful business development.

Clint Davis, President and CEO of the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business: I think the conference does a few things. First of all, it highlights on day one what huge opportunity exists for Aboriginal people. On the second day, we're actually going to be reviewing how some of these businesses can utilize different tools in order to achieve a level of success they are actually striving for. So, how to fundamentally use social media, what are the key 100 tools used by an entrepreneur, how else can we engage in much more effective business planning, things like that.

Narration: Partnerships were a major theme throughout the conference. Derek Burleton, Vice-President and Deputy Chief Economist for TD Bank Financial Group, discussed the need for cooperation within the business community.

Derek Burleton, Vice-President and Deputy Chief Economist for TD Bank Financial Group: We see significant opportunities going forward. I think a conference like this, one of its big benefits is to bring players from all different walks, the public, the private sector, Aboriginal communities together. I think in these kind of difficult global economic times where there's a lot of uncertainty, I think partnerships are certainly going to be key.

Narration: Sara Filbee is proud of AANDC's role in a conference which focuses on finding concrete solutions to the challenges facing Aboriginal entrepreneurs, as well as the great achievements that can be shared by the Aboriginal business community.

Sara Filbee, Assistant Deputy Minister, Lands and Economic Development, AANDC: It's a real potential for us to showcase both the potential and the huge achievements of Aboriginal businesses across Canada. That's really exciting because that's fundamentally what our group is about in AANDC, and it's also a chance to think through some of the issues and to get people together to talk through the issues and the challenges and hopefully to build some capacity and do some workshops at the same time to help people understand, what are some of the other skill sets and so on that are available.

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