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Indigenous Growth Fund makes initial investment of $ 10 million, Canadian Business Journal

Ottawa, March 7, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — IGF Inc. announces its first $ 10 million portfolio investment in the Indigenous Growth Fund. The $ 150 million Indigenous Growth Fund, managed by the National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association, is provided by Aboriginal financial institutions across the country. The IGF first funded the Nuu-chah-nulth Economic Development Corporation (NEDC), an Aboriginal financial institution (AFI) on Vancouver Island, and provided financing to indigenous SMEs.

Jean Vincent is Chairman of the Board of IGF Inc. “Indigenous businesses are hungry for capital,” he says. “And many of our business owners have great potential, which has forced our network to create an IGF.” The initial investor in the fund was Canada’s Industrial Development Bank, Canada. Government, Canada’s Export Development Bank, and Canada’s Farm Credits.

I also agree with Al Little, General Manager of NEDC. “There are many opportunities throughout the island,” says Al. Founded in 1984 by the 14 Nuu-chah tribes, NEDC is one of the most active members of the Aboriginal financial institution network. With additional capital from the IGF, NEDC will be able to fund small business clients while at the same time servicing First Nations clients with much larger capital needs.

“In our case, we are building a facility,” says Ay Lelum’s sister Sophia and co-owner Aunalee Boyd-Good, hul’q’nmi’num in “Good House.” Ay Lelum’s fashion design business in Snuneymuxw First Nation is now run in a family home. “This building will be an absolute game changer for us,” says Aunalee. “It’s a space where our family can create, manufacture, welcome customers, do all the workshops, fittings, etc.” The business has been successful for years, but the sisters have the business in reserve. Therefore, I realized that it was impossible to raise funds from traditional lenders.

NEDC repeater Lyndsey Bell owns Bigfoot Donuts in Courtney, Vancouver Island. She and her co-owner’s husband are also using their loan to buy new space. Their business is the food service industry, which lenders consider to be high risk. Lindsey, a former banker with a degree in finance and indigenous studies, knows that despite the great success of the business, traditional lenders did not provide loans. Banks require personal property (usually a home) as collateral to cover business loans such as Bigfoot Donuts. In contrast, NEDC “is completely on my side and made this possible.”

The same is true for the HFN Group of Businesses, the business unit of Huu-ay-aht First Nations. Whether it’s tourism and hospitality, retail, forestry, construction or gravel projects, CEO Patrick Schmidt states that NEDC is their lender of choice. First Nations’ latest venture, which has been self-governing since 2011, is oyster sowing, a collaborative project with local Banfield experts.

“Currently, we have about 1 million oysters in the water. We need 3 million oysters next year. We plan to raise up to 10 million oysters the following year,” says Patrick. The new business aims to produce high quality seafood as efficiently as possible and ultimately export it to the world. NEDC offers a number of credits to help fine-tune and scale up the production process. “It would be really difficult to reach out to traditional lenders,” says Patrick. “In the case of NEDC, I was able to take the lender to the farm and walk around each step of the production process and business model over the course of a day.”

What allows NEDC to accept clients that other lenders do not? Like all Aboriginal financial institutions, NEDC is obliged to provide development financing, especially to indigenous companies. Use your knowledge of the region and individual entrepreneurs to assess the risk of your project. “We are like a mixture of different things,” says Al. “We are not operating as a bank. We are not ready to compete with banks. But many practices may be similar.” And their default rate speaks to their success. I am. “The default rate for First Nations itself over 30 years is zero,” says Al. “We haven’t lost a penny.”

Plus: IGF is managed nationally by NACCA, the same indigenous-led organization founded in 1997 to represent Aboriginal financial institutions. NACCA also understands the unique nature and value of indigenous businesses. As the IGF is currently investing in AFIs across the country, more indigenous companies will get the capital they need to achieve their vision.

As for Vancouver Island, there are already benefits. Bigfoot Donuts plans to double its current six staff and expand its delicious food to the Comox Valley. As the number of oysters grows, the venture plans to consistently add more positions to its current six staff. Patrick says the HFN Group of Businesses wants to create a “career of certain abilities” for graduates of local university aquaculture programs, not just job creation. Ay Lelum is a source of pride in the Snuneymuxw community. With full support from First Nations, the sisters feature Coast Salish stories and local models to showcase their fashion. “We are there in a beautiful way to move our culture forward and show that our culture is very alive,” says co-owner Sophia Seward Goode. “It’s really a miracle to show what we’re doing.”

About the Indigenous Peoples Growth Fund

The Indigenous Growth Fund (IGF) is a new $ 150 million investment fund under the control of the National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association (NACCA) to invest in the long-held capital of indigenous small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Provides access. I asked for it and it was missing. Indigenous entrepreneurs in all industries will be able to access the fund through business loans from a network of Aboriginal financial institutions (AFIs) nationwide.

The main investment in the IGF comes from the Government of Canada and the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), with further commitment by the Canadian Export Development Bank (EDC) and the Canadian Farm Credit Bank (FCC). This structure relies on AFI’s ability to deploy capital based on its own understanding and connection to the communities in which it serves.

For more information on the Indigenous Growth Fund, please visit the https: //nacca.ca/igf/ web page.

Media contacts
Sarah McNeill
Partnership and operations
Indigenous Growth Fund
613-688-0894 x 511
smacneil@nacca.ca

Photos accompanying this announcement are available at https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/a16fc205-4da6-4800-bcea-28948f672a57.


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Indigenous Growth Fund makes initial investment of $ 10 million, Canadian Business Journal

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