Thunder Bay CEDC Relaunches Funding Program for Indigenous Entrepreneurs

Monday, July 18 – The Thunder Bay Community Economic Development Commission (CEDC) is pleased to announce the renewal of the Indigenous funding stream of the Starter Company Plus program called: Miinikaanan Badakidoon – which means “to plant the seeds” in Anishnaawbe from the Lake Nipigon dialect.  Applications for this second round of grant funding for the program open on Monday, July 18th and close on Thursday, September 22nd 2022.

The program is for Indigenous entrepreneurs in Northwestern Ontario looking to start up, expand, or buy an existing business. The program consists of helping entrepreneurs with writing a business plan and applying for $5,000 in funding. An independent grant committee comprised of Thunder Bay and regional Indigenous business professionals provide feedback and evaluate the applications. If successful in receiving the funding the entrepreneurs complete a three-month mentorship with experienced professionals that help them in executing their business plans.

“I would like to thank Impala Canada for their financial contribution to further leverage available funds to support Indigenous businesses in Northwestern Ontario. Both the CEDC and Impala Canada recognize the importance of supporting and growing Indigenous based businesses as they are crucial to bolstering the strength and diversity of our economy.” states Eric Zakrewski, CEO, Thunder Bay CEDC. “We are thrilled to be able to run this program for another year. The Starter Company Plus program, on which Miinikaanan Badakidoon was founded, has helped hundreds of entrepreneurs in our region. Through this program, the CEDC is able to further support Indigenous owned and operated businesses. We hope to see more programs like the Mikknikaanan Badakidoon come to life in the coming years as Indigenous business is a key element in our evolving strategic plans”

The Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation, and Trade provided financial support for the program, along with a generous private sector investment from Impala Canada, a major industrial employer in the Thunder Bay mining sector.

“We at Impala Canada believe in the Miinikaana Badakidoon program, and we’re proud to be part of the CEDC’s effort to nurture business-to-business support and collaboration with Indigenous-owned and –operated organizations.” Says Erin Satterthwaite, Vice President Corporate Affairs and Communications of Impala Canada. “We look forward to seeing what the Program participants develop and achieve, and how their endeavors further enrich the community we’re a part of.”

Visit for more information about the program.

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