NADF business awards celebrate achievements
Webequie Chief Cornelius Wabasse, right, accepts the NADF Building Communities award.
Webequie’s proactive approach to economic and business development was celebrated on Oct. 24 during the 22nd Annual Nishnawbe Aski Development Fund Business Awards.
“We see prosperity from the development that is going to happen in our area,” said Webequie Chief Cornelius Wabasse. “After the stake rush, we started to realize that we have to get involved and we have to develop business opportunities for our people so that they can have jobs, they can have benefits and all those things that are required at the community level.”
Wabasse said his community is looking to train community members for upcoming developments in the Ring of Fire mineral exploration area.
“We are looking forward to the benefits that will come from this development or any developments that happen in our area,” Wabasse said. “And we’d like to be part of the development as well, moving forward.”
Wabasse accepted Webequie’s NADF Building Communities award during the award ceremony, which was held at the Valhalla Inn in Thunder Bay.
Michael Fox, owner of Fox High Impact Consulting, received the Businessman of the Year award
and Michelle Derosier, co-owner of Thunderstone Pictures Inc., received the Businesswoman of the Year award.
“Aboriginal small business plays a vital role in generating employment in communities across northern Ontario, particularly in First Nations,” said Colleen Martin, NADF’s general manager. “I hope sharing the success of the individuals we have honoured this evening inspires other entrepreneurs to follow their dreams.”
Rachel A. Mishenene, owner of Rachel A. Mishenene Consulting Curriculum Development and Education, received the New Business of the Year award; Diane Lacourcier and Yves Vaillancourt, owners of Mountjoy Variety, received the Partnership of the Year award; and Brent Edwards, owner of Mooselegs2 (ML2), received the Youth Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
Stan Kapashesit, executive director of Wakenagun Community Futures Development Corporation, received the Executive of the Year award while Attawapiskat Resources Inc. received the Corporation of the Year award.
“This evening’s award recipients are a testimony to the hard work and effort of First Nations and individuals to participate in the economy of northern Ontario,” said Grand Chief Harvey Yesno. “I encourage all members of Nishnawbe Aski Nation to assess and develop the business opportunities in their home communities, and the region. As the northern Ontario economy improves, so will the economies of First Nations, families and individuals if we begin to prepare for the challenge of entering the market place now.”
NADF began operations in 1984 after a NAN chief’s resolution addressed the need for a financial institution to support First Nation communities across northern Ontario.
NADF currently provides business planning advice, financing assistance, business support services, community and regional planning support and resource sector support services.
NADF hit a number of milestones in 2010, including the offer of over $25 million in loans, the creation of over 2,000 jobs and the creation of over 500 businesses.
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