The Federal Government is partnering with the Nishnawbe Aski Development Fund to create a Northern Business Access Centre. The Centre for Aboriginal people in businesses is the second of its kind in Ontario.

Indian Affairs Minister Robert Nault was in Thunder Bay to make the announcement last week. Nault says the new Centre makes it easier for Aboriginal entrepreneurs in the North to access information. It will also help applicants with annual work plans and budgets, assess projects and refer them to the appropriate agencies for funding.

Nault says the Business Access Centre is needed because Aboriginal people are the fastest growing segment of entrepreneurs in the country.

Nishnawbe Aski Development Fund chair Gabriel Echum isn’t surprised by those numbers. “We waited for people to do things for us, but that trend has changed where ourselves and the entrepreneurs are in the driver seat and going it alone.”

Under the partnership, Indian Affairs transfers about $270,000 and three employees to the Nishnawbe Aski Development Fund.