By Marc Lalonde
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
The federal government knows that negotiating the labyrinthine paper trail when dealing with government services can be a challenge at the best of times, and they’ve introduced a new service to make things a little easier on Indigenous entrepreneurs.
Last week’s announcement trumpeted the creation of the federal Indigenous Business Services Navigator, which will connect small-business owners with government services that can be of help or support.
A quick email to navigator?sac-isc.gc.ca is all that’s needed, the government statement said.
`When applying for funding or business supports, connecting to all of the programs, funding applications, departments and agencies of the Government of Canada can be challenging. This can be even harder if you are part of a small team, or have not yet worked with any of them before,’ the statement said. `As a one-window approach, the requestor can simply email us, including their information and the type of help needed, and a representative will respond and help connect the client with the appropriate service or program.’
The statement touted a First Nations tourism business in Quebec that was looking for a program that could provide funding for renovations. Using the navigator, they were able to find a program that could provide funding and they were able to secure capital for renovations.
`Connecting Indigenous businesses and organizations with the right services and programs that fit for them, while make various Government of Canada departments more accessible, will help strengthen their economic development options and open more windows of opportunity,’ the government statement said.
Federal Indigenous Services minister Patty Hajdu said more than 20 federal departments can be accessed by sending one e-mail.
“A new Indigenous Business Navigator service is now available, providing a one-window approach to help Indigenous businesses and organizations connect with more than 20 government departments and agencies,” she said. “Through Indigenous Services Canada, the requestor can simply email navigator?sac-isc.gc.ca with their information and the type of help needed, and a representative will respond and help connect the client with the appropriate service or program.
Some of the agencies available to entrepreneurs through the navigator include Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions, Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada, Parks Canada and Natural Resources Canada. For a full list of agencies, please visit Indigenous Services Canada online or send an email to navigator?sac-isc.gc.ca.
Marc Lalonde is a Local Journalism Initiative Reporter with IORI:WASE. The LJI program is federally funded. Turtle Island News does not receive LJI funding.