Indigenous community-owned businesses directly benefit their communities by creating jobs, generating revenue and strengthening their local economies. Alberta’s government is reducing barriers faced by these businesses by expanding ABIF to provide capital funding for eligible Indigenous business projects.
“We are proud of what we have accomplished through the Aboriginal Business Investment Fund. Our partnership has helped create hundreds of jobs, and we look forward to building on that success through this year’s budget increase.”
In Budget 2023, Alberta’s government is expanding ABIF by 50 per cent, to $7.5 million from $5 million per year. This equals a total investment of $23 million in Indigenous community-owned business initiatives over the next three years. Additionally, starting April 21, the grant program will accept applications on an ongoing basis to allow more flexibility for grant applicants, giving them more time to work with the Alberta government and improve their application submissions.
Increased funding to ABIF is an important step to keep pace with a growing number of applicants. Since 2014-2015, ABIF has consistently received more eligible applications than its funding could support, meaning some community-owned businesses were unable to secure funding. This funding increase will help more Indigenous community-owned businesses create jobs in their local areas, boosting their economy and building a better future.
“Alberta’s government is committed to partnering with Indigenous communities so that all Albertans can succeed, strengthen local economies and follow their dreams. This investment fund is an important example of how we are fostering collaboration between Indigenous people, industry and government to create jobs and strengthen the economy.”
Alberta’s government has heard from Indigenous communities that one of the most significant barriers they face when it comes to economic development is lack of access to capital funding from traditional financial institutions. ABIF changes that by providing opportunities for Indigenous community-owned businesses to apply for grants that will help drive their economy forward, create jobs and generate revenue for years to come.
“ABIF opened a great door of financial opportunity in that it reduced the amount of money needed from lenders to finance the business. In turn, this made the business attractive to the lenders because their risk was reduced. We are certainly thankful to the Government of Alberta for this funding and ongoing support for our business.”
One ABIF success story is Montana First Nation’s Green House Project, which benefited from an ABIF grant in 2022-23. It is now positioned to contribute to its local community, and the project created a total of 20 construction jobs and six permanent jobs within its community alone.
“Access to capital is vital for Indigenous Nations and communities to invest in rights, resources and build economies. Programs like the Alberta government's ABIF help facilitate growth. For financial sovereignty, we need equal access to the same tools others have."
Alberta’s government remains committed to reconciliation. Indigenous-led solutions that affect meaningful change will lead to a better future for all.
Budget 2023 secures Alberta’s future by transforming the health-care system to meet people’s needs, supporting Albertans with the high cost of living, keeping our communities safe and driving the economy with more jobs, quality education and continued diversification.
- Since 2020, ABIF has supported 35 projects that created 378 full-time positions and 254 full-time construction jobs for Indigenous people.
- Last year, Indigenous Relations supported 14 Indigenous community projects across the province in sectors from tourism to agriculture and construction to mining and extraction.
- Each ABIF grant provides between $150,000 and $750,000. Communities must own and control 51 per cent or more of the proposed project.
- This new funding includes $2 million which will be targeted to the Metis Settlements to help community-owned Métis businesses thrive.