Saskatchewan’s Métis economic development arm has signed a new funding agreement with the federal government enabling it to provide grants to businesses trying to get their feet off the ground.

SaskMétis Economic Development Corporation announced yesterday it has signed a $1.7 million agreement with Indian and Northern Affairs Canada.

SMEDCO CEO Greg Fofonoff says new Métis businesses sometimes have trouble securing the necessary financing to begin operations and this grant program will help with much needed equity.

“The Métis entrepreneur, Métis business owner, doesn’t necessarily have enough equity to attract loan financing,” he says. “So this additional program allows the business to have that ability to have that equity in the project and attract the additional financing required to either get that business started or expanded.”

Community owned businesses are eligible for up to a $250,000 grant while individually owned businesses can qualify for up to $100,000.

SMEDCO has been in existence since 1987.