Up to $150,000 in grants available to Aboriginal business ventures

BC Hydro plans to award up to $150,000 in grants to Aboriginal firms seeking funds to enhance or launch their business operations. The application deadline is April 30, 2004, and the successful applicants will be notified on May 31, 2004.

“Aboriginal businesses are important customers, suppliers and contractors of BC Hydro, and we want to help them succeed,” said John Emery of BC Hydro Aboriginal Relations. “One way we do this is through our Aboriginal Business Partnership Program.”

According to John, supporting Aboriginal business benefits both the businesses and BC Hydro. “Successful Aboriginal businesses foster self-reliance, build stronger communities, create jobs and stimulate economies,” John said. “For BC Hydro, these ventures can help us meet our objective to supply our customers with reliable, low-cost electricity in a sustainable way, while achieving good financial performance.”

The Aboriginal Business Partnership Program is in its fourth year. To date over fifty businesses have received support through the program. These cover a wide array of business ventures, including a water taxi, native plant nursery, a mobile welding operation, and an energy bar manufacturer.

“As an Aboriginal business woman I want to thank BC Hydro,” said Jaynne Jansen, owner of Rescue Energy Bar Inc. (www.rescuebar.com) “The grant I received helped relieve some of the financial stress and allowed me to focus on developing new flavours and expanding my market into the next phase.”

To be eligible for a grant, a business must be located within BC Hydro’s service area and at least 51 per cent owned by an Aboriginal person or persons. Applicants are asked to provide a detailed business plan and budget. The applications will be evaluated by an impartial committee, which will use a variety of criteria to determine the successful grant recipients.

For more information on the Aboriginal Business Partnership Program, call BC Hydro Aboriginal Relations at 1-877-461-0161 or visit www.bchydro.com/ard.