Economic Prosperity

The Haida Nation created HaiCo in 2009 which now owns assets worth in excess of $22 million including five businesses that employ more than 350 people. Photo by Westcoast Resorts, HaiCo.
The Haida Nation created HaiCo in 2009 which now owns assets worth in excess of $22 million including five businesses that employ more than 350 people. Photo by Westcoast Resorts, HaiCo

First Nations are creating sustainable businesses and strategically acquiring companies to grow and diversify local economies throughout the Great Bear Rainforest and Haida Gwaii regions of British Columbia. By creating new businesses, First Nations are creating jobs for community members who may otherwise relocate to find employment.

First Nations’ investment in the region builds partnerships, attracts additional business, and improves infrastructure, further boosting and diversifying sources of revenue. Over time, local economies are increasingly less reliant on single industries as new investment creates a diversity of small businesses.

First Nations are attracting significant new investment to their communities to create and expand local businesses.

Attracting New Investment

First Nations have leveraged $70,913,006 from Coast Funds to attract additional investment of $165,744,450 for both completed and active projects. This results in a total of $236,657,456 in new investment into Coast Funds’ projects throughout the Great Bear Rainforest and Haida Gwaii since 2007.

Community Well-Being Impact

First Nations are making multi-million dollar investments to provide family-supporting jobs in remote communities throughout coastal British Columbia. This helps to retain community members, particularly youth and skilled workers, in their home communities. New investment is attracting additional money into the economy which supports vibrant communities through infrastructure development, improved access to services, and new training opportunities.

The commitment of equity from Lax Kw'alaams Band (including Coast Funds’ contribution) secured significant additional funding and allowed Coast Tsimshian Fish Plant to maintain its focus on operationalizing the fish plant.

— Linda Simon, Band Manager, Lax Kw'alaams

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First Nations are investing in a range of businesses to strengthen the economy and reduce communities’ reliance on single industries.

Diversifying the Economy

First Nations have invested in a wide range of economic sectors, including: tourism, manufacturing and processing, forestry, aquaculture, and the conservation economy through projects supported by Coast Funds.

Community Well-Being Impact

Diversification into several economic sectors is important to build resilient economies in the Great Bear Rainforest and Haida Gwaii and helps to protect communities against macroeconomic changes that affect certain industries. Stable and diversified streams of revenue protect communities from population loss should there be a downturn in any single industry.

The construction of a canoe and the development of cultural tours provided the Metlakatla Nation with the opportunity to capitalize on seasonal tourism in Prince Rupert. This opportunity helped the Nation to diversify its economic base.

— Ryan Leighton, Operations Officer, Metlakatla Development Corporation

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First Nations are creating new and acquiring existing businesses to increase their participation in the regional economy.

Creating First Nations Businesses

First Nations have acquired or created 45 new businesses with funding from Coast Funds.  40 (89%) of these businesses are still in operation by the Nations, 1 business was subsequently sold, and 4 businesses discontinued operations. Investment in these new businesses has been across a range of sectors, including tourism, manufacturing and processing, forestry, aquaculture, and transportation.

Community Well-Being Impact

First Nations are acquiring and creating businesses to ensure they have access to the revenue produced from resources in their territory and that they are well-positioned to shape the regional economy, making long-term decisions for the benefit of community members. First Nations businesses create unique employment and training opportunities for community members, such as employing their knowledge of coastal territories and cultural traditions as tourism guides.

The Nuxalk Nation is the proud new operator of the Bella Coola Motel and our business objectives have been exceeded in five months of operation. The value of taking ownership of this historic property has made our people proud of their heritage and their Nation.

— Wilma Mack, Director of Administration, Nuxalk Nation

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First Nations are forming partnerships with industry, government, environmental organizations, and other First Nations on a wide range of conservation and economic development initiatives.

Success through Partnerships

First Nations have formed partnerships with 237 different organizations through projects supported by Coast Funds.  This has included 49 project partnerships between First Nations and 13 new joint venture agreements.

 Partnerships Formed by First Nations

Number of partner organizations

237

Total project partnerships*

594

Total project partnerships between First Nations*

49

Total joint venture agreements

13

Community Well-Being Impact

First Nations are developing partnerships to build their conservation and business development capacity. Partnerships in marketing, sales, joint management, and research increase capacity and enhance the operations of their organizations. First Nations are strategically partnering with other organizations to concentrate on key areas to expand operations. Partnerships between First Nations facilitate knowledge sharing and collaboration throughout the region.

We have really good relationships with the tour providers we partner with. Working together enables us to focus on providing a world-class wildlife viewing experience.

— Shawn O’Connor, Manager, Homalco Wildlife Tours Inc.

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First Nations are investing significantly in the development of permanent infrastructure that supports sustainable development and conservation initiatives.  

Investing in Infrastructure

First Nations have invested $61,072,480 into new or improved infrastructure including the purchase of strategic properties, technology and equipment, and the construction of new facilities with the support of Coast Funds.

Community Well-Being Impact

Investment in infrastructure supports the sustainability of communities, enabling conservation programs and local businesses to expand or operate more cost effectively. New investment in infrastructure creates opportunities for current and future generations and typically enables the creation or expansion of multiple entrepreneurial businesses.

The new seafood processing facility allows Kitasoo to maximize its ability to process and market products that it could previously only harvest and sell to other processing companies. This provides greater opportunity to support local fishers with the expansion of their businesses.

— Larry Greba, Director, Fisheries and Tourism, Kitasoo Development Corporation

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