Canada Supports Business Investment in the Northwest Territories
Yellowknife, NWT (March 15, 2008) – The Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians, announced today an investment in the Métis-Dene Development Fund (MDDF) that will allow the MDDF to expand its small and medium-sized business lending services throughout the NWT.
“Through the Strategic Investments in Northern Economic Development (SINED) initiative, the Government of Canada is proud to invest in organizations supporting small and medium-sized businesses,” said Minister Strahl. “This investment of $1.6 million will enable the NWT Métis-Dene Development Fund to expand business development lending to Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal businesses throughout the NWT, which will strengthen and diversify regional economies.”Expansion of the existing loan fund will:
Increase the availability of business development lending to small and medium- sized businesses in the NWT;
Leverage benefits of non-renewable resource development in the NWT by supporting early-stage small and medium sized business development; and
Grow the MDDF loan portfolio to a level where it can be financially self-sustaining and provide ongoing benefits to the people of the NWT.
By extending its coverage to non-Aboriginal businesses, especially in areas outside Yellowknife, the MDDF will achieve economies of scale and be able to serve more distant parts of the territory. In addition, the larger scale will diversify risk, strengthen the MDDF’s overall portfolio, and decrease dependency on government funding.
“The additional capital will enable the MDDF to not only serve Dene and Métis but all Northern residents,”says Jake Heron, Chair, NWT Métis-Dene Development Fund. “This will allow all communities, especially those underserved by traditional financial institutions, to pursue market economic opportunities.”
This announcement reinforces the commitment in the recent Speech from the Throne to advance an integrated Northern Strategy focused on strengthening Canada’s sovereignty, protecting our environmental heritage, promoting economic and social development, and improving and devolving governance. Today’s announcement supports improving economic opportunities and helping to meet the needs of Northerners.
For further information please contact:
Office of the Honourable Chuck Strahl
Indian and Northern Affairs Canada