Sixty First Nations, Metis, and Inuit youth will start their business careers this Friday when Cape Breton University (CBU) kicks off its Central Region Program of In.Business – A Business Network for Indigenous Youth, at a two-day conference in partnership with the University of Winnipeg.
From March 13-14, 60 students and 13 mentors from Winnipeg and Iqaluit will gather at the University of Winnipeg campus to celebrate and foster interest in Aboriginal business. Over the next few months, students will complete bi-weekly business challenges using social media and smartphone technology. The goal of these challenges and this program is to help the students explore the various facets of business, so they can make informed decisions about their future educational plans, which will hopefully include business.
“The University of Winnipeg is excited to partner with Cape Breton University to launch In.Business in the Central Region of Canada. Both of our institutions have had success teaching entrepreneurship to young Indigenous people for the past few years, now we are ready to take that success to a national level,” Wab Kinew, Associate Vice-President of Indigenous Affairs, University of Winnipeg. UWinnipeg is committed to improving access to post-secondary education for all individuals, with approximately 10 per cent of the student body self-identifying as Indigenous, among the highest participation rates at Canadian universities.
Ethan Courchene, a 15 year-old member of Sagkeeng First Nation and current student at Collège Jeanne Sauvé, says he wants to be part of this program because he wants to move past the stereotypes and repercussions that have affected generations of his family by going out and learning the ins and outs of business and law. His goal is to become a successful businessman.
In.Business fosters interactive learning while exploring business concepts. One exercise has students learning how to invest $100,000 in the stock market. The opening conference will also include tours of the University of Winnipeg campus and Manitoba Muhkluks, as well as presentations from local business professionals, including Wab Kinew. Group activities for students facilitated by their mentors are also planned, along with a presentation of the Annual Purdy Awards, which are voted on during the conference and recognize students for things like best Tweet, outstanding leadership, and most enthusiastic participant.
“Due in large part to the success of the Business Network for Aboriginal Youth – Nova Scotia pilot and the $5 million in Federal matching funds announced in 2012, the Purdy Crawford Chair in Aboriginal Business studies is growing and expanding its high school mentorship program nationally,” says Dr. Keith G. Brown, CBU’s Vice-president of International and Aboriginal Affairs and Purdy Crawford Chair holder. “The national program, In.Business – A Business Network for Indigenous Youth, will have approximately 300 students and 50 mentors from across Canada when we complete the rollout. Our main goal is to provide students from across Canada with the opportunity to participate in The Crawford Chair’s Aboriginal business mentorship program regardless of where they live in Canada.”
“Our Government is delivering results by creating a brighter future for Aboriginal youth – one that recognizes the existing contribution and realizes the tremendous potential of Aboriginal entrepreneurship to our economy and promotes independence and self-reliance for Aboriginal communities.” stated Mark Strahl, Parliamentary Secretary to the Honourable Bernard Valcourt, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development.
The next regions of In.Business to be set-up are: the Northern Region in partnership with Yukon College, the Eastern Region in partnership with Nipissing University, and Pacific Region in partnership with Vancouver Island University.
For more information visit www.cbu.ca/crawford or follow @CBU_InBusiness.