The Northwest Aboriginal Canadian Entrepreneurs (NW-ACE) program delivering business skills training in northern BC Indigenous communities took home the top global prize in Oslo, Norway last week in recognition of the significant impact NW-ACE is having on the communities in which they operate.
The annual Global Best Awards are given out by the International Business Education Partnership Network, in collaboration with the Conference Board of Canada, to celebrate the achievements of outstanding education, business and community organization partnerships.
The NW-ACE program is a collaboration between Tribal Resources Investment Corporation (TRICORP), the University of Victoria’s Gustavson School of Business, industry and government, and representatives from Aboriginal communities.
“We’re proud of the NW-ACE program and the difference it is making in the lives of our people and in the economic self-reliance of our Aboriginal communities. This prestigious international honour validates the power in partnership where we work together and learn from each other,” says TRICORP CEO Frank Parnell.
The NW-ACE partnership brings top-tier business school education directly to Aboriginal Canadians in various communities across northwest BC. It provides participants with the skills, knowledge and mentorship to start their own businesses. The program serves nine First Nations and over 25 Aboriginal communities. To date, NW-ACE has had 116 graduates who have started 23 businesses. Business plans for 48 more are in the final stages of development.
“Collaborating with TRICORP and being invited into Aboriginal communities to deliver the NW-ACE program has been a true honour and we are thrilled that this unique entrepreneurship skills training model is receiving global recognition,” says Brent Mainprize, program director and teaching professor at the Gustavson School of Business.
The NW-ACE program was selected by an international panel of judges as “Global Overall Best Winner” from a competitive international pool made up of 84 finalists. Each finalist had previously received a gold or silver medal in competitions in one of six award categories in each of seven global regions.
Earlier this year the NW-ACE program was also awarded the Alan Blizzard Award, a national recognition given to a project that reflects significant collaboration in student learning or teaching.