On February 26, 2020 the first group of graduates finished the Business Link Indigenous Arts and Entrepreneurship Program in Lethbridge in conjunction with SAAMIS Aboriginal Employment and Training and Community Futures, Treaty 7. Graduates of the course completed an intensive 24-week program, facilitated by Business Link’s Piinaakoyim Tailfeathers. 

The 24-week program dives in depth, teaching participants the key building blocks of entrepreneurship. Participants who graduate the program leave with a fully developed business plan, a marketing plan, a finalized financial forecast and in-depth market research. The program is the first of its kind in Alberta and is funded by the Government of Canada. 

“I believe through business and entrepreneurship we can improve the quality of life for Indigenous peoples. I choose to identify the barriers to success, only so we can find a way over, under, or around those barriers” says facilitator of the self-employment program Piinaakoyim Tailfeathers. “I choose to breathe life into our clients and give them hope for good things to come. It has been a wonderful experience getting to know this group of individuals, and to be a part of their journey to entrepreneurship. Every business created is one step closer to a sustainable future for my people.” 

In addition to entrepreneurship skills, participants are provided with traditional Indigenous arts and crafts training, with the goal being graduates finish with not only business expertise, but also an inventory of product. The first cohort of participants includes 10 graduates with 10 fully developed businesses ready to pursue self-employment and entrepreneurship. 

Business Link and SAAMIS are thrilled to announce that this program will continue with a new group of participants starting later this year. For more information on the self-employment program visit businesslink.ca.

Did you know? Our Indigenous Services Team also has their own Facebook Page. The Business Link Indigenous Services Page is a space where our Strategists will engage and share information with users on upcoming events, programming, and news that would be of value to the Indigenous business community in Alberta, and will also provide updates on the program and its next group of participants. You can find it here!

Meet some of the graduates from the first Indigenous Arts and Entrepreneurship cohort: