Indian and Northern Affairs Canada

Indian and Northern Affairs Canada

April 27, 2009 11:00 ET

Government of Canada Partners to Establish New Aboriginal Resource and Energy Businesses in Saskatchewan

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - April 27, 2009) - The Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Metis and Non-Status Indians, today announced a contribution to Westcap Mgt. Ltd. for a new initiative that will help Aboriginal communities establish resource and energy businesses in Saskatchewan.

"Our Government is committed to encouraging Aboriginal participation in resource and energy projects across Canada," said Minister Strahl. "Through this unique approach, we are maximizing the benefits of our investment in Aboriginal economic development by leveraging capital from the private sector and other partners."

The Business Ready Investment Development Gateway (BRIDG) initiative is a three-year pilot investment that will provide funding and training to Aboriginal communities in Saskatchewan to help make them "business-ready." Under this innovative approach, communities will receive support to register an economic development corporation, retain and mentor a business champion, and establish proper governance procedures, readying them to take advantage of key business opportunities in the resource and energy sector. Businesses that are successfully established under the BRIDG initiative will continue to work with Westcap and other industry partners to identify business opportunities and source other investment capital.

"This innovative initiative is the first of its kind in Canada, and Saskatchewan is the ideal place to launch it given the province's abundance of natural resources and alternative energy developments in hydro and wind power," said Grant Kook, President/CEO of Westcap Mgt. Ltd. "Over 12 per cent of the Aboriginal population in Canada live in Saskatchewan, and many of these Aboriginal communities want to become more self-sufficient through wealth creation but lack the necessary tools. BRIDG will address this gap by providing grass roots support and investment infrastructure at the community level, while working with industry and capital providers to identify investment opportunities in the energy and resource sectors."

The Government of Canada will provide $3.9 million to help establish the initiative through the Major Resource and Energy Development (MRED) Investments Initiative, a pilot program run by Indian and Northern Affairs Canada. These investments are designed to help Aboriginal businesses to partner in some of the most important economic developments and energy projects in the country.

Westcap Mgt. Ltd. is a leading venture capital and private equity fund manager with approximately $200 million under management. It provides a wide range of niche investment banking activities to a diversified client base worldwide, including institutions, retail investors, governments, and high-net-worth individuals.

Through the MRED Investments Initiative and other Aboriginal economic development measures, the Government of Canada is demonstrating its continued commitment to increasing Aboriginal participation in the Canadian economy.

This release is also available on the Internet at www.inac.gc.ca

Contact Information

  • Minister's Office
    Office of the Honourable Chuck Strahl
    Nina Chiarelli
    Press Secretary
    819-997-0002
    or
    Westcap Mgt. Ltd.
    Grant Kook, President/CEO
    306-652-5557
    or
    Westcap Mgt. Ltd.
    Wanda Hunchak, Vice President
    BRIDG, Public Relations
    306-652-5557
    or
    Indian and Northern Affairs Canada
    Media Relations
    819-953-1160