ARCHIVED - Investing in Métis Future

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Métis entrepreneurs in Saskatchewan now have access to a $6 million fund that may help their business dreams come true. The Métis Energy and Resource Program (MERP), administered by the Clarence Campeau Development Fund (CCDF), is set to invest in Métis entrepreneurs and communities who want to capitalize on the resource boom in Saskatchewan.

Steve Danners (right), Business Development Specialist and Roland Duplessis (left), Chief Executive Officer from the Clarence Campeau Development Fund (CCDF) (Photo by: CCDF)

On April 21, 2010, the Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians, announced a $5 million investment from the Government of Canada to support the new Métis Energy and Resource Program. The CCDF contributed $1 million from their own capital to establish the program. The MERP will have two components: an Equity Contribution Program, providing support to independent Métis entrepreneurs, and a Community Infrastructure Program to create and build Métis-owned businesses.

Steve Danners is the Senior Business Development Specialist responsible for delivery of the MERP and he's excited about the new opportunities such a program will bring. "We want to disperse the funds in the most effective way possible for Métis job and wealth creation. We realize $6 million is not that significant when you are talking about energy and resources, but it's a good start," says Danners. "The process is really quite simple. Give us a call or fill out an application, which can be found on our website  and the process is underway."

Besides assisting private entrepreneurs, the program will allow CCDF to partner with Métis communities, organizations or Métis economic development corporations to start or acquire business. This program is generating considerable interest from communities in both northern and southern Saskatchewan.

The CCDF team wants wealth and prosperity for Métis people and communities while contributing to the Saskatchewan economy. The MERP means infrastructure development and huge spin-off benefits which will benefit all the residents of Saskatchewan and Canada.

"Under MERP, any Métis business involved in the energy and resource sectors can be funded. It's about Métis economic development and profits," said Danners.

Clarence Campeau. (Photo Courtesy of Aboriginal Multi-media Society.)

The Clarence Campeau Development Fund  was established in 1997 and its mission is to improve the economic circumstances of Saskatchewan's Métis by providing funding for business development, community economic development, management skills development, and other assistance to new and existing Métis-owned businesses.

The Fund was named after Clarence Campeau, born in 1947 at Rose Valley, Saskatchewan. After living on and off reserve, he finally discovered where he fit in society as Métis. As Director of the Métis Nation of Saskatchewan, Campeau introduced a number of programs to help improve the lives of Métis people.

He worked to ensure that Métis people became full and active participants in the economy giving his time and heart to the cause. Campeau was involved in the negotiations with the provincial government that lead to the creation of CCDF.


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