Aboriginal Business and Entrepreneurship Development

About ABED

ABED works with Aboriginal entrepreneurs and its partners to provide a range of services and supports that promote the growth of a strong Aboriginal business sector in Canada. Support will vary depending upon the needs of the client, the availability and sources of funding, the eligibility of costs, the economic benefits, and the project viability. ABED can help Aboriginal entrepreneurs, communities and organizations to achieve their business goals.

What Kind of Support can the ABED Provide You?

Many Aboriginal entrepreneurs and communities can qualify for business development support. Depending on the nature of your project, you may be able to obtain funding to assist with a wide range of activities, including:

  • Business planning
  • Establishment (capital) costs
  • Business acquisitions
  • Business expansions
  • Marketing initiatives that are local, domestic, or export oriented
  • New product or process development
  • Adding technology to improve operations and competitiveness
  • Operating costs in association with capital costs
  • Financial services, business support, business-related training, and mentoring services

Information for applicants

Through the Program Delivery Partners (PDP) initiative, AANDC partners with Aboriginal Financial Institutions (AFIs) to deliver funding for business development. AFIs are located in all regions of the country and are well-positioned to meet the needs and aspirations of Aboriginal entrepreneurs and communities at the local level. AFIs have responsibility for the management, distribution and administration of an equity fund and have the authority to approve funding for activities up to a maximum of $99,999 for Aboriginal individuals and incorporated businesses and up to $250,000 for community owned businesses.

If you are seeking financial assistance from ABED, AANDC encourages you to speak with an AFI in your area before you begin the application process to ensure you have the latest information.

Are You Eligible?

Clients must be individuals of Canadian Aboriginal heritage — Status or Non-status Indian (on or off-reserve), Métis or Inuit — or a majority-owned Aboriginal business, or an Aboriginal community and/or development corporation.

To be eligible for support, clients should also be involved full-time with the proposed business in a management capacity and must be able to provide some level of cash equity to support the project.

How Much Funding is Available?

Individual Aboriginal entrepreneurs may receive up to $99,999 in funding assistance. For community-owned businesses, this assistance can vary. The level of support for your business project will depend on a number of factors that you will need to discuss with your AFI.

Requests for financial support are assessed on each project's viability and merits. Factors include the scope of the project, the need for financing, and whether other sources of financing are available — including funds received from other government departments and agencies. A successful application requires a balanced financial package, involving debt financing from other sources and a minimum of 10% cash equity.

While there are ceilings for the average contributions offered, the actual investment from AANDC will be limited to what is required to ensure your project proceeds and is viable.

How to apply and contact an AFI

To apply to ABED for financial assistance or if you require assistance at any stage in the development of your business proposal please contact your local AFI. Listed here are the 14 AFIs delivering ABED via the PDP initiative.

Here is a complete list of Aboriginal Financial Institutions (AFIs) across Canada. The AFIs can support Aboriginal businesses by providing business financing and related services (e.g. Business loan, business and of financial consulting services, start-up and aftercare support).