Jordyn Hrenyk, of Animikii Inidgenous Technology, a software company based out of the Songhess Wellness Centre, chats with Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Navdeep Bains after he announced $93,410 in funding, on behalf of the federal government, to invest in Indigenous businesses. Kristyn Anthony/VICTORIA NEWS

Songhees Nation receives federal funding to grow Indigenous businesses

Government to invest $93,000 to expand Songhees Innovation Centre resources

Entrepreneurs and other innovators from Songhees Nation got an investment from the federal government today with the announcement of over $93,000 in grant funding to grow Indigenous businesses.

The funding – part of a $27-million investment across Western Canada – will provide a boost for the Songhees Innovation Centre. The communal workspace and resource centre is already home to Animikii Indigenous Technology, a web-services company that builds custom software, apps and websites.

“Today’s announcement honours our entrepreneurs and our creatives,” Songhees Nation Chief Ron Sam said.

Having those experts to engage with and provide direction is particularly important for young people, allowing them to find financial security down the road as potential business owners, he added.

“Our overall goal is to start bringing in members from Songhees that are in a position to maybe start down the path to creating a business or a company, or whatever their dreams are,” Sam said.

The Innovation Centre opened mid-way through 2017 and its impact is slowly trickling through the community, offering education and learning as well as adult programs. Sam hopes to use the new funding to link those resources more closely with the Centre.

Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Navdeep Bains reiterated the federal government’s priority in working to advance reconciliation and renew the relationship with Indigenous people.

“As part of reconciliation, it’s really about ensuring full participation in the Canadian economy,” he said.

From 2006 to 2016, Indigenous business in Western Canada grew by 42.5 per cent, compared to just 11 per cent growth in non-Indigenous businesses. Bains said one of the measures of that success is to continue to make sure Indigenous people receive the skills training and networking opportunities necessary to participate in the economy.

“If you don’t invest in skills, in training, in lifelong learning, then you’re really limiting people’s ability to reach their potential,” he said, adding it is “absolutely necessary for building a stronger, more unified and prosperous Canada.”

Saya Masso attended the announcement to personally thank the minister for funding that has enabled the construction of the Canoe Creek Hydro power plant on his home territory of Tla-o-qui-aht Nation, near Tofino.

The plant, Masso says, has created an economic engine producing dividends the nation can invest in other projects, services and facilities. Funding that can sustain growth is often hard to get, he added.

“You can’t every year just keep going after $10,000 grants, you need steady funding and growth. That’s why this project is so important,” he said, referring to today’s announcement.

The federal grant will also support a First Nations dialogue series, called Indigenous Connect, led by the South Island Prosperity Project, and Songhees Nation will also partner with the Victoria Foundation and Community Micro Lending Society to host these economic development events.

kristyn.anthony@vicnews.com

Minister Navdeep BainsSonghees Nation

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The iconic and well-loved live music venue Logan’s is permanently closing its doors due to impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Google Maps)
Fernwood pub Logan’s permanently closing its doors

Live music venue unable to weather COVID-19 storm

The Starbucks at 3849 Cadboro Bay Rd. closed permanently on Sunday, Oct. 25. (Google Maps)
Cadboro Bay Starbucks closes despite petition signed by nearly 250 residents

Closure part of transition to more drive-thru locations, Starbucks spokesperson says

Shawn Magnus of Sidney Courier has partnered with Sidney Business Improvement Area Society for free commercial delivery for society members. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Sidney business association partners with courier for free commercial delivery

Service started Oct. 26 and extends to a radius of 35 kilometres

Victoria police are searching for a suspect after a stabbing Monday night. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria police searching for suspect in late-night stabbing

Victim taken to hospital with potentially life-threatening injuries

Struggling to afford rent, Sylvia Bailey is hoping to trade her love of cooking for some more affordable accommodation. (Photo courtesy of Sylvia Bailey)
Retired Victoria woman looking to cook, clean or garden in exchange for rent

Sylvia Bailey is hoping to use her love for cooking to help afford rent

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. records 217 more COVID-19 cases, mask use urged

Infection spike continues, 21 senior facilities affected

Los Angeles Dodgers celebrate after defeating the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 to win the baseball World Series in Game 6 Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
L.A. Dodgers beat Rays 3-1 to win 1st World Series title since 1988

National League champs claim crown in six games

Seven-year-old Aaliyah Rosa was found dead in an apartment in Langley in July. (Langley Advance Times files)
Child’s body cold, no pulse: Off-duty cop testifies in Langley mother’s murder trial

The seven-year-old girl’s mother faces a first-degree murder charge

A picture of John taken at Children’s Hospital Vancouver last week. Photo courtesy, Alicia Sewid.
RCMP investigating after young boy run over by SUV in Campbell River parking lot

The seven-year-old has multiple injuries including a broken pelvis and was admitted to Children’s Hospital in Vancouver

People march during a climate strike in Montreal, Friday, Sept. 27, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Judge rejects 15 youths’ climate change lawsuit against Canadian government

Justice Michael Manson has granted the government’s motion to strike the plaintiffs’ claim

A video message from Mrime Minister Justin Trudeau was streamed to attendees at the State of the Island Economic Summit on Tuesday morning. (Vancouver Island Economic Alliance image)
Prime minister greets Vancouver Island economic summit attendees

Vancouver Island Economic Alliance conference being held virtually this week

A woman walks through check in at WestJet at Pearson International airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Strong support for pre-flight COVID testing ahead of upcoming WestJet trial: YVR

Airport is partnering with UBC, which is helping choose the method of pre-flight testing

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provides an update on the COVID pandemic during a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau says pandemic ‘really sucks,’ and that Christmas gatherings are up in the air

The prime minister encouraged residents to continue to follow the advice of local health authorities

Most Read