Miigwetch to all our members!

It’s been an unusual and turbulent year, and the board of the Anishnawbe Business Professional Association hope you and your families and businesses are staying strong at this time. 

When we set out to begin this organization in March of 2019, we knew it was ambitious. We also knew that Indigenous businesses were launching at nine times the Canadian average.  In Northern Ontario, there is an incredible variety of First Nations owners, operators, artisans, and other professionals that are a force to be reckoned with, and I am humbled and honoured at the progress we’ve made in our first year, despite the challenges added with a global pandemic and worldwide economic slowdown. 

This time last year, we were preparing for our first major event, the Anishnawbe Business Match: Ontario North, which successfully brought First Nation decision makers and industry from across Canada together for partnership development in a speed dating like environment. We went on to co-host other events such as the all-candidate forum for the Thunder Bay Superior North and Rainy River districts in the fall of 2019; planned and hosted another full scale networking and conference event, Pathways to Indigenous Prosperity in November of 2019, debuted the first of our web series Roots in Resilience; gained many new members, and put together a board of dedicated and professional community and industry leaders to help guide our future. 

We are also very proud of the advocacy work that we have been doing on a provincial and national level to highlight the needs of all businesses operating in Northern Ontario.  These lobbying efforts produced tremendous results in early 2020 as the federal government announced $306 million for indigenous businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic and later amending eligibility criteria to include First Nations development corporations and community owned businesses. 

We look forward to continuing to serve, represent, and advocate for our First Nations owners, operators, contractors, partnerships, organizations, and communities. 




“Whether you need funding to start or grow your business, support to build community capacity or professional business advice, NADF has the tools to help you succeed.”


Nishnawbe Aski Development Fund (NADF) was one of the first Anishnawbe Business Members of the Anishinawbe Business Professional Association, and Executive Director Brian Davey is a member of the ABPA Board of Directors.

NADF is a non-profit Aboriginal Financing Institution established by a Nishnawbe Aski Nation Chief’s Resolution in 1984. Their first office opened in Fort William First Nation in 1987, and since that time NADF has grown to support both on and off-reserve members of 89 First Nations across Nishnawbe Aski Nation, Grand Treaty Council Three, and Robinson-Superior 1850. In addition to their member communities, NADF offers assistance to all Indigenous entrepreneurs and wholly-owned or majority-owned Indigenous businesses operating in Northern Ontario.

NADF support includes financing, business support, workshops, training, and resource sector support services to Aboriginal businesses and entrepreneurs who want to establish, expand or acquire a business in remote, rural and urban communities in Northern Ontario.

Check out NADF using the button below for more detailed information about their services, workshops, assistance with COVID-19 related funding, and how to get in touch with an NADF professional to help you start, grow, or support your business.


"TBT Engineering will constantly strive to go the extra mile every day - to do things right for our clients, our employees, and the communities in which we all live, work and play."


TBT Engineering Limited (TBTE) is Northwestern Ontario’s largest independently owned multi-disciplinary engineering consulting firm, and became an Associate Business Member of the ABPA in August of 2019.

TBTE is an employee-owned company that was originally established in Thunder Bay in 1969, and now employs over 130 full time professional and technical staff, with 70 additional seasonal and contract staff serving public and private clients across a diverse range of industries and sectors. TBTE works in conjunction with their stakeholders to expertly investigate, test, plan, design and manage projects across Northern Ontario, in the primary sectors of Infrastructure, Mining, Energy, Transportation, First Nations, Government and General Public with commercial services through 16 complimentary divisions.

TBTE is a strong advocate for Indigenous and First Nation Community participation, and commercially engages with Indigenous businesses and organizations through informal collaborations, as well as formal Memorandums Of Understanding (MOU), Joint Ventures (JV), Participation Agreements and full Partnerships.

Do you have a project or partnership inquiry in the region? See for more details about how TBTE can work with your business or organization.


Is There Funding to Help Your Business? 

On April 18th, 2020, the government of Canada announced 306.8 million dollars in funding for short-term, interest-free loans and non-repayable contributions through Aboriginal Financial Institutions, including NADF, which offer financing and business support services to First Nations, Inuit, and Métis businesses. 

COVID-19 has affected businesses and the economy worldwide, and Indigenous business owners have faced additional challenges to accessing traditional forms of financing that have been made available provincially and federally. That’s why we worked with our Member Nishnawbe Aski Development Fund (NADF) and speaker Brian Davey to create our first webinar, Our Fair Share: Helping Indigenous Business in Northern Ontario Access Covid-19 Relief Funds. If you weren’t able to participate in the webinar, see the info below for relief funds that may be available to you.


 Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy. If you have employees, or are an incorporated business paying yourself as an employee through payroll, you may be eligible for up to  a 75% reimbursement from March 15, 2020 up to twelve weeks. Eligibility details and applications  are available through Service Canada and the CRA.  CEWS is restricted to payroll, and must be administered through a CRA registered payroll account.


Canada Emergency Business Account. This is available through major financial institutions (RBC, TD, Scotiabank, CIBC, and BMO have provided statements about CEBA) and is a loan of up to $40,000.00 to small business and not-for-profits. If 75% of the loan is repaid by December 31st, 2022, 25% (up to $10,000.00) of the loan is forgiven. CEBA is restricted to non-deferrable operating  costs such as rent, payroll, utilities, scheduled debt repayment, insurance, etc – it cannot be used to give raises, bonuses, dividends, or refinance/pay off existing debt.


 Regional Relief Recovery Fund. The RRRF aims to fill gaps left by other funding sources to businesses (sole proprietor, corporations, co-operatives), and is administered by FedNor. Application information and eligibility is available through FedNor, and is limited to businesses that have have received no other support, or who have received CEWS only.

Support for indigenous businesses

 This new funding will be administered through Aboriginal Financing Institutions. There are 59 throughout Canada, and Nishnawbe Aski Development Fund (NADF) is located in the immediate region. Rainy Lake Tribal Area Business & Financial Services Corporation operates out of Fort Frances, and  Wakenagun Community Futures Development Corporation operates out of Moose Factory. Eligibility and application details will be available through the AFI’s as they are implemented. There is a helpful FAQ sheet available from the National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association (NACCA) found here:

We want to note that this is an ongoing situation, and new funding and new solutions are happening regularly. There may be funding we have omitted, and some funding details may have changed since this information was collected. We recommend you talk to an accountant, financial advisor, Service Ontario, Service Canada, or Aboriginal Financing Institution to know all your options and eligibility fully to get the support that’s right for you and your business. 


Due to the current circumstances of COVID-19, many in-person gatherings are simply not possible right now, especially those on a larger scale. 

Thankfully, emerging and improving technologies have allowed businesses and organizations to adapt much of their communication to remote platforms that allow for video streaming, multi-person chat, and  real-time responses via polling software or other metrics. The ABPA has already had some success with virtual event hosting in our recent Roots of Diversity Webinar, and we looking into how these platforms can be adapted to a virtual Annual General Meeting with our members and associates. 

Our AGM is currently in the planning phase, and our tentatively scheduling will be to hold the event in August or September of 2020, but will of course be subject to any further changes in the existing COVID-19 restrictions and precautions. 

Stay safe, stay healthy, and keep an eye on your inbox for more detailed information as it comes. We hope this event will be another milestone for the ABPA after a successful first year.

Benefits of your membership

We provide information sessions and networking events targeting relevant topics and projects for business expansion in Northern Ontario.

We develop best practices for major First Nations development projects and non-First Nations businesses related to procurement policies and human resource polices focused on inclusion.

Members will be the first to know about special discounts on all events and access to new programs for doing business in Northern Ontario

Members will have better access to economic buyers and key decision makers in Northern Ontario through our business directory and special events and conferences.

finding a silver lining

what our members have learned during a pandemic

The recommendations and restrictions in place due to COVID-19 have affected many businesses and organizations.  In all sectors and of all sizes, businesses have struggled to adapt to a rapid and unforeseen change of circumstances that has shifted the essentials of business interactions that many of us have taken for granted. We reached out to a sample of our members to ask how their businesses have changed during this time, and if any of those changes might now be part of their businesses’ future. 

Here are some words from your fellow ABPA members about how they handled the past few months (responses may have been edited for clarity or brevity): 

what's important to you?

Are there topics or areas of interest that you want to learn more about?

Are there topics or areas of interest that you want to learn more about?

What do you want to see from your ABPA membership?

We try to keep an ear to the ground, but Indigenous enterprise is a thriving, growing economy, and there’s always new voices to hear and new faces to see.

If there is something or someone you would want to see in a seminar, workshop, or networking event, we invite you to get in touch. Feel welcome to pitch us a topic, nominate a speaker, or simply tell us what’s important to you. 

Ingaged Creative Productions is a mission-driven, Indigenous-owned integrated marketing, events, and communications firm. We are committed to resilient, community-led solutions that generate positive, measurable change. From initial planning through to implementation, we deliver multimedia content, usage strategies, and project and event management that will inspire your audiences to act. Whether you’re a large regional non-profit looking to synthesize and distribute a technical report, or a sole artist looking to market their creations online, Ingaged is here to help. We can give you the tools to not only help your business grow, but guide it’s future.

  • Custom Brand Creation
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Contact Ingaged today for a free quote to suit your business and your budget. 

Preferred rates available to ABPA Members. | 807-787-0555 | @ingagetheworld

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Ch-Miigwetch for your support for Indigenous Business!