Growing Aboriginal Procurement in the Electricity and Renewable Energy Sector: New Initiative Builds Aboriginal Business Capacity, by Connecting the Sector Buyers with Aboriginal Businesses
What is the Aboriginal Business Assistance Program?
According to the 2006 Census, 37,000 Aboriginal people have their own business which is an increase of 38% from five years before. These businesses are often within the vicinity of electricity and renewable energy projects across the country. Aboriginal businesses offer a full range of products and services – from construction to knowledge and service-based sectors. This makes them prime candidates for participation in the electricity and renewable energy industry as goods and services suppliers.
Through the development and implementation of regional facilitated workshops, this project will build upon recommendations from the Electricity Human Resources Canada’s Diagnostic of Aboriginal Procurement Strategies project by providing Aboriginal businesses with explanations of the various components that are included in a Request for Proposal (