From helping a paintball business get off the ground to paying airfare for a dozen different organizations to attend the 2003 Meet the North conference in Edmonton, the fund paid out $1,148,537 during the last fiscal year.
Resources, Wildlife and Economic Development (RWED) says the fund is designed to stimulate employment and economic development within the NWT. A report on the fund's 2003 activities was tabled in the Legislative Assembly two weeks ago.
People can apply under several different criteria: to help with pre-establishment or pre-expansion costs; pilot and demonstration projects; expansion and development of trade; increase sales of NWT products; business training; overcome financial difficulties; community initiatives; and to assist young entrepreneurs aged 18-29.
Out of the 169 applications submitted, 137 were approved.
At least one MLA wondered how the fund truly works to help foster economic growth in the territory.
"There's a lot of them a guy could question," said Kam Lake MLA Dave Ramsay.
"They're definitely debatable whether they fit the criteria."
Many of the grants went to municipalities -- some to fund community events, others to send delegates to various business conferences.
Fort Smith received $5,000 to help stage the 2003 South Slave Friendship Festival.
The Town of Hay River got $2,250 to send two delegates to the Meet the North Conference in Edmonton. A lot of people got money to go there -- at least $23,247 worth.
A few applicants had their airfare funding requests rolled into several different conferences.
Denendeh Development Corporation got $32,500 to assist with costs to attend five different trade shows. That doesn't include a $20,000 grant to help with the creation of a master business plan for a company called Denedeh K'ezhe Ltd.
$20,000 to Yellowknife
The City of Yellowknife -- a tax-based entity with revenues in excess of $38 million -- received $20,000 to help hire a "special events co-ordinator," to write a report on the best way to boost economic development through Yellowknife community events.
Yellowknife Mayor Gord Van Tighem insists it was money well-spent.
"Our whole economic development department came out of RWED at one point in time, and they've been reducing that amount ever since," said Van Tighem.
Companies not found
NWT News/North attempted to locate a number of the more interestingly-named recipients, but without much luck.
Dead Bunny Productions received $10,000 to assist with business start-up. Its Yellowknife shareholders, Jennifer and Richard Walsh, couldn't be found in the phone book. The 2003 phone book has a listing for Richard Walsh but that number is no longer in service, and has been removed from the current directory.
There is no listing for Special "T" Services or for its owner, former Tuktoyaktuk mayor Eddie Dillon.
His company received $12,951 total to help purchase and install a new sewage holding tank, and "provide emergency relief to repair plumbing damages incurred during the recent extreme cold weather."
Dennis Bevington of Fort Smith -- who came within a hair of becoming Western Arctic MP during this year's federal election -- also got some help. Bevington and his business partner received $1,293 to help participate in Environment Canada's trade mission to the Netherlands.
His wife Joan got $10,000 to start Joan's Health and Fitness Club in Fort Smith. So far, no phone number can be found for that club. Neither could be reached for comment.
RWED Minister Brendan Bell said the department does its best to ensure those who apply and receive money genuinely deserve it.
"Obviously, that's why we report these things" said Bell.
"So if people have any concerns about the submissions from successful applicants, it's transparent and you can see who did receive money."
Regardless, he said the department -- while keeping an eye to the government's commitment to reduce costs -- is talking about moving further out of the grant-giving business.
"There is an argument being made that we need to be less about the grant business and more about the loan business," he said.
"That's something that might have merit."
2003 Business Development Fund recipients
* 4947 NWT Ltd. (Fort Smith Metis)/Fort Smith: Assist with feasibility of establishing a furniture manufacturing facility in Fort Smith. Ken Hudson -- $6,750
* 4969 N.W.T. Ltd./Enterprise: Assist with marketing costs of polar walls. Allan Flamand/Rhonda Flamand -- $10,000
* 892622 NWT Ltd (o/a Taiga Tour Company)/Fort Smith: Assist with a recovery plan for the business. Ann Burke/Clayton Burke -- $4,254
* Akaitcho Regional Investment Corporation/Yellowknife: Assist with costs for venture development. Denesoline Corporation/Deninu K'ue Corporation/Denton Cho Corporation -- $20,000
* Aklavik Business Corporation Ltd./Aklavik: Assist with costs of purchasing a computer for Bessie's Boarding House. Registered Inuvialuit Beneficiaries -- $1,480
* Alcantara Outfitting Ltd./Fort Smith: Assist with paying accounting fees and outstanding payables. Charlie Bourque/Fran Bourque -- $10,000
* Alcantara Outfitting Ltd./Fort Smith: To expand tourist outfitting business. Charlie Bourque/Fran Bourque -- $10,000
* Alphonsine Interpreting & Translating/Fort Good Hope: Purchase module for interpreting equipment, headsets and computer. Alphonsine McNeely -- $5,000
* Anmar Addiction Services/Hay River: To assist with costs in promoting a counselling service business. Anne Marie McGuire-Smith -- $2,700
* Antoine, Wally/Wrigley: Purchase carpentry tools for business start-up. Wally Antoine -- $2,450
* Arctic Hills Tour Company/Holman: Assist with cost to purchase equipment for business. Louie Nigiyok -- $9,656
* Arctic Wings Ltd./Inuvik: Assist with accounting services for the financial wind down of Arctic Wings Ltd. Karl Falsenes/Olaf Falsenes -- $14,900
* Artistic Expression, NT/Yellowknife: Assist with business start-up. Bonny Madsen -- $978
* Artists of South Slavey Society (The)/Fort Smith: Assist in participating in the second Annual Yukon Boyer's Show in Whitehorse, Yukon. Members -- $2,500
* Artists of South Slavey Society (The)/Fort Smith: Assist with costs associated with co-ordinating and delivery of the Summer Festival Workshop series in Fort Smith. Members -- $5,000
* Aurora College, Aurora Research Institute/Inuvik: Assist with cost for a feasibility study for a Deline Knowledge Centre. Members -- $15,000
* Beaver Enterprises (Construction) Ltd./Fort Liard: Assist with cost to attend the Far North Oil and Gas conference. Acho Dene Koe (Band) -- $5,000
* Behdzi Ahda First Nation/Colville Lake: To assist with cost to remediate fire code violations for the Colville Lake Bed and Breakfast. Members -- $12,492
* Bekere Lake Lodge Ltd./Inuvik: Assist with cost of transporting materials to lodge and complete renovations on staff house. Jonah Nakimayak/Gary Reidford -- $6,500
* Benoit, France/Yellowknife: Assist with marketing and development cost for the film Alicia's Story. France Benoit -- $5,000
* Betsaka, Jim/Nahanni Butte: Purchase tools and assist with cost to repair vehicle for business. Jim Betsaka -- $8,235
* Black Mountain Development Corporation/Aklavik: To develop a business plan for future expansions of the band office, including space for the post office and a new store. Community of Aklavik -- $10,200
* Canadian North/Yellowknife: Prepare a comprehensive proposal to the Business Credit Corporation for a working capital loan. Members -- $7,688
* CB's Truck Stop/Enterprise: Assist with the costs of accounting fees, set-up and training for restaurant business. Jessica Kimble/Cathy Kimble --$3,150
* City of Yellowknife/Yellowknife: Assist with cost for special events co-ordinator. Community of Yellowknife --$20,000
* Concept Consulting Ltd./Hay River: Assist with cost to purchase a trade show display. Pierre Simpson -- $4,200
* Corvus Production/Fort Simpson: Assist with cost to purchase digital photographic equipment. Tracy Kovalench -- $5,000
