Aboriginal Business Investment Fund

Helps Indigenous community-owned businesses capitalize on business development opportunities to improve socio-economic outcomes.

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Indigenous grants

Important dates

2024-25 ABIF application period opens May 15, 2024

Application period closes September 15, 2024

Overview

The Aboriginal Business Investment Fund (ABIF) can partially or completely fund capital costs for Indigenous community-owned economic development projects. Projects like these improve social and economic outcomes for Indigenous Peoples and their communities.

To get funding, projects should be close to starting operations or breaking ground within the funding year.

Applicants must demonstrate long-term effects that:

  • increase the number of Indigenous community-owned businesses
  • increase employment opportunities for Indigenous Peoples
  • create or increase local revenue streams for Indigenous communities
  • strengthen the economies of Indigenous communities

Indigenous Relations bases funding decisions on the results of a rigorous review process. A strong application has these elements:

  • demonstrated community support for the project that includes a formal Resolution and other supporting documentation
  • the potential for generating net economic benefit, like jobs and community revenue
  • demonstrated management capacity and business expertise on the project
  • demonstrated balance of own-source equity, commercial financing and grant funding
  • long-term viability of the proposed business opportunity
  • potential for the project to generate spin-off business opportunities

Funding

Aboriginal Business Investment Fund grants are a minimum of $150,000 to a maximum of $750,000 to support capital costs related to Indigenous community-owned economic development projects.

Grants can cover up to 100% of eligible costs, which can include equipment purchases and the construction or improvement of buildings and other infrastructure. An ABIF grant can be combined with other government and industry funding sources.

Funding for successful projects is determined by the requested amount, eligible costs and program budget. An application request may not receive the full funding requested, because funding is dependent on the number of applications received by the department.  

Note: It is suggested that the application request the minimum amount required to run the project successfully.   

Funding consideration will be determined by:

  • availability of funding
  • alignment to program priorities
  • ability of partners to make necessary financial contributions to the project through other means, such as grant funding from other programs

The amount of funding requested must be supported by the project activities detailed in the application.

Eligible applicants

Eligible ABIF applicants are Indigenous communities in Alberta or corporate entities owned by Indigenous communities located in Alberta:

  • Communities must own and control 51% or more of the proposed business or joint venture.
  • Corporate entities must be in good standing.
  • Applicants must be in compliance with the terms and conditions of any previous Indigenous Relations funding.

An Indigenous community may submit only one ABIF application in any given funding year.

Eligible and ineligible costs

The intent of the ABIF program is to invest in the capital elements of business initiatives. Please see the ABIF Application Guidelines for a list of eligible and ineligible costs. 

How to apply

Step 1. Read the guidelines

Refer to the ABIF Application Guidelines to learn the program’s terms and conditions.

Step 2. Complete your application package

The application package must include:

  1. ABIF Grant Application Form – Review the application carefully and fill it out by clearly defining the business and scope of work, including a detailed breakdown of:
    • estimated costs or funding sources
    • a reasonable timeline for carrying out project activities
    • project milestones
    • detailed business plan for ongoing operations
    • project plan if construction is required
  2. Comprehensive business plan – This is the major part of the application. You may provide your own business plan or complete this business plan template. Refer to the ABIF Application Guidelines for details of the content that needs to be included.
  3. Community support – All applicants must demonstrate organizational support for their project (for example, Band Council Resolution).
  4. Supporting documentation – Applicants should include any relevant documents that support the viability of the project, such as feasibility studies, permits, environmental assessments, letters of support, franchise agreements, partnership arrangements and commitments.

Step 3. Submit the application package

Important: Applicants must submit 1 electronic copy of the entire application package to [email protected].

After you apply

Grants will be given to projects that successfully pass an evaluation based on these factors: community benefits, management risk, industry risk and the financial risk associated with each project.

Evaluation takes place in 3 phases:

  1. A cross-ministry panel will review each application.
  2. Top-scoring projects that meet all the requirements and demonstrate the potential for financial viability will receive an in-depth assessment.
  3. Each applicant will be informed about the final funding decision. Applicants may ask for a debrief session to review the in-depth results of the evaluation process.

Reporting

Successful applicants will provide audited financial statements and a short narrative summary. The summary can include these details and more:

  • project significance to the community, and how the community plans to measure the business’ continued success
  • relevant statistics related to the project – for example, number of permanent jobs held by Indigenous people
  • general outcomes, challenges, successes
  • lessons learned

The Alberta government reserves the right to follow up with applicants to evaluate their project’s effectiveness, including discussions of best practices and progress.

Successful grant recipients

Visit the Aboriginal Business Investment Fund recipient page for information on recent ABIF grant recipients.

Contact

Connect with staff members to discuss economic and business development opportunities with representatives from Indigenous communities:

Hours: 8:15 am to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
Email: [email protected]