BEC / September / 2016 - page 3

In this month’s issue, we’ve put the spotlight on a number of Aboriginal-
owned companies succeeding in Canada. Like many new businesses, sev-
eral have started small and managed well-planned growth over the years,
carefully navigating the often turbulent waters that can sink a fledgling
• Our cover story features Frog Lake Energy Resource Corporation (FLERC)
based in Calgary, Alberta. The oil and gas exploration and production com-
pany is the first of its kind to be owned by First Nation people. The com-
pany’s goal is to see the Frog Lake Reserve become a self-sustaining nation
through continued growth beyond the oil and gas sector.
• Primco Dene Group of Companies — owned by Cold Lake First Nations
— was launched in 1999 and today encompasses 10 companies special-
izing in everything from maintenance and emergency medical services to safety training and equipment.
They employ approximately 700 Aboriginal workers from about 100 communities across Western Canada,
and encourage diversification as the key to success for Aboriginal communities.
• Working on a remote mining site is a challenge for anyone, but Athabasca Catering is committed to bring-
ing a taste of home to the secluded locations. The company is the largest First Nations remote site camp and
catering provider, offering food prep, housekeeping and camp set-up services, among others. Expanding
outside of Saskatchewan is managing director Alan Cole’s vision for the future.
• Nunavik Rotors, the 100 percent Aboriginal-owned helicopter division of Air Inuit, has made a name for it-
self in northern Quebec. Not only has the company completed many search and rescue missions, but they’ve
branched out to offer emergency services, transportation for scientific and geological exploration, and tour
rides. Based on the vast area they serve and the shorter working season, this company has done a stellar
job of maximizing its efficiency.
• One of the oldest airlines in Manitoba, Missinippi Airways is proudly owned by the Mathias Colomb Cree
Nation (MCCN). Based in The Pas, the company traces its roots back to 1987 when several community mem-
bers working as trappers and fishermen decided to invest in their own plane to ship their wares rather than
hire independent contractors. Today the company has a 52-person crew and state-of-the-art fleet.
• Alberta-based Align Personnel is an Aboriginal-owned business run by CEO Patricia Forrest. A skilled la-
bour and professional staffing agency, the company was built based on a vision to train and build the capac-
ity of employees from First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities.
Cheryl Long
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