Developing businesses around natural resources
Michael Fox accepts the NADF businessman award.
The 2012 Nishnawbe Aski Development Fund businessman of the year has been instrumental in working with communities as they move into the resource sector.
“It excites me to see communities start talking project and finances and regulatory stuff that allows them to be an active participant in an exciting sector,” said Michael Fox, owner of Fox High Impact Consulting and a Weenusk First Nation band member.
While Fox has a vision for Aboriginal communities to become effective partners and proponents in the resource-based sector, he said there is no “real one stream of thought” to get into his sector.
“All you need is a bit of organization, a little bit of discipline and a little bit of motivation to learn about project development and project financing,” Fox said. “I think any community that wants to get involved in that can learn this too.”
Fox encouraged youth to prepare for future careers in the resource sector.
“There is such a roster of occupations for the youth in the future around mining and energy that they can either go for a career in a certain discipline or they can actually go on their own and bite off some of these contracts that will be available for both First Nations and the individual entrepreneur,” Fox said.
Fox first saw the need to develop his business while working at NADF as a partnership development advisor and a resource sector specialist.
“It was my work at Nishnawbe Aski Development Fund that made me see the opportunities out there for more advisory services that specialize in these subsectors,” Fox said. “In my case, it’s the resource base sector, mostly mineral exploration and energy, and helping communities get in a state of readiness to get involved either as a participant or a partner or a proponent in these projects.”
An adjunct professor for Queen’s University’s Graduate Certificate in Community Relations for the Extractive Industry, Fox has an honours degree in political science and a professional designation from the Council for the Advancement of Native Development Officers.
He is currently co-chair of the Aboriginal Affairs Committee of the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada, president of the Boreal Prospectors Association, and a board member with Ontario Waterpower Association, Canadian Council of Aboriginal Business, Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation and Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada.
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