Ottawa, Ontario (February 14, 2012) – The Honourable John Duncan, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, congratulated the Aboriginal Tourism Association of British Columbia (ATBC) today for organizing Aboriginal Business Match 2012 , an annual event that provides networking and business development opportunities to First Nations and the business community.
Aboriginal Business Match 2012 is taking place in Prince George, British Columbia on the traditional territory of the Lheidli T'enneh First Nation from February 13-16. Over 100 national and international companies will join First Nations from across British Columbia to discuss business opportunities and to participate in a series of workshops and exhibits.
"The Government of Canada is pleased to be a partner in this important event, which brings Aboriginal leaders from across the province in contact with decision makers from national and international companies," said Minister Duncan. "We are committed to increasing economic development opportunities and job opportunities in First Nations communities and the Aboriginal business sector."
"ATBC is pleased to provide an important role in supporting the Aboriginal Business Match with several partners. The unique format of ABM will provide our partners with an effective way to measure the outcomes, which will support new economic development for roughly 120 Aboriginal communities and 100 industry partners now registered," said Keith Henry, ATBC Chief Executive Officer and ABM Steering Committee Chairperson. "The successful pre-planning and preparation work was accomplished by our team at Raven Events with key partners such as Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, Industry Council for Aboriginal Business, BC First Nations Forestry Council, First Nations Technology Council, Tsleil-Waututh Nation, Carrier Sekani Tribal Council, Aboriginal Business Development Centre in Prince George, Royal Bank of Canada, Pacific Coastal Airlines, and host Lheidli T’enneh Nation. ATBC is honoured to support the planning and coordination of such an important event."
ATBC is a non-profit, membership-based organization that is committed to growing and promoting a sustainable, culturally rich Aboriginal tourism industry. Through training, information resources, networking opportunities and co-operative marketing programs, ATBC is a one-stop resource for Aboriginal entrepreneurs and communities in British Columbia who are operating or looking to start a tourism business.
"Hosting an event like the Aboriginal Business Match in Prince George is a natural fit for a region rich in economic development partnerships with First Nations," said Cariboo—Prince George MP Richard M. Harris. "I look forward to hearing about new business opportunities identified and the birth of potential partnerships between First Nations and the private sector as the result of this event."
Over the past year, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada has contributed over $5 million to 63 Aboriginal businesses for economic development purposes. The Government of Canada provided $280,000 to ATBC to support Aboriginal Business Match 2012. This investment supports the Government's commitment at the Crown-First Nations Gathering to create conditions to accelerate economic development opportunities for First Nations and maximize benefits for all Canadians.
In June 2009, the Government of Canada released the Federal Framework for Aboriginal Economic Development, which represents a fundamental change to how the federal government supports Aboriginal economic development. The Framework emphasizes strengthening entrepreneurship, enhancing the value of Aboriginal assets, and forging new and effective partnerships to maximize the economic development potential of Aboriginal Canadians.
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