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Paper Excellence donates $50,000 to Indigenous women entrepreneurial program

Canadian Council of Aboriginal Business calls the move ‘step toward reconciliation’
Crofton mill production was due to resume Nov. 24 from a two-week curtailment. (File photo by Don Bodger)

Paper Excellence celebrated International Women’s Day on March 8 with a $50,000 donation to a fund that supports Indigenous women in Canada.

The Indigenous Women Entrepreneurship Fund (IWEF) provides grants to Indigenous women-owned businesses who may lack access to conventional financing. For a business to qualify for the program, it must be at least 51 percent owned and controlled by an Indigenous (First Nations, Métis or Inuit) woman and be registered in Canada. The Canadian Council of Aboriginal Business operates the IWEF.

“Paper Excellence is focused on building beneficial business partnerships and supporting community investment with initiatives that focus on business capacity, education, health and culture, and sustainability projects,” said Graham Kissack, the vice president of Paper Excellence’s Environment, Health & Safety, and Corporate Communications office.

“Thanks to the recent research (Oct 2021) carried out by our partners at CCAB, we know that Indigenous women entrepreneurs across Canada have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, and we see stepping up and supporting these economic initiatives as one way to live out our Commitment to Indigenous Peoples.”

This commitment is a business philosophy Paper Excellence has adopted and includes acknowledgment of Indigenous rights, respect of the calls to action of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, creation of an Indigenous relations policy as well as the formation of partnerships with First Nations in the territories in which the company does business.

A CCAB representative called the $50,000 donation a step toward reconciliation.

“We are grateful to Paper Excellence for their support and commitment to Indigenous women in business through an investment in the IWEF program,” said CCAB president and CEO, Tabatha Bull.

Successful applicants of the IWEF receive a Certified Aboriginal Business membership during the first year of their grant that allows the business to participate in the Aboriginal Procurement Marketplace as well as networking events.