About Us

The Aboriginal Canadian Entrepreneurs (ACE) Program focuses on providing you with the tools you need to turn your interests, skills and passion into a viable business to benefit you, your family and your community. The ACE Program includes experiential learning exercises and mentorship in addition to top-class teaching from distinguished university educators and community leaders to ensure Aboriginal entrepreneurs emerge from each program with the skills to build a sustainable business. The ACE Program started in 2013 and is continuing to provide entrepreneurs with the tools for owning and operating their own business in their community.

Our History

As of 2019, the ACE Program has graduated 24 cohorts with 352 graduates, and more cohorts set to begin soon.

The ACE Program began as the vision of Frank Parnell, CEO, Tribal Resources Investment Corporation (TRICORP). Frank invited Dr. Brent Mainprize from the Gustavson School of Business at the University of Victoria to co-design the ACE Program. In 2013, TRICORP invited the Gustavson School of Business at the University of Victoria as the key education delivery partner for their program. The partnership between TRICORP, the Gustavson School of Business at the University of Victoria, Aboriginal communities and governments remain strong as the program continues to grow. Since its inception, the NW-ACE Program has expanded to provide award winning experiential education to communities in British Columbia forming the ACE Program; an entrepreneurship program focused on providing prospective Aboriginal entrepreneurs with business skills through programs taught in locations to provide education and practical learning built around the individual needs of each entrepreneur in each community. The ACE team worked very closely with Aboriginal artist Richard Shorty to incorporate his powerful image of the Eagle and Salmon to represent the 7 key stages (7S’s) of developing a business in the Aboriginal context.

We are proud of the ACE logo and the message that it represents. Luke Parnell, Aboriginal Artist, was comissioned in 2013 to create an image that represents the spirit and vision of the ACE Program. The logo features the TRICORP mask at the center surrounded by the spirits and power of the Eagle, Raven, Killer Whale and Wolf, set in the silhouette of the University of Victoria Crest. The Aboriginal Canadian Entrepreneurs logo is surrounded by the Aboriginal nations and communities served by TRICORP.

Our Mission

The ACE Program sets out to help prospective Aboriginal entrepreneurs earn their entrepreneurial wings through an innovative curriculum design focused on bridging Aboriginal culture with new business start-up.

The ACE Program is built around providing individual support, providing students with resources to build their career development and developing high quality coursework modelled around real world impact. The ACE Program focuses on understanding the needs and interests of each student through small class sizes and individual mentorship relationships to provide the right information to each member at the right time. The ACE Program also strives to deliver education in community through visual learning and experiential learning to enable students to become expert entrepreneurs through the deliberate practice of key skills to benefit the community.

Partners

The ACE Program is made possible through the collaborative efforts between its partners including TRICORP, the Peter B. Gustavson School of Business at the University of Victoria, representatives from Aboriginal Communities, industry and government.

Locations

The ACE Program brings top-class entrepreneurial teaching to communities, removing the need to travel to universities in urban centres.

Have an inquiry about an ACE Program in your community or another community?

Please direct inquiries about our current program locations to the respective program (LD-ACE, NW-ACE, Haida Owned and Operated).

For inquiries about other locations, please fill out a contact form or direct your inquiry to [email protected].

View ACE Program FAQ for more information about teaching locations for each ACE Program.

Testimonials

What do alumni have to say about the ACE Program?

“I did expect to work hard. I did expect to learn business management and some promotional skills. I’ve gotten so much more. I’ve had the privilege of watching each of the students grow in confidence, self-assurance and self-esteem. I’ve watched the demonstration of great strength and courage, and people overcoming insurmountable odds. I’ve watched people work their way through limiting beliefs, old patterns, shyness and anxiety. This program has been life changing. I haven’t seen one person not make huge changes in this process. The gift of this program goes so far beyond research, research and more research, business plans, PowerPoints and Excel. I’ve watched as dreams have taken on life, as fellow students have developed into self-confident, self-assured entrepreneurs ready and eager to head out as business owners.”

-Peggy McBryan, LD-ACE Graduate
Peggy’s Touching Souls Healing Arts
Peggy’s Touching Souls Healing Arts on Facebook

“This program was perfect for me: the meat without the fluff, the great relationships in the class and the supportive staff that always supported and laughed at my super hilarious jokes. Thank you for giving us the tools and the filters we can use to navigate our entrepreneurial hearts.”

-Anetha Kashuba, LD-ACE Graduate

I’m A Mom 101
I’m A Mom 101 on Facebook

Watch entrepreneurs we’ve worked alongside with as they speak about their businesses and what they have learned during the ACE Program.

Frequently Asked Questions

Lakes Division Aboriginal Canadian Entrepreneurs (LD-ACE)

What does the LD-ACE Program include?

The LD-ACE Program includes 16 two-day workshops providing students with hands-on entrepreneurial teaching. The LD-ACE Program also includes 16 weeks of coaching and mentorship from educators and members of the community to help you take the steps to owning and operating your own business contributing to your community.

Where does teaching of the LD-ACE Program take place?

The program takes place in venues around the greater Enderby, BC area, rotating locations so we can provide you with top class entrepreneurial education in your community.

