Former prime minister Paul Martin was in Saskatoon Thursday to officially launch the Aboriginal Youth Entrepreneurship Program.

There are currently 17 schools in Saskatchewan involved in the program in which students create their own business case project and then test its viability.

The former prime minister says young Aboriginal people are fundamental to the future of Canada’s economy but they need encouragement to get involved.

“Kids are not going to go into business unless somebody opens the doors and says this is what business is all about and, in my view, this is very much about opportunity,” he says.

Martin adds he hopes the program encourages young Indigenous people to pursue their dreams while contributing to the Canadian economy at the same time.

Partners involved in the program include the Martin Aboriginal Education Initiative, Saskatchewan School Boards Association and Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan.

The launch event was held at Oskayak High School.