Ring of Fire main target of NADF project
Nishnawbe Aski Development Fund is looking to create 105 jobs through recently announced FedNor funding of $4.4 million over the next three years.
“The overall objective of the project is capacity building, to remain within the communities,” said Brian Davey, NADF’s executive director. “We’re looking at setting up eight full-time equivalent positions within the organization to implement the program. We’re going to set up a steering committee comprised of people from the communities, technical support and training for staff, networking events, workshops and culturally appropriate resources for First Nations teaching.”
In addition to the eight office staff, NADF is looking to create 12 full-time equivalent positions in the communities, including 10 business information officers and two community planners.
The FedNor funding is aimed at First Nation communities serviced by NADF, with a strong focus on the nine Matawa communities, to help them successfully develop business opportunities and derive long-term economic benefit from mining-related developments.
“We are excited about this strategic funding as it will help enhance entrepreneurial and business skills, increase business opportunities for our youth, and ensure the long term sustainability of new businesses in our communities by providing the support services they need,” said Arlene Jung, NADF’s chair.
Greg Rickford, minister of state for Science and Technology, and FedNor, and minister responsible for the Ring of Fire, announced the funding on Aug. 14 at the Italian Cultural Centre in Thunder Bay.
“Our government is committed to ensuring entrepreneurs and businesses across Canada have the right tools and expertise they need to take advantage of economic development opportunities that lead to job creation, economic growth and the long-term prosperity of our communities,” Rickford said. “Today’s announcement does just that by enabling the Nishnawbe Aski Development Fund to provide targeted support to First Nation businesses throughout the region, giving them the tools to seize and capitalize on opportunities related to the development of the Ring of Fire, right here in northern Ontario.”
Provided through FedNor’s Northern Ontario Development Program, the funding enables NADF to offer a variety of business development services, including marketing and communications, strategic planning and project management.
“Most of this program concentrates on the Ring of Fire, for various obvious reasons,” Davey said. “It’s a large area of development, but generally speaking, NADF celebrates all of its successes throughout all of NAN.”
Davey said people tend to learn from successful role models, noting “they follow examples, particularly the younger people.”
Davey agreed with Rickford’s call for results from the funding.
“We’re in sync when he says that he’s looking for results, he’s looking for outcomes,” Davey said. “NADF is an organization that is recognized for ensuring that we do get results, because if we don’t get results, we won’t survive. We have to be very careful in what we do, and how it’s done. If we are teaching people and trying to create the entrepreneurial culture, we have to make sure we hit our targets. We can’t sway from our game chart.”
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