* D.D.A. Northern Safety Services Ltd./Hay River Reserve: Assist with cost for marketing campaign to promote the business in Hay River.Doug Cardinal -- $3,500
* Dead Bunny Productions/Yellowknife: Assist with business start-up cost. Jennifer Walsh/Richard Walsh -- $10,000
* Dechi Laoti First Nations/Wekweti: Assist with construction of the winter lake portage. Members -- $9,991
* Deh Gah Got'ie Dene Council/First Nation/Fort Providence: Assist with cost to send four delegates to attend the Far North Oil and Gas conference being held in Calgary. Members -- $2,000
* Deline Dene Band Council/Deline: Assist with cost for a business feasibility study for a Deline Knowledge Centre. Members -- $15,000
* Delta Flowers & Crafts/Inuvik: Assist with cost for professional service and training to identify problem areas of business operation. Rose Ann Snow -- $702
* Delta Flowers & Crafts/Inuvik: To provide short-term relief for accounts payable. Rose Ann Snow -- $8,470
* Dene Cultural Institute/Hay River Reserve: Assist with cost to attend a proposal writing workshop in Yellowknife, NT. Members -- $512
* Denendeh Development Corporation/Yellowknife: Assist with the cost for the creation of a Master Business Plan for the Denedeh K'ezhe Limited. Members -- $20,000
* Denendeh Development Corporation/Yellowknife: To assist with the cost to attend five trade shows/conferences, PDAC, Meet the North, AFN-Nexus, CANDO, NITA resource show and cost of promotional materials. Members -- $32,500
* Denesoline Corporation Ltd./Lutsel K'e: Assist with business skills training by attending the finance training program in Yellowknife. Members -- $1,939
* Denesoline Corporation Ltd./Lutsel K'e: Assist with cost to send two delegates to the Meet the North conference in Edmonton. Members -- $2,054
* Denesoline Corporation Ltd./Lutsel K'e: Assist with cost to attend the Cando Conference in Whitehorse, Yukon. Members -- $790
* Deninu K'ue Development Corporation Ltd./Fort Resolution: Assist in sending a delegation to tour sawmill operations in Northern Alberta to aid in the planning and development of a local portable sawmill. Members -- $4,498
* Deninu K'ue Development Corporation Ltd./Fort Resolution: To determine the feasibility of establishing a sawmill facility in Fort Resolution. Members -- $18,000
* Deninu K'ue Development Corporation Ltd./Fort Resolution: Assist with sending two delegates to the CANDO 2003 Conference in Whitehorse, Yukon. Members -- $1,836
* Deninu K'ue First Nation / Fort Resolution: To assist with costs associated with sending two delegates to the Meet the North conference in Edmonton, Alberta. Community of Fort Resolution -- $2,853
* Deninu K'ue First Nation / Fort Resolution: Assist with a community development project brushing the Traditional Rocher River Trail. Community of Fort Resolution -- $15,000
* Duntra, Richard (o/a R & D Trucking)/Fort Liard: Assist with purchase of a water truck. Richard Duntra -- $25,000
* Edge Events/Inuvik: Assist with business start-up cost. Danielle Nason -- $1,120
* Enterprise Settlement Council/ Enterprise: Assist with cost associated with hosting the 2003 Gateway Jamboree in Enterprise. Members -- $2,500
* Enterprise Settlement Council/ Enterprise: Assist with costs associated with sending two delegates to attend the Meet the North conference in Edmonton. Members -- $2,350
* Fabian, Georgina/Hay River Reserve: Assist with marketing cost. Georgina Fabian -- $1,330
* Final Touch Esthetics Salon/Fort Smith: To expand an aesthetics salon. Jamie Therrien -- $6,000
* Firth, Ernest D. (o/a E. Firth Contracting)/Fort McPherson: Purchase radio equipment, insurance, repairs and provide one month operating capital for business. Ernest Firth -- $10,898
* Flash Point Facilitators Ltd./Fort Providence: To expand a multimedia business in Fort Providence. Richard C. Lafferty -- $11,090
* Foliot, Anthony (o/a Snow King Winter Festival/Yellowknife: Assist with cost for the Snow King Winter Festival. Anthony Foliot -- $5,000
* Fort Providence Metis Council/ Fort Providence: Assist with costs associated with holding a Career Symposium in Hay River. Members -- $10,000
* Fort Providence Metis Council/ Fort Providence: To send two delegates from the community of Fort Providence to the Meet the North conference in Edmonton. Members -- $2,148
* Fort Providence Metis Council/ Fort Providence: To hire a consultant to assist in negotiations of a possible housing investment as well as to seek, identify and pursue potential business ventures." Members -- $19,500
* Fort Simpson Chamber of Commerce/ Fort Simpson: Assist with cost to attend the Far North Oil and Gas forum. Members -- $3,785
* Fort Smith Ski Club/Fort Smith: Assist with costs associated with hosting the Western Canada cross-country ski championships. Members -- $5,000
* Giroux, David/ Dettah: Assist with cost for the preparation of a business plan. David Giroux -- $5,000
* Gordon, Paul/ Yellowknife: Assist with travel cost to attend the international television festival in Banff, Alberta. Paul Gordon -- $3,000
* Great Northern Arts Festival Society/Inuvik: Provide assistance to the Great Northern Arts Festival to organize and host the annual Inuvik Arts and Crafts fair. Members -- $8,384
* Greenlight Marketing Services/ Yellowknife: Assist with cost on marketing. James Pugsley -- $2,500
* Grossetete, Floyd/ Fort Simpson: Assist with the cost to purchase tools and equipment to establish a carving workshop building. Floyd Grossetete -- $9,000
* Hay River Chamber of Commerce/ Hay River: Assist with costs of hosting the Great Northwest Trade Show and producing a chamber promotional brochure package. Members -- $13,934
* Hay River Hotel (1998) Ltd./ Hay River: Assist with paying outstanding accounting fees. Garth Mackie/Brent Mackie/Duane Mackie -- $9,000
* Hay River Jet Boat Society/Hay River: Assist with advanced marketing and advertising costs. Members -- $5,000
* Hay River Snowcross Race Committee/ Hay River: To defray the costs associated with hosting a major snowmobile event in the Town of Hay River. Members -- $5,000
* Hotel Tuk Inn/ Tuktoyaktuk: Assist with the fees in hiring an accounting firm to conduct a review of the company's finances. Norma Voudrach/Paul Voudrach/Roy Voudrach -- $13,000
* Inuvialuit Community Economic Development/ Inuvik: Purchase furs which will be distributed to local sewers in the communities. Members -- $12,500
* Inuvialuit Development Corporation/ Inuvik: Provide consulting services with the intent of developing operating systems for the Inuvialuit Development Corporation. Inuvialuit beneficiaries -- $15,000
* Joan's Health and Fitness Club/ Fort Smith: Assist with establishing a health and fitness club in Fort Smith. Joan Bevington -- $10,000
* Jumbo, Alma/Fort Liard: Assist with cost to provide traditional craft demonstrations in Fort Liard. Alma, Jumbo -- $1,107
* Just Furs/Yellowknife: Assist with cost to attend a fur show. Kristine Bourque -- $691
* Kelly, Bruce (o/a Bruce's Auto Services)/Fort Good Hope: Purchase a tire repair shop in the community of Fort Good Hope. Bruce Kelly -- $5,000
* Kimelli's Handyman/Yellowknife: Assist with cost to prepare a business plan. Frank Sangris -- $5,025
* King, Roy Jr./Fort Resolution: Assist with cost to establish a paintball business. Roy King Jr. -- $4,200
* Lamothe, Rene M.J./Fort Simpson: Purchase tools and equipment to complete contracts. Rene Lamothe -- $4,022
* Liidlii Kue First Nation/Fort Simpson: Assist with cost to attend the Far North Oil and Gas conference. Liidlii Kue members -- $4,103
* Little Hunter Enterprises/Rae-Edzo: Assist with lost revenue contracts. Ernie Bailey -- $20,000
* Living Stones/Hay River: Assist with marketing and product development. Gail Williams/Kerri Domes -- $5,000
* MacKay Lake Lodge '89 Ltd./Yellowknife: Assist with cost to conduct a business and marketing plan. Gary Jaeb -- $14,000
* Mackenzie Delta Hotel Group Ltd./Inuvik: To conduct a feasibility study on the construction of a new 90-room hotel. E. Gruben's Transport/Newry Enterprises -- $15,000
* Man In The Van (The)/Yellowknife: Assist with cost to start transportation company. Patricia Horn -- $4,697
* McCauley, Cece (o/a Women Warrior of Sahtu)/ Norman Wells: To attend the Meet the North conference in Edmonton to sell the woman warrior dolls. Cece McCauley -- $5,000
* McClelland, Janice (o/a Trindel Inn)/Fort Simpson: To complete a business plan for a proposed hotel project in Fort Simpson. Janice McClelland -- $14,947
* Michelle's Menagerie/Yellowknife: Assist with business start-up cost. Michelle Meckling -- $1,344
* Naegha Zhia Inc./Hay River Reserve: Assist with cost to send two delegates to attend the Meet the North conference in Edmonton. Hay River Dene Band -- $3,100
* Nor-Art International Gallery/Yellowknife: Assist with travel cost to attend Meet the North conference in Edmonton. Kenneth Huss/J. Paul Davie -- $2,990
* Norman Wells Claimant Corporation/Norman Wells: Assist with cost for a business plan/feasibility study for a new office and retail complex in Norman Wells. Dene and Metis of Norman Wells -- $6,000
* Northern Wrenching/Fort Resolution: To expand an automotive mechanic business in Fort Resolution. Derek Beaulieu -- $25,000
* Northshore Coffee & Water Ltd./Yellowknife: Create and design packaging for product. Mark Avery -- $3,333
* NWT Metis Development Corporation/Yellowknife: Assist with travel cost to attend Meet the North conference in Edmonton. Denendeh Development Corporation/Metis Development Corporation -- $1,211
* Rat River Development Corporation/Fort McPherson:Assist with cost to prepare a business plan strategy for the corporation. Tetlit Gwich'in Council -- $8,573
* Reaching Out Consulting/Hay River: Assist with the creation of a human resource consulting business. Alexander L. Gresi -- $5,000
* Rowe, Sandra (o/a Bumper to Bumper)/Fort Simpson: To develop a business plan for the purpose of establishing a Bumper to Bumper business in Fort Simpson. Sandra Rowe -- $4,500
* Sahtu Contractors Ltd./Norman Wells: Assist with cost for a recovery plan or wind-down. Peter Guther/Dan McNeely -- $25,000
* Sambaa K'e Development Corporation/Trout Lake: To complete phase two of the economic development strategy. Sambaa K'e Dene Band -- $21,090
* Sambaa K'e Development Corporation/Trout Lake: Assist with cost to participate in the strategic acquisition and consolidation strategy being undertaken by Kaa Dule Corporation. Sambaa K'e Dene Band -- $20,000
* Sambaa K'e Development Corporation/Trout Lake: Assist with cost to purchase a water truck to participate in the oil and gas exploration in the Trout Lake area. Sambaa K'e Dene Band -- $25,000
* Sambaa K'e Development Corporation/Trout Lake: Assist with cost to purchase a snow cat to participate in the ice road construction contracts. Sambaa K'e Dene Band -- $12,500
* Savoie Limited (o/a To-Go's Takeout Restaurant)/Inuvik: To replace kitchen flooring at restaurant as per environmental health order. Denis Savoie -- $6,000
* Simon, Teresa/Fort Resolution: To expand hair salon business in Fort Resolution. Teresa Simon/Wilfred Simon -- $2,600
* Simpson Air (1981) Ltd./Fort Simpson: Assist in promoting the Deh Cho region as a tourism destination at Spotlight Canada. E.J. Grant/Noreen Grant -- $10,000
* Simpson Air (1981) Ltd./Fort Simpson: To undertake business planning for the purchase of Wolverine Air and the amalgamation of the aviation industry in the Deh Cho region. E.J. Grant/ Noreen Grant -- $20,000
* Sinclair, Don/Hay River: Assist with cost for repairs for the fishing vessel after it had sunk. Don Sinclair -- $10,000
* Slanigiro Records and Production/Fort Smith: Assist the company in producing and marketing music of the new CD for the band State of the Art. Craig Allard/Anna Bevington/Aaron Kikoak/ Brandon Kikoak/Jamie Kikoak -- $5,000
* Smart Communities Society/Yellowknife: Assist with cost for internet project. Members -- $17,500
* Smith Landing First Nation Development Corporation/Fort Smith: To establish a market garden in Fort Smith. Fort Fitz First Nation/Smith Landing First Nation -- $15,360
* Solstice Festival/Yellowknife: Assist with marketing cost for the 2003 festival. Members -- $5,000
* South Slave Metis Economic Development Corporation/Fort Smith: Assist with cost for a business valuation and acquisition. South Slave Metis Tribal Council -- $26,000
* Special "T" Services/Tuktoyatuk: Assist in purchasing and installing a new sewage holding tank as a preventive measure to avoid future plumbing damages. Eddie Dillon -- $6,367
* Special "T" Services/Tuktoyatuk: Provide emergency relief to repair plumbing damages incurred during the recent extreme cold weather. Eddie Dillon -- $6,584
* Stand Alone Energy Systems Ltd./Fort Smith: Assist the company in participating in Environment Canada's Trade Mission to the Netherlands. Denis Bevington/Jack Van Camp -- $1,293
* T & J Services/Fort Smith: To establish a second store in Fort Smith. Tim Labell -- $15,000
* Taiga Sport Fishing Ltd./Yellowknife: Assist with cost to prepare an investors prospectus. Mike Freeland -- $8,900
* Techi?q Limited/Deline: Assist with feasibility study to examine a business model to extend wireless broadband to the Sahtu communities. Deline beneficiaries -- $8,000
* Teepee Bannock Ltd./Ndilo: Assist with start-up costs for pilot project. Muriel Betsina -- $7,500
* Teepee Bannock Ltd./Ndilo: Assist with to prepare a business plan and feasibility study. Muriel Betsina -- $6,500
* Territorial Farmers Association / Hay River: Assist with costs associated with hosting their 13th annual seminar to be held in Hay River on May 9 and 10, 2003. Members -- $4,500
* Town of Fort Smith/Fort Smith: Assist the Town in staging the 2003 South Slave Friendship Festival. Town of Fort Smith -- $5,000
* Town of Hay River/Hay River: Assist with cost to send two delegates to attend the Meet the North conference in Edmonton. Town of Hay River -- $2,250
* Tundra Tech Ltd. (o/a Arctic Nature Tours)/Inuvik: To promote and market regional tourism packages both in Canada and abroad. Inuvialuit Development Corporation -- $10,000
* Ulukhaktuk Adventures Ltd./Holman: Assist with costs to run a pilot project with Uncommon Journey's to complete a dogsled run to Minto Inlet. Holman HTC -- $13,265
* Village of Fort Simpson/Fort Simpson: Assist with cost to attend the Far North Oil and Gas forum. Village of Fort Simpson -- $991
* VisualArtNet.com/Yellowknife: Assist with cost to conduct a feasibility study. Glen Wadsworth -- $19,950
* W & L Emporium Ltd./Fort Simpson: Assist with cost to upgrade phone system. Wayne McKay / Lyn McKay -- $3,000
* Warne, Deanna/Fort Simpson: Purchase welding and cutting equipment to expand metal sculpting business. Deanna Warne -- $3,200
* Wekweti Development Corporation/Wekweti: Assist with cost for hotel upgrades and Web site proposal. Wekweti First Nation Band -- $7,420
* Wha Ti First Nation/Wha Ti: To install a high speed Internet system in the resources building and purchase two new computer packages. Members -- $12,111
* Wha Ti First Nation/Wha Ti: To attend Meet the North conference in Edmonton. Members -- $2,281
* Wha Ti First Nation/Wha Ti: To implement a youth ready to work training program. Members -- $12,647
* Wolverine Land Management/ Inuvik: Purchase office equipment for consulting business. Howard Townsend -- $1,038
* Wright-Fraser, Karen (o/a Whispering Willows)/Yellowknife: Assist with cost to implement a business recovery plan. Karen Wright-Fraser -- $12,690
* Xah Ndah Resources Ltd./Fort Simpson: Assist with staff training. Eric Menicoche -- $9,600
* Yellowknives Dene First Nation/Yellowknife: Assist with cost to attend the CANDO conference. Members -- $2,441