Frank Parnell, the CEO of TRICORP, and Brent Mainprize, the ACE program director, announced the program will receive $1 million from BMO Financial Group. (UVic Photo Services)

$1 million to expand Indigenous entrepreneur program

Aboriginal Canadian Entrepreneurs Program, dreamed up in northwest B.C., to grow nationally

This month alone, 22 students in northwest B.C. will be graduating from the Northwest Aboriginal Canadian Entrepreneurs Program (ACE) — a program that recently received $1 million to expand nationwide.

It’s the first time the six-month program has been offered in the Nass, where 19 students have taken classes on topics ranging from law and marketing to organizational behaviour and then mentored by an expert in their business field. For the 13 students from Terrace, it’s the second time ACE has been offered in their city.

“We’ve offered it in Prince Rupert I can’t even remember how many time now,” said Cory Stephens, the program manager in the northwest.

After five years, the program has 275 graduates from 26 Indigenous communities in B.C. Approximately 72 businesses have been started by people who have graduated from regional ACE programs.

“It’s not only an entrepreneurship program. It really changes the way graduates visualize and see opportunity,” Stephens said. “It positively affects our graduates in all aspects of their lives once they move forward. A very common thing our students say once they’ve completed the program is they see the world in a different way.”

READ MORE: Six Rupertites awarded Irving K. Barber Aboriginal scholarships

On April 3, University of Victoria announced BMO Financial Group is giving the ACE Program $1 million to expand.

One of the first additions will be the ACE Artists program in Victoria, which will be launched within the month. Expansions are in the works for northern B.C., such as in Bella Bella, and across Canada.

Stephens said there will be a strong focus on the north, specifically, “because that’s where the program started and where we’ve been the strongest.”

Dreamed up by Frank Parnell, the CEO of the Tribal Resources Investment Corporation (TRICORP), the program is designed to bring university-level education to the north with professors from the University of Victoria’s Gustavson School of Business.

Business plan writing coaches and mentors from the north, Stephens said, offer vital local knowledge of what it takes to run a successful business in the north.

Stephens will soon begin recruiting for the next session of the program, starting mid-May in Prince Rupert. Interested people can apply at www.iamace.ca.

READ MORE: Indigenous stewards of the land, river and sea



keili.bartlett@thenorthernview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

A weekend in Maple Ridge’s tent city

Rats scurrying, scratching outside tent all night

Maple Ridge elementary school boundaries under review

East Maple Ridge elementary school catchments redrawn

Rapid transit to Maple Ridge long way away, if there’s still room

Lougheed Highway the route for train, in a few decades

Truck gridlock predicted if CP Rail strike happens

Pitt Meadows businessman asks city hall for help

Letter: Time to end train whistles

Mapel Ridge council said it would a year ago.

Could facial scans and fingerprints make you unhackable?

New biometrics capabilities could be a game-changer for those trying to get on your accounts

Great year for Ridge Meadows Racers

Provincial and Western Canadian champions from Maple Ridge club

4-20: Pot activists continue their fight beyond legalization

Cannabis activists say there is still a lot to fight for beyond legalization

Comey memos: Trump talks of jailed journalists and ‘hookers’

A 15 page document written by former FBI Director James Comey about dealings with Trump is released to press

5 to start your day

Judge to rule on health of accused in Abbotsford stabbing, Vaisakhi kicks off in Surrey and more

UPDATED: Prince Charles to be next Commonwealth leader

Prince Charles to succeed his mother Queen Elizabeth II as head of the 53-nation alliance

U.S. team wins BC Hockey League championship for first time in 39 years

B.C. players help the Wenatchee Wild defeat Prince George in best-of-seven series

Robot caretakers could be in your future

If the idea of a sex robot made heads turn this week, what about a robot nurse at your bedside?

Woman sentenced to life in Valentine’s Day shooting plot at Halifax mall

An American woman has been sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for a decade

Most Read