With $285,000 allotted by the federal government, Aurora College will undertake a feasibility study that will examine the possible development of an Indigenous Centre of Business Excellence.

The study will specifically look at other Canadian and Indigenous business centre models, providing an overview of existing Indigenous businesses by looking at “the needs, opportunities and gaps in the NWT’s 33 communities,” a Monday news release stated.

“Aurora College plans to engage with Indigenous governments, Indigenous corporate entities, Northern industry organizations and other key stakeholders in a variety of ways,” the release reads.

An Indigenous Centre for Business Excellence could help Indigenous entrepreneurs with business start-up or expansion, partnerships and planning; help ensure Indigenous entrepreneurs have access to business support and advice; and provide support and advice about small business development and joint venture developments.

“Supporting the growth and sustainability of Northern, Indigenous entrepreneurs and businesses will be a priority of the new polytechnic university,” said Glenda VardyDell, president of Aurora College. “A vibrant, healthy Northern economy and labour market will provide employment and leadership opportunities for the polytechnic’s graduates, as well as the potential for related research and innovation.”

As well, the initiative could assist with developing core skills — governance, risk management and financial management — for Indigenous businesses to succeed.

The Government of Canada’s Future Skills Centre is supporting this initiative as part of its skills innovation in Northern Canada.

“We need to ensure that everyone has the skills and opportunities to contribute and thrive in the future economy,” said Pedro Barata, executive director of Future Skills Centre. “Indigenous entrepreneurs and professionals play a key role in our workforce, and this initiative lays important groundwork for further skills innovation and opportunity.”

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