The FNBDA was formed in 2020 with the following objectives:
- Increase and support the number of fully functioning First Nation-owned Development Corporations in BC
- Support and increase First Nations participation in the BC economy
- Provide spaces and launch initiatives that support mutual learning, collaboration and benefit
- Provide links and pathways to investment opportunities for First Nation-owned Development Corporations
Over the past six months, we have added several new member organizations. There are now over 40 members of the association. Membership is Free for First Nations organizations. Sign up here: https://forms.gle/5ogkSXjRYEDaiXzp9
We have also been busy on several initiatives. Over the past few months we successfully secured funding and additional partnerships to drive more work forward. We have organized this work into four key focus areas:
- FNBDA Member Engagement
- Economic Sector Re-structuring
- Supporting and Building Investment Opportunities
Below is a summary of activities in each Focus Area
This is one of our largest focus areas. Here is a summary of current projects:
- Thus far in 2023, we have delivered two Capacity Development Workshops. An in-person 2-day event in Vancouver in March and a half-day virtual session in June. We are in the planning stages for our next in-person event for the fall.
- Work continues on our Dev Corp Business Governance platform. The focus of this project is supporting principles of accountable structures, transparent processes, clear roles and responsibilities, Community-focused planning, and financial management consistent amongst community needs.
- We have retained Aniimikii, a First Nations technology company to support us in this work.
- FNBDA recently secured funding to support creation of approximately 5 new First Nation-owned Dev Corps in BC. Current estimates suggest approximately half of the 203 First Nations in BC have established Dev Corps.
- Our library of resources on the FNBDA Website is growing. There are currently over 120 documents available to FNBDA members for valuable insights and information on a variety of topics including Governance, Procurement, and policy guidance. If you have documents that you feel may be helpful for other Dev Corps please reach out.
- In spring 2023, FNBDA developed a concept paper for a micro-credential program specifically focused on First Nations-owned Development Corps. We met with several BC-based post-secondary institutions to garner partnership interest.
- We have just recently received responses to an Expression of Interest call that we put out in June, which outlines an opportunity to partner with FNBDA and support development of the proposed program. We got excellent responses.
- Our plan is to establish a partnership with a major BC Post Secondary institute before the end of summer 2023 and develop a program in Fall 2023. Stay tuned for updates.
The FNBDA is engaging with FNBDA member organizations directly. This has included social events and direct meetings to connect and opportunities for members to network with fellow members. We have heard in our sessions a desire for collaboration and networking between Dev Corps. We will continue to support these opportunities.
We are also excited to announce two new Regional Business Liaison/Advisor positions. Both of these are currently year-long projects funded by Northern Development Initiative Trust (NDIT) and Island Coastal Economic Trust (ICET).
- David Loewen started as the Regional Business Liaison for the NDIT region in early July. He is reaching out and meeting with Dev Corps and Ec Dev departments across northern and north-central BC. firstname.lastname@example.org
- We are currently recruiting for the Regional Business Advisor for the ICET region.
These positions include direct outreach to Development Corps as well as First Nations that may not yet have Development Corps – including Economic Development departments and teams. If you are in any region of BC and looking to get some support for Development Corp, or, establishing one – Please reach out.
These positions also include outreach with potential partners and opportunities for continued support of Dev Corps across these regions.
FNBDA also has an active province-wide Benchmark Survey of all First Nations, which is giving a clearer indication of the landscape and status of First Nation-owned Dev Corps around the province. This project is a partnership with consulting firm MNP. If you haven’t yet participated in this survey please do.
Take the benchmark survey here: https://questionnaire.simplesurvey.com/f/s.aspx?s=02DF91A7-B97B-41F3-948D-0BEEFB7C8D0D
Economic Sector Re-structuring
We are working towards exploring and building Regional Plans to support First Nations-owned Development Corporations and Economic Development teams.
We are also engaged in sectoral engagement and exploring opportunities in sectors such as forestry, fisheries, construction, manufacturing, clean energy, and more. Updates will continue to flow across our website, LinkedIn page, and newsletters.
To this end, we have finalized MoUs with InBC Investment Corp. and Innovate BC to build bridges between First Nation Dev Corps and BC’s innovation and technology investment space. This is part of re-structuring economic sectors, as well as building investment opportunities.
Building Investment Opportunities
We are actively working with Innovate BC and the new Crown Corporation InBC (Invest BC) to enable, support and advocate for First Nation investment opportunities in the Innovation and Tech sectors. Our goal is to increase First Nation participation in this growing and critical economic sector.
We have also been researching and identifying government procurement opportunities for First Nation Dev Corps.
- The Government of Canada has established a target of 5% of its Annual Procurement Spend to come from Indigenous Suppliers. It’s currently well below 1%.
- The BC Government has also made a similar commitment, without a specific target.
FNBDA has a two-year initiative underway that includes Capacity and Capability Assessments, Government Opportunity Assessments, Support for Cultural Competency, and the establishment of a Procurement Support Office. Stay tuned for updates.
We hope this newsletter gives you a glimpse of our exciting projects and initiatives. We encourage you to engage with us and stay connected through our website and follow us on LinkedIn for the latest updates.
Please reach out anytime with questions or inquiries.