The I-ACE Program


Some individuals are deterred from starting a business because they believe they lack the entrepreneurial knowledge needed to create and maintain a successful start-up. Others are looking for resources to facilitate the transition from a business idea into business ownership or to improve a pre-existing enterprise they own or manage. The Indigenous Advancement of Cultural Entrepreneurship Program provides prospective entrepreneurs with the skills, knowledge, and mentorship needed to successfully start and manage a business, serve the community with confidence, and foster economic development without foregoing traditional Indigenous values. TRICORP has partnered with the Gustavson School of Business at the University of Victoria to create and deliver I-ACE, providing top entrepreneurial education and mentorship to students directly in their community.


What our students say

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
Taking the ACE program was the best thing I could've done for myself in my return to the life of an Artist. The skills I picked up still apply daily. I'm now a professional artist working on a level I only dreamt about before.
Lyle R. Campbell
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I've had the dream of starting a bakery for 20+ years and I am finally taking that next big step to work for myself and for my family. The NW-ACE program helped me tremendously in giving me the push I needed to make my dream a reality... the faculty is just astronomical in everything they have brought to us and me.
Leona Ridley
I've had an amazing experience in the ACE Program. I've learned so much about improving my skills as an entrepreneur. When I came into this program I came in with a small idea for my business. The program has really helped me to mature as a business person and my idea became even bigger than it originally was. The relationships that I was able to build will be long lasting and the experience and help that I got from the professors is going to help me in life for the business both professionally and personally.
Dana Foster

What Our Community Leaders Say

Anna (Same) Hudson

Executive Director of Akisqnuk First Nation
Here at Akisqnuk, we are on the cusp of a generational change where our youth are ready to be self-reliant and break through the post-colonial shackles that affected their parents. In the midst of this organic change, the Indigenous ACE program set the foundations for the ultimate form of self-reliance through self-employment. The cutting-edge technology, training, and knowledge that Indigenous ACE provided has prepared graduates to succeed no matter the circumstances.
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Tricia Thomas

Halalt Nation
First Nations have a long history of entrepreneurship, and I believe that awakening 'the entrepreneurial spirit within' is key to achieving economic independence and pride, both individually and collectively in our communities. The Indigenous ACE program is a vehicle for the social change necessary to reach this independence. It encourages aspiring entrepreneurs to seek opportunities and thrive in the local economy - all while celebrating their identity and sharing it with the world.
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Karen Abramsen

Okanagan Training & Development Council
The ACE-IT program that OTDC ran for 15 aspiring Indigenous entrepreneurs was very helpful at assisting us to receive funding. They made it so easy to partner with them. We were very pleased with the level of expertise of the instructors who were specialists relative to the various modules they taught. Many of the trainees went on to start viable businesses. All the trainees gained not only skills, but also self-esteem and confidence to be successful in whatever they decide to pursue. 
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Peter Lantin

Haida Gwaii President (2012-2018)
As president of the Haida Nation, one of the key pillars of my campaign was to build entrepreneurial capacity for Haida people in all levels of commerce. Haida Gwaii needed someone to be flexible and acknowledge that not all Indigenous nations are the same, which is exactly what Indigenous ACE did. When we created Haida Owned and Operated, we designed, customized, and fit the program to meet our needs. 
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