Capilano University (CapU) has received a $450,000 donation from TD Bank Group to develop and strengthen the University’s Indigenous Digital Accelerator (IDA) program.
TD’s financial contribution will play a significant role in building this innovative program that works with Indigenous entrepreneurs in Western Canada to help them access unique educational opportunities, gain mentorship support and grow their business.
“Prioritizing funding support for Indigenous business owners has incredible impact for our people,” said Doreen Manuel, director of the Nat and Flora Bosa Centre for Film and Animation at CapU and a key member of the IDA team.
“The IDA program bridges gaps in digital skills and business training to help Indigenous entrepreneurs break through barriers and succeed in the tech, digital-creative and cultural sectors. Fostering successful Indigenous-led businesses leads to vibrant and healthy Indigenous communities.”
The IDA comes at a critical time for Indigenous-led businesses hit hard by the economic effects of COVID-19.
Approximately 85% of Indigenous-owned businesses are experiencing moderate to major impacts to their business model due to difficulty or inability to shift to virtual or digital service delivery, according to the Indigenous Business and Investment Council.
Working with 10 to 20 Indigenous businesses or organizations over the next three years, the IDA aims to help each one to scale up and grow to create 100 new jobs for Indigenous Peoples in the next five years and hundreds of student employment opportunities.
The program focuses on supporting Indigenous startups and companies with high growth, commercialization and technological potential to increase participation of Indigenous peoples in the digital-creative and cultural sectors including film, TV, games, digital media and communications.
“As we look to the future, we know part of our economic success will be predicated on the growth and sustainability of businesses and organizations in the province including those that are Indigenous-led,” said Andy Cribb, regional senior vice president, TD Pacific Region. “TD is proud to support a program that will encourage Indigenous participation in the economy, and it affirms our commitment to the prosperity of Indigenous Peoples and communities in Western Canada for years to come.”
This funding from the TD Ready Commitment – a community investment strategy by TD to support change, nurture progress and contribute to improved inclusivity – will be used to help address acute labour shortages in the digital sector, while creating opportunities for growth in new Indigenous digital IP, content, products and services.
Working in partnership with Indigenext, the University anticipates the IDA will result in a cluster of digitally focused businesses and organizations that will add to BC’s fast-growing digital-creative economy. The University formally launched the IDA program in April 2019 through an agreement with Western Economic Diversification Canada.