FREDERICTON – As it continues to nurture early-stage companies in its incubator, the Joint Economic Development Initiative is working on new and enhanced programs to support First Nations entrepreneurs, even pondering a native-focused angel network.
Based in North Fredericton, the Joint Economic Development Initiative, or JEDI, fosters economic growth for First Nations communities. It offers a range of programs, including its incubator which helps novice entrepreneurs in various sectors to develop their business ideas into fledgling businesses. In the past it has also offered an accelerator program for more developed businesses, and it is planning to resurrect this program in the autumn once a few more companies have graduated from the incubator.
Penny Polchies, JEDI’s Manager of Economic Development, said in an interview that the organization wants to nurture entrepreneurship and to do so within the framework of the indigenous experience. It has had success in nurturing technology companies such as Appdigenous Development, yet it wants to focus on a broader range of businesses.
“We’ve changed our mandate a bit,” said Polchies. “We want to focus on First Nations entrepreneurs who are doing business [in a greater range of sectors] like retail, manufacturing and tourism.”
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