To support Canadian Indigenous-owned businesses, the Government of Canada has invested $117 million into the Indigenous Community Business Fund which has been established to provide government funding support for community-led businesses struggling with revenue loss and setbacks as a direct result due to the pandemic.
First Nation, Inuit, and Métis businesses located in Canada can access government grants through the Indigenous Community Business Fund to help alleviate financial impacts caused by COVID-19.
This COVID-19 relief program will remain open for applications until all funding has been allocated towards eligible Indigenous businesses seeking support. If you feel this funding program could be right for your business, or a business you may know of, please forward the information along to the right personnel and/or contact the Mentor Works team for customized support in the government funding process.
What is the Indigenous Community Business Fund?
The Indigenous Community Business Fund provides funding in the form of non-repayable grants for First Nation, Inuit, and Métis community- or collectively-owned businesses that have been affected by the ongoing pandemic, especially businesses that have been rejected by, or do not qualify for, other COVID-19 government funding relief options.
“Health and safety remain our priority and we will continue to work in partnership with Indigenous communities and organizations to support a strong and comprehensive pandemic response. This funding offers further concrete support for on-the-ground community solutions that respond to the unique needs and circumstances of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis wherever they reside.”
– Marc Miller, Minister of Indigenous Services
With the goal of positioning Indigenous businesses for long-term sustainability, the allocated grants hope to lessen financial pressure and allow Indigenous-owned businesses to continue strengthening their economic growth by helping them offset costs associated with operations during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Indigenous Community Business Fund: Eligibility Criteria
The Indigenous Community Business Fund will provide funding in the form of grant contributions for First Nation, Inuit, and Métis community- or collectively-owned businesses that have been financially affected by COVID-19.
- First Nations, Inuit, or Métis community- or collectively-owned businesses located in Canada
- Operating since October 1, 2019
- Negatively impacted by COVID-19 pandemic
- Economic recovery strategy support such as expert advice and professional business support services
- Capital lease payments for existing equipment and machinery
- Offsetting cost of salaries and benefits at the same rate as the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy and only if ineligible for it
- Utilities, bank charges and interest payments, monthly insurance payments
- Rent or mortgage, only if ineligible for Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance
- Supply and delivery costs
- Operating costs or capital expenditures related to adapting the business and services
- Payments for regularly scheduled debt service of an existing debt that is not related to other federal COVID financial support
- Funding will be proposal-based.
- Applications must be submitted by the community or collectives on behalf of the business with the proposed funding amount.
- Funding amount will be transferred directly to the community or collective.
- No deadline to apply by. Applications will be accepted on an ongoing basis until all funding has been allocated.
COVID-19 Support for Canadian Businesses
As the pandemic continues to impact businesses all around Canada, federal and provincial governments continue to allocate thousands of dollars of funding towards the prevention, relief, and recovery efforts needed to fight against the effects triggered by COVID-19.
Along with the Indigenous Community Business Fund, there are several alternative government funding programs that are supporting Canadian businesses during this time.
Please visit our COVID-19 Support Page to learn more about the support and funding incentives that are being offered at this time.