The Aboriginal Business Entrepreneurship Skills Training (BEST) program is currently being hosted by Lake Babine Nation.
According to Marilyn Joseph, BEST program coordinator, Lake Babine Nation was chosen to host the program after submitting an application to the B.C. Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation in July this year.
The program provides job creation and skills training, through a series of sessions that focus on helping participants identify viable business ideas and determine their feasibility.
BEST program participants conduct market research, learn how to write business plans and explore financing options, as well as learn how to make money through self employment.
As part of the program, 10 guest speakers are helping 20 local participants reach their goal of starting their own business.
The free program is open to both those who have a solid idea and want to see it happen and those who have an interest in business, but have no specific idea yet and includes 12 sessions of training, held over two weeks.
“The group is learning skills that will help them develop a business plan that they can present to government funders or submit to a commercial bank to access funding to help start up their own business,” Joseph said.
During the sessions the group has an opportunity to hear from other First Nation entrepreneurs as well as commercial and government funders and other professionals from the human resources sector, an accountant an insurance agent and a Service Canada representative.
Topics include; e-business, financing and taxation and marketing and participants can access ongoing mentoring and business coaching.
“The trainer is Flavio Caron who works with the Canadian Centre for Aboriginal Entrepreneurship Inc. from Vancouver and he has extensive knowledge in business, strategic planning and facilitation,” said Joseph.
According to Joseph, the local participants are interested in starting a variety of small businesses including; a construction company, a plumbing business, counseling services, a hair salon, welding rig operation, an appliance repair business, a heavy duty equipment operator, freelance writing and photography and a graphic and web designing business.