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Canada cannot compete globally and protect the social safety nets we hold dear unless all people have the same opportunities to participate in and benefit from our economy. That includes ensuring opportunities are available to our Indigenous peoples, Canada’s youngest and fastest growing demographic.

This is why the Canadian Chamber strongly supports the Martin Family Initiative’s Indigenous entrepreneurship education programs. The Aboriginal Youth Entrepreneurship Program (AYEP) offers courses for Indigenous high school students. The Indigenous Entrepreneurship Course (IEC) will be offered for the first time this fall at six colleges in British Columbia, Ontario, Newfoundland and Labrador, as well as Saskatchewan* to Indigenous youth and adults who have left the formal education system but want to explore the opportunities of starting their own businesses. 

According to the 2019 Report of the National Indigenous Economic Development Board, the growth in self-employed Indigenous peoples is five times that of non-Indigenous peoples. This impressive figure demonstrates that Indigenous peoples have an appetite to pursue entrepreneurship. The Martin Family Initiative’s entrepreneurship programs, developed by Indigenous peoples for Indigenous peoples, help satisfy that appetite.

Both AYEP and IEC not only hold the promise of helping Indigenous youth catch the entrepreneurship bug, but are also the type of education programs that entrepreneurs tell us are needed for all young people in Canada. It is important for more secondary and post-secondary education institutions as well as businesses to know about these programs to attract aspiring entrepreneurs.

Click here to learn more about the Martin Family Initiative’s programs.

*Camouson College, Victoria; Saskatchewan Indigenous Institute of Technologies, Saskatoon; Gabriel Dumont Institute, Saskatoon; Anishinabek Employment and Training Services (AETS), Thunder Bay; Oshki-Pimache-O-Win/The Wenjack Institute, Thunder Bay; and College of the North Atlantic, Newfoundland and Labrador

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