Important dates

The call for 2021-22 ABIF applications is closed.

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 fiscal year following funding.

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 competitive 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

ABIF provides between $150,000 and $500,000 to support an Indigenous community-owned economic development project. That could be up to 100% of eligible project costs. An ABIF grant can be stacked with other government and industry funding sources.

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 costs

The intent of the ABIF program is to invest in the capital elements of business initiatives.

Capital costs are associated with getting, building or improving significant fixed assets like buildings, equipment and other tangible assets. They must be of use or benefit for more than one financial year.

Ineligible costs

The following costs are not eligible for ABIF funding:

  • projects that result in passive business income streams
    • these sources received from time to time and often with no material or active participation (for example, projects that generate income from rent, royalties, dividends and capital gains)
  • goodwill
  • payments for services that would normally be provided without charge, like honoraria for a community service
  • operation, repair and maintenance costs
  • infrastructure costs financed by or eligible for funding from other government sources (for example, roads, rails and utility services)
  • training and economic development services
  • expenditures not related to economic development
  • expenditures not related to the approved project
  • costs already expended on a project

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

PDF form issues

Fillable PDF forms do not open properly on some mobile devices and web browsers. To fill in and save the form:

  1. Save the PDF form to your computer – click or right-click the link and download the form.
  2. Open the PDF form with Adobe Reader. Fill it in and save it.

The application package includes:

  1. ABIF Grant Application Form (PDF, 115 KB) – 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. Please refer 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.
  4. Supporting documentation that shows partnerships.

Step 3. Submit the application package

Applicants must submit one electronic copy of the entire application package to [email protected] before intake closes.

After you apply

Grants will be given to those projects that successfully pass a competitive evaluation process based on these factors: community benefits, management risk, industry risk and the financial risk for each application.

Evaluation takes place in 2 phases:

  1. A cross-ministry panel of up to 3 members will review each application independently.
  2. The panel will move the top-scoring projects that meet all the requirements and demonstrate the potential for financial viability to an in-depth assessment.

Staff will inform each applicant about the 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 of the
  • relevant capacity statistics
  • general outcomes, challenges, successes
  • lessons learned

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

Successful grant recipients 2020-21

See the document below for information on the successful grant recipients in 2020-21.

Contact

Staff are available to discuss economic and business development opportunities with Indigenous community representatives.

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

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