Frank Parnell, the CEO of TRICORP, and Brent Mainprize, the ACE program director, announced the program will receive $1 million from BMO Financial Group. (UVic Photo Services)

$1 million to expand Indigenous entrepreneur program

Aboriginal Canadian Entrepreneurs Program, dreamed up in northwest B.C., to grow nationally

This month alone, 22 students in northwest B.C. will be graduating from the Northwest Aboriginal Canadian Entrepreneurs Program (ACE) — a program that recently received $1 million to expand nationwide.

It’s the first time the six-month program has been offered in the Nass, where 19 students have taken classes on topics ranging from law and marketing to organizational behaviour and then mentored by an expert in their business field. For the 13 students from Terrace, it’s the second time ACE has been offered in their city.

“We’ve offered it in Prince Rupert I can’t even remember how many time now,” said Cory Stephens, the program manager in the northwest.

After five years, the program has 275 graduates from 26 Indigenous communities in B.C. Approximately 72 businesses have been started by people who have graduated from regional ACE programs.

“It’s not only an entrepreneurship program. It really changes the way graduates visualize and see opportunity,” Stephens said. “It positively affects our graduates in all aspects of their lives once they move forward. A very common thing our students say once they’ve completed the program is they see the world in a different way.”

READ MORE: Six Rupertites awarded Irving K. Barber Aboriginal scholarships

On April 3, University of Victoria announced BMO Financial Group is giving the ACE Program $1 million to expand.

One of the first additions will be the ACE Artists program in Victoria, which will be launched within the month. Expansions are in the works for northern B.C., such as in Bella Bella, and across Canada.

Stephens said there will be a strong focus on the north, specifically, “because that’s where the program started and where we’ve been the strongest.”

Dreamed up by Frank Parnell, the CEO of the Tribal Resources Investment Corporation (TRICORP), the program is designed to bring university-level education to the north with professors from the University of Victoria’s Gustavson School of Business.

Business plan writing coaches and mentors from the north, Stephens said, offer vital local knowledge of what it takes to run a successful business in the north.

Stephens will soon begin recruiting for the next session of the program, starting mid-May in Prince Rupert. Interested people can apply at www.iamace.ca.

READ MORE: Indigenous stewards of the land, river and sea



keili.bartlett@thenorthernview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Trio of Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock events planned for Port Alberni

Cancer Society volunteers work behind the scenes to fundraise for tour

Man rescued from cliff on Harbour Road in Port Alberni

Fire department uses new equipment in rope rescue

Alberni Valley firefighters head to Fort St. James to assist with B.C. wildfires

‘We need to make sure first and foremost our community is protected’: Gilday

City of Port Alberni agrees to three-year extension of track surface

Bob Dailey Stadium track has experienced ‘degradation and tears’ since resurfacing in 2013

Happy birthday Boler: An anniversary gathering of the cutest campers in Winnipeg

Hundreds of the unique trailers in Winnipeg to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Manitoba invention

Tim Hortons says its China expansion will include menu with congee, matcha

Coffee chain plans to open 1,500 stores in Asia over the next decade

How to help B.C. wildfire victims

Donations being taken by many organizations, BC Hydro waiving bills

Whole city of Kimberley on an evacuation alert due to wildfires

Residents woke up Friday morning being told to get ready to leave any moment

Feds to allow charities to engage in political, but not partisan, activity

The plan is to allow charities to pursue political activities

Trump suggests Canada has been sidelined from latest NAFTA negotiations

Canadian officials have insisted they’re unfazed by being left out of the discussions

B.C. judge who cried during a victim statement to rule on recusing herself

The judge will decide if she’ll disqualify herself from sentencing a man for sexual assault

Photographer files complaint with police after alleged assault on the job

Toronto photographer says he was attacked while covering a protest

Publication ban lifted on details about Fredericton shooting that killed 4

Judge lifts publication ban on court documents related to the Fredericton shooting

Most Read