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NWT Metis Dene Development Fund turns 25
Capital corporation celebrates quarter century birthday

Jessica Davey-Quantick
Northern News Services
Monday, December 12, 2016

The NWT Metis Dene Development Fund celebrated 25 years of providing loans and services to business in the NWT on Dec. 5 in Yellowknife.

NNSL photo/graphic

Thomas Jarvis, left, and David Patrick celebrate the NWT Metis Dene Development Fund's 25th birthday in Yellowknife Dec. 5. - Jessica Davey-Quantick/NNSL photo

"We still do it the old fashioned way - we base it mostly on character and people," said general manager David Patrick.

The fund started life as a way for Dene and Metis businesses to access capital but over the years it has expanded to provides support to any NWT business.

"It's kind of a big celebration. It's very significant that we've survived for 25 years. Not all access to capital corporations have survived for 20 years," said Patrick.

Since its start, the fund has loaned over $15 million to more than 300 businesses. Currently, they have about 75 clients. Patrick says over 90 per cent of their clients are aboriginal.

The key to sticking around for a quarter century, says Thomas Jarvis, the business services officer, is knowing the people they do business with.

"We're primarily character lenders, that would be our strongest suit. We really look at the individual projects and the communities, we've got familiarity with them all. So we can see if it's going to work or not, where somebody in Yellowknife who's perhaps been transplanted here from the south is not as familiar with the market. Knowing the market is key," said Jarvis.

"Sometimes there's just hurdles with any business, let alone aboriginal business, to actually access that first bit of capital."

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