Jordyn Hrenyk, of Animikii Inidgenous Technology, a software company based out of the Songhess Wellness Centre, chats with Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Navdeep Bains after he announced $93,410 in funding, on behalf of the federal government, to invest in Indigenous businesses. Kristyn Anthony/VICTORIA NEWS

Songhees Nation receives federal funding to grow Indigenous businesses

Government to invest $93,000 to expand Songhees Innovation Centre resources

Entrepreneurs and other innovators from Songhees Nation got an investment from the federal government today with the announcement of over $93,000 in grant funding to grow Indigenous businesses.

The funding – part of a $27-million investment across Western Canada – will provide a boost for the Songhees Innovation Centre. The communal workspace and resource centre is already home to Animikii Indigenous Technology, a web-services company that builds custom software, apps and websites.

“Today’s announcement honours our entrepreneurs and our creatives,” Songhees Nation Chief Ron Sam said.

Having those experts to engage with and provide direction is particularly important for young people, allowing them to find financial security down the road as potential business owners, he added.

“Our overall goal is to start bringing in members from Songhees that are in a position to maybe start down the path to creating a business or a company, or whatever their dreams are,” Sam said.

The Innovation Centre opened mid-way through 2017 and its impact is slowly trickling through the community, offering education and learning as well as adult programs. Sam hopes to use the new funding to link those resources more closely with the Centre.

Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Navdeep Bains reiterated the federal government’s priority in working to advance reconciliation and renew the relationship with Indigenous people.

“As part of reconciliation, it’s really about ensuring full participation in the Canadian economy,” he said.

From 2006 to 2016, Indigenous business in Western Canada grew by 42.5 per cent, compared to just 11 per cent growth in non-Indigenous businesses. Bains said one of the measures of that success is to continue to make sure Indigenous people receive the skills training and networking opportunities necessary to participate in the economy.

“If you don’t invest in skills, in training, in lifelong learning, then you’re really limiting people’s ability to reach their potential,” he said, adding it is “absolutely necessary for building a stronger, more unified and prosperous Canada.”

Saya Masso attended the announcement to personally thank the minister for funding that has enabled the construction of the Canoe Creek Hydro power plant on his home territory of Tla-o-qui-aht Nation, near Tofino.

The plant, Masso says, has created an economic engine producing dividends the nation can invest in other projects, services and facilities. Funding that can sustain growth is often hard to get, he added.

“You can’t every year just keep going after $10,000 grants, you need steady funding and growth. That’s why this project is so important,” he said, referring to today’s announcement.

The federal grant will also support a First Nations dialogue series, called Indigenous Connect, led by the South Island Prosperity Project, and Songhees Nation will also partner with the Victoria Foundation and Community Micro Lending Society to host these economic development events.

kristyn.anthony@vicnews.com

Just Posted

UPDATE: Missing: 12-year-old girl found

Victora police say missing youth has been found and is safe

The blind lead the blind at the Pacific Training Centre

Centre specializes in teaching visually impaired people everyday skills to live an independent life

Fewer Greater Victoria residents collecting EI benefits

The number of local EI recipients dropped by 5.5 per cent from January 2018 to January 2019

Sidney woman hosts charity shabby-chic furniture sale

Upcycled and refurbed furniture sells to benefit the Alzheimer’s Society of BC and Crohn’sColitis Canada

Student Voice: Reynolds ReyBots qualify for Texas-sized Robot championship

ReyBots robot met premier, ‘dodged’ the competition

Protective human chain forms around Victoria mosque for Friday prayer

Islanders stand arm-in-arm to show support in aftermath of New Zealand shootings

Late-season wave of the flu makes its round in B.C.

BC Centre for Disease Control reported 50 per cent jump in flu cases in first weeks of March

Tofino’s housing crisis causing some to seek shelter at the local hospital

Tofino’s housing crisis is pushing the town’s ‘hidden homeless’ population into the forefront.

Sentencing judge in Broncos crash calls for carnage on highways to end

Judge Inez Cardinal sentenced Jaskirat Singh Sidhu to eight years

Wildlife activists slam B.C. business, clubs for ‘wolf-whacking’ contests

Chilcotin Guns, Creston Valley Rod and Gun Club and West Kootenay Outdoorsmen Club under fire

‘Families torn apart:’ Truck driver in fatal Broncos crash gets 8-year sentence

Judge Inez Cardinal told court in Melfort, Sask., that Sidhu’s remorse and guilty plea were mitigating factors

Vancouver Island motorists attempted CPR on victim in fatal Highway 4 crash

Collision took place west of Whiskey Creek; man in his 70s died

POLL: When do you think the next major earthquake will hit Vancouver Island?

According to seismologists, Vancouver Island is overdue for a magnitude 7 earthquake.… Continue reading

WestJet sticking with Boeing 737 Max once planes certified to fly

WestJet had expected to add two more of the planes this year to increase its fleet to 13

Most Read