Guests who attended the 16th NAN Business Awards on Wednesday evening, October 25th in Timmins saw Kasabonika win 2 business awards. Other winners are listed below in the newspaper article ...
'Executive of the Year' Award went to Deputy Chief Eno H. Anderson for all his hard work and leadership in economic development, business development, and infrastructural renewal as Kasabonika Lake First Nation rebuilds its' community for future growth. Major sponsor was Bearskin Air.'Building Communities' went to Kasabonika Lake First Nation in recognition of the turnaround the community has taken to come out of Co-Management after many years and enter surplus territory for the first time in a long time. Band members, leaders, Elders, and Youth sacrificed over many years before being able to constuct many new facilities, enter business agreements, and develop mutually beneficial relationships with private sector companies and government ministries and departments. Major sponsor was CMHC.
Aboriginal entrepreneurs recognized at awards cermony - Chelsey Romain - Thursday, October 26, 2006
In 1991, The Nishnawbe Aski Nation Business Awards began recognizing the businessman and businesswoman of the year with awards.
Today, the awards are presented for the achievement of Aboriginals in business in eight different categories.
On Wednesday representatives and award winners travelled to Timmins from First Nation communities spread across the large land mass that makes up the area known as Treaty No. 9.
"It's a time to recognize and celebrate Aboriginal achievement," said Nishnawbe Aski Development Fund (NADF) chairwoman Madeline Commanda .
"(It's also) inspiring existing entrepreneurs and business leaders in our communities," she said.
Those nominated for awards, were nominated by people who felt the entrepreneurs had made a positive contribution to their community; had demonstrated a commitment to their community, while having ethical business thinking and ran a successful, and well-managed business with sound financial management and success.
Stan Kapashesit and Jay Monture have been in the mobile DJ service in Moose Factory for 10 years, but have been partners in Solstice Production for four years.
Last year, the duo took home the youth entrepreneur award and this year were given the Partnership of the Year award.
"We basically took our hobby and turned it into a small business," said Monture.
"But I'm glad there are these kinds of awards to recognize small businesses."
Solstice Productions offers professional sound and lighting services to the Moosonee and Moose Factory area. Thanks to new equipment Kapashesit and Monture were able to obtain two large contracts this past summer which included Creefest 2006 and the National Cree Gathering in Moose Factory.
For Paul Kataquapit, it was an "interesting and nerve-wracking" experience as he picked up the award for Youth Entrepreneur of the Year.
Three years ago Kataquapit's father handed over full ownership and financial responsibility to Kataquapit and since then he has managed to expand the business allowing him to pursue larger contracts and projects.
"All the hard work paid off today," said Kataquapit, whose sister Janie won the same award two years ago. "It gives me more confidence and it recognized all my hard work."
Two years after the awards began, the event also became a fundraiser for the Dennis Franklin Cromarty Memorial Fund. Cromarty was a Grand Chief and president of the NADF. Today the fund provides bursaries to Aboriginal students furthering their education.
The Daily Press is a major sponsor of the awards.
"No question these businesses have done very well," said NADF president and chief executive officer Harvey Yesno. "They work in small communities where their market is the community. For them to succeed in that environment is incredible."
NADF helps with a number of areas when it comes to Aboriginal entrepreneurs, including helping with the start up, securing business financing and offering support services once the business is operating.
Yesno explained how over the years recipients of the awards have gone on either to corporate positions or have expanded their businesses to other communities, proving Aboriginal businesses are just as capable and credible as other small businesses.
"People are happy to hear other people have been successful," said Yesno. "Often it encourages people and we hope to keep at it. We need success stories and that's what's happening here."
The Nishnawbe Aski Nation Business Awards take place every year, rotating between the communities of Timmins and Thunder Bay.
Winners of the 16th annual Nishnawbe Aski Nation Business Awards announced on Wednesday: