An entrepreneurial training program for Indigenous women will be offered this spring in Hay River.

The two-week course will be instructed by Shari Caudron, who has moved on to the new role after two years as executive director of Soaring Eagle Friendship Centre.

Caudron is one of 20 women across the country who have been selected by the Native Women’s Association of Canada to instruct the program.

She will deliver the program in the NWT.

“I’m an entrepreneur at heart myself so I’m quite excited about this,” said Caudron, noting she has done a lot of facilitating for community economic development in the past.

The program – called Aboriginal Business and Entrepreneurship Skills Training (Aboriginal BEST) – has been developed by the Canadian Centre for Aboriginal Entrepreneurship in British Columbia.

In partnership with that organization, the Native Women’s Association of Canada will deliver the skills development and training program to underemployed and unemployed Indigenous women across Canada.

Caudron will be heading to Toronto at the end of February for five days of training on how to deliver the program.

She hopes it will start in Hay River sometime in May.

The Aboriginal BEST program will be free training designed to support Indigenous entrepreneurship, and includes training on building a business plan, marketing, financing and operations.

It has a formal curriculum and offers supports and tools that help to nurture the entrepreneurial spirit of people, communities and organizations.

Caudron noted the course workbook covers things like testing the feasibility of a business idea, market research, assessing the competition, insurance, financing, personal budgeting and much more.

There will be 10 seats open to Indigenous women in the NWT.

Caudron said it is a one-time training program right now.

However, she noted that, depending on its success, it may be expanded to other regions across the North.

Caudron said there is absolutely a need for such a program, noting that some women in the NWT have to quit jobs because of the high cost of child care.

“So by providing them with these skills, they can develop their own products, they can develop their own home-based businesses and then grow from there,” she said.

The program is being funded by Employment and Social Development Canada.

Paul Bickford

Paul Bickford is the reporter for Hay River Hub.

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