The Third Annual Saskatchewan First Nations Economic Development Network Forum wrapped up Friday afternoon.
The two-day forum took place at the Dakota Dunes Casino, just outside Saskatoon.
Affinity Credit Union First Nations Business Development Manager Chris Sicotte says the forum provides an excellent opportunity for Indigenous entrepreneurs to touch base on what works in getting a business going and what doesn’t.
“One of the things that is really key with these workshops that I’ve been to is learning best practices, as well, especially with some First Nations that are maybe entering into some significant economic development projects,” he says. “They can kind of learn from examples of other communities what’s gone well, what hasn’t gone well and they can learn form that.”
Sicotte adds one of the most challenging things for an Indigenous start-up business can be getting access to the necessary capital.
“I’ve had a chance to take a look at a number of business plans from First Nations across Saskatchewan, in fact from across Canada in my previous job roles that I was in before, and usually they’re well written, well executed – the problem is normally access to capital and/or getting the financing approved.”
He also says one of the obstacles Aboriginal start-up businesses need to overcome is being open to taking on financial partners.
Muskowekwan First Nations Chief Reg Bellerose and Robert Morin of Enoch Casino were the keynote speakers in the afternoon.
About 200 delegates took in the two-day forum.