How much does the LD-ACE Program cost?

There is no tuition fee for the program. We are fortunate that the cost of the program is covered by the generosity of our program partners.

What is the teaching style of LD-ACE courses and how do I ensure it’s right for me?

The LD-ACE Program is taught with a combination of experiential learning, visual learning, coaching and mentoring with a focus on your individual needs. The program offers fun activities designed to give you hands-on experience through practical business activities and challenges to ensure you have the tools to take the next steps in managing your own business.

How can I contact the LD-ACE Program with my questions?

Send us an email to [email protected] or contact us through Facebook. If you’d like to talk to us in person, you can give us a call at 1-250-328-4993.

Where can I find more information to help me manage my business?

In the Online Business Toolkit under the Curriculum page, you’ll find strategies and tips that you can use to support your business.

Where can I find the application form?

Visit the Apply page of the website, where you can apply online. Additionally, you can find a downloadable application form on the Apply Page, or you can pick up an application form at your band office.

To submit the downloadable form for the LD-ACE Program, email your application to [email protected] or fax your application to 250-838-2131, attention Deb.

Northwest Aboriginal Canadian Entrepreneurs (NW-ACE)

The NW-ACE Program includes 16 two-day workshops providing students with hands-on entrepreneurial teaching. The NW-ACE Program also includes 16 weeks of coaching and mentorship from educators and members of the community to help you take the steps to owning and operating your own business contributing to your community.

Where does teaching of the NW-ACE Program take place?

The program takes place in venues in Northern B.C., rotating locations between Prince Rupert and Terrace so we can provide you with top class entrepreneurial education in your community.

How much does the NW-ACE Program cost?

There is no tuition fee for the program. We are fortunate that the cost of the program is covered by the generosity of our program partners.

What is the teaching style of NW-ACE courses and how do I ensure it’s right for me?

The NW-ACE Program is taught with a combination of experiential learning, visual learning, coaching and mentoring with a focus on your individual needs. The program offers fun activities designed to give you hands-on experience through practical business activities and challenges to ensure you have the tools to take the next steps in managing your own business.

How can I contact the NW-ACE Program with my questions?

You can contact the NW-ACE Program by emailing [email protected] or through Facebook and it will be directed to an administrator of the NW-ACE Program. If you’d like to talk to us in person, you can give us a call at 1-250-600-6131.

Where can I find more information to help me manage my business?

In the Online Business Toolkit under the Curriculum page, you’ll find strategies and tips that you can use to support your business.

Where can I find the application form?

Visit the Apply page of the website, where you can find an online application form. Additionally, you can find a downloadable application form on the Apply Page, or you can pick up an application form at your band office.

Apply online or submit your downloaded application forms to [email protected].

Haida Owned and Operated

What does the Haida Owned and Operated Program include?

The Haida Owned and Operated Program includes 16 two-day workshops providing students with hands-on entrepreneurial teaching. The Haida Owned and Operated Program also includes 16 weeks of coaching and mentorship from educators and members of the community to help you take the steps to owning and operating your own business contributing to your community.

Where does teaching of the Haida Owned and Operated Program take place?

The program takes place in venues on Haida Gwaii, rotating locations between Skidegate and Old Masset so we can provide you with top class entrepreneurial education in your community.

How much does the Haida Owned and Operated Program cost?

There is no tuition fee for the program. We are fortunate that the cost of the program is covered by the generosity of our program partners.

What is the teaching style of Haida Owned and Operated courses and how do I ensure it’s right for me?

The Haida Owned and Operated Program is taught with a combination of experiential learning, visual learning, coaching and mentoring with a focus on your individual needs. The program offers fun activities designed to give you hands-on experience through practical business activities and challenges to ensure you have the tools to take the next steps in managing your own business.

How can I contact the Haida Owned and Operated Program with my questions?

Send an email to [email protected] or contact us through Facebook and an administrator will handle your inquiry about the Haida Owned and Operated Program. If you’d like to talk to us in person, you can give us a call at 1-250-637-1865.

Where can I find more information to help me manage my business?

In the Online Business Toolkit under the Curriculum page, you’ll find strategies and tips that you can use to support your business.

Where can I find the application form?

Visit the Apply page of the website, where you can find an online application form. Additionally, you can find a downloadable application form on the Apply Page, or you can pick up an application form at your band office.

Apply online or submit your downloadable application form to [email protected].

Graduating Classes

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NW-ACE Cohort 1

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NW-ACE Cohort 2

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NW-ACE Cohort 3

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NW-ACE Cohort 4

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NW-ACE Cohort 5

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NW-ACE Cohort 9

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Haida Owned and Operated Cohort 1

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NW-ACE Cohort 6

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NW-ACE Cohort 7

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LD-ACE Cohort 1

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Haida Owned and Operated Cohort 2

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NW-ACE Cohort 8

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LD-ACE Cohort 2

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LD-ACE Cohort 3

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Haida Owned and Operated Cohort 3

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Haida Owned and Operated Cohort 4

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Terrace-ACE Cohort 1

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Terrace-ACE Cohort 2

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Nisga’a-ACE Cohort 1

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