Aug 5, 2020
Posted in: Entrepreneurship
The Gabriel Dumont Institute (GDI) Pathways for Entrepreneurship program is a three-year initiative (2017-2020) that enhances Métis entrepreneurship in Saskatchewan. GDI Training and Employment received a $1.16 million federal investment from Western Economic Diversification Canada to support Métis entrepreneurs on their journey towards self-employment.
The Pathways for Entrepreneurship program develops capacity among Métis entrepreneurs through unique supports. The program has developed several in-house training workshops for Métis entrepreneurs, including: A Métis start-up entrepreneurs’ workshop; cash-flow, financial management and credit workshops; digital marketing; a 15-week professional business planning series, and a 150-hour Adult Basic Education entrepreneurship course. Designated funding for professional services and consulting, business planning assistance, milestone bonuses, and a transitional allowance to assist with full-time business start-up are also available to successful applicants.
Cumulative from November 1, 2017 to May 1, 2020, GDI has assisted in the creation or expansion of 103 Métis-owned businesses in Saskatchewan. Of these 103 businesses, 93 have been operational or reached an operational stage throughout the project period. 66 businesses were new start-ups, with 27 receiving supports to maintain or expand an existing business. The result of 103 businesses supported more than triples the established target of 30.
GDI also had a target of training 70 Métis entrepreneurs across the first phase of the project. GDI is happy to report that 272 Métis individuals received training via workshops, with 56 entrepreneurs accessing externally funded training opportunities and 51 individuals accessing professional services and advising. In total, GDI trained 379 Métis entrepreneurs to help them build stronger businesses.
During the first phase of the project, GDI had a target to assist in training 20 staff members who were employed at Métis-owned businesses. Over the span of the project, a total of 41 employees of Métis businesses were able to take short-term training leading to hiring or upskilling.
GDI is happy to report that it has successfully completed the first phase of the program and has secured an additional $745,000 in federal funding to extend the program for an additional three years (2020-2023). An official announcement will be forthcoming.
Rallying on the success of the first phase of the program, GDI will look to continue training and consulting supports and will look to foster community development. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it has never been more pertinent for businesses to be flexible and adaptable. Project partners, the Clarence Campeau Development Fund (CCDF) and the SaskMétis Economic Development Corporation (SMEDCO) have both recently announced emergency COVID-19 related funding to assist Métis businesses in hardship. GDI will be excited to start the second phase of the Pathways program this summer to strengthen new start-ups, renew partnerships, and help strengthen Métis businesses in Saskatchewan.