Looking to expand
Akaitcho Business Development Corporation offers startup funding

Doug Ashbury
Northern News Services

After one year of operation, The Akaitcho Business Development Corporation is looking for more capital to loan, according to the corporation's chairman.

"We have disbursed $220,000 in loans, which remain in good standing and non-delinquent," said Darrell Beaulieu.

"Because of our success, we're looking at increasing our capacity."

The corporation is funded by the Department of Resources, Wildlife and Economic Development and has contracts with other GNWT departments.

Last Friday, the corporation celebrated its accomplishments and its first birthday with a gathering at the Smokehouse Cafe in Ndilo.

"Today (Friday), we celebrate our successes from the last year," said Beaulieu, to a crowd of about 75 people.

"We have created and maintained over 100 full- and part-time jobs."

These jobs are in arts and crafts, construction and renovations, jewelry and giftware, language and translations, maintenance, transportation and office administration.

Premier Stephen Kakfwi, also Resources, Wildlife and Economic Development minister, said initiatives that focus on economic development are key to improving the quality of life for many Northerners.

Achieving self-government can provide the political strength, but there must be economic development initiatives, he adds.

"Economic development is the most essential thing we need to bring back confidence to ourselves as Northerners."

The corporation, along with partners like RWED, and Education, Culture and Employment, assist people from Yellowknife, Ndilo and Dettah who want to start a new business or expand on an existing one. It also hosts training seminars. The corporation is currently working on a building communities conference.

Programs under the corporation banner include Community Futures, Self-Employment Options and Junior Achievement.