Government of Canada partners to establish new aboriginal and energy businesses in Saskatchewan

  • April 27, 2009


Click here for more information on BRIDG 

Ottawa, Ontario (April 27, 2009) – The Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Indian
Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status
Indians, today announced a contribution to Westcap Mgt. Ltd. for a new initiative that
will help Aboriginal communities establish resource and energy businesses in

"Our Government is committed to encouraging Aboriginal participation in resource and
energy projects across Canada," said Minister Strahl. "Through this unique approach,
we are maximizing the benefits of our investment in Aboriginal economic development
by leveraging capital from the private sector and other partners."

The Business Ready Investment Development Gateway (BRIDG) initiative is a threeyear
pilot investment that will provide funding and training to Aboriginal communities in
Saskatchewan to help make them "business-ready." Under this innovative approach,
communities will receive support to register an economic development corporation,
retain and mentor a business champion, and establish proper governance procedures,
readying them to take advantage of key business opportunities in the resource and
energy sector. Businesses that are successfully established under the BRIDG initiative
will continue to work with Westcap and other industry partners to identify business
opportunities and source other investment capital.

"This innovative initiative is the first of its kind in Canada, and Saskatchewan is the ideal
place to launch it given the province’s abundance of natural resources and alternative
energy developments in hydro and wind power," said Grant Kook, President/CEO of
Westcap Mgt. Ltd. "Over 12 per cent of the Aboriginal population in Canada live in
Saskatchewan, and many of these Aboriginal communities want to become more selfsufficient
through wealth creation but lack the necessary tools. BRIDG will address this
gap by providing grass roots support and investment infrastructure at the community
level, while working with industry and capital providers to identify investment
opportunities in the energy and resource sectors."

The Government of Canada will provide $3.9 million to help establish the initiative
through the Major Resource and Energy Development (MRED) Investments Initiative, a
pilot program run by Indian and Northern Affairs Canada. These investments are
designed to help Aboriginal businesses to partner in some of the most important
economic developments and energy projects in the country.

Westcap Mgt. Ltd. is a leading venture capital and private equity fund manager with
approximately $200 million under management. It provides a wide range of niche
investment banking activities to a diversified client base worldwide, including
institutions, retail investors, governments, and high-net-worth individuals.

Through the MRED Investments Initiative and other Aboriginal economic development
measures, the Government of Canada is demonstrating its continued commitment to
increasing Aboriginal participation in the Canadian economy.

For more information, please contact:

Minister’s Office
Nina Chiarelli 
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Chuck Strahl
(819) 997-0002
  Media Relations
Indian and Northern Affairs Canada
 (819) 953-1160
Westcap Mgt. Ltd.
Grant Kook, President/CEO 
(306) 652-5557
  Westcap Mgt. Ltd.
Wanda Hunchak, Vice President
BRIDG, Public Relations
(306) 652-5557