April 18, 2023

Capacity Development Workshop

Dear FNBDA Members and Supporters,

In late March, almost 30 people from First Nations Development Corporations and First Nations economic development portfolios, gathered in downtown Vancouver for the FNBDA’s first in-person Capacity Development Workshop.

The focus of the workshop was to learn and share experiences in developing and supporting First Nations Development Corporations, business governance, and economic growth and reconciliation opportunities.

We achieved our main objectives of sharing best and wise practices in this work as well as furthering our efforts to create a community of First Nation Development Corporations, that are learning and growing together.

In the last few weeks, we have also welcomed several new organizations into the Association including:

  • Gitxsan Development Corporation,
  • Cheam Enterprises Inc. (the business arm of the Cheam First Nation),
  • Sema:th Xo:tsa Development Ltd. (the business arm of the Sumas First Nation)
  • Tahltan Nation Development Corporation

Joining the Association costs nothing and it opens up a wealth of resources available on our website. Registration is available on our website.

Here are some highlights from our event:

Day 1:

  • Merle Alexander, KC from law firm Miller Titerle led us through a presentation Exploring Indigenous Rights and Titles and links to First Nations business opportunities and development
  • Mike Bonshor, FNBDA Managing Director and Clayton Schroeder, FNBDA led a process of assessing business governance across First Nations Development Corps through a digital survey. If you haven’t filled this out for your Development Corporation please reach out.
  • Francine Douglas (FNBDA) led a groups discussion focussed on the role of Indigenous cultures, values, and economies in First Nations business development
  • Across both days, David Loewen (FNBDA) led business case studies. There were two of these each day.
    • The two case studies on Day 1 focussed on First Nation community business strategies and processes for selecting Directors for a First Nation Development Corporation Board.

Day 2:

  • Mike Bonshor led a presentation sharing FNBDA initiatives currently funded and funding applications submitted.
    • The main focus of the FNBDA is to increase the number of active and successful First Nation Development Corporations in BC.
  • Bill Thurber from Premium Brands shared insights into corporate Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A) strategies and corporate partnerships with Indigenous businesses.
    • Premium Brands partnered with the Mi’kmaq Coalition to purchase Clearwater Seafoods in November 2020. Here is a short summary of that partnership and deal.
  • Mike Bonshor shared information on an initiative delving into First Nation investment and procurement opportunities that FNBDA is assisting to facilitate. This initiative is in partnership with the federal and provincial governments.
  • Paul Donald, CEO Simpcw Resource Group shared their Dev. Corp. current approach to business acquisitions – including a local hardware store in Barriere, BC.  
  • Jameel Sayani, and Chris Hild from MNP (leading accounting and business advisory firm) shared a presentation examining Indigenous land development and real estate strategies.
  • Day 2 also included two business case studies:
    • Growing and diversifying First Nations Dev Corp businesses and investments
    • Navigating governance conflicts.


It was an impressive and packed two days and thank you to those that joined us and those that presented. If you attended please fill out the evaluation survey that arrived in your inbox.

Planning and development are underway for our next session in June 2023. Reach out if you’d like to learn more about this March session we hosted or our next session.

If you’re not signed up for our newsletter, please stop by our website to register. It’s down at the very bottom of our website.  Stop in and become part of the FNBDA Learning and Growth Prosperity Circle.

If there are topics related to First Nations Development Corporations or economic development in your communities please reach out. Until next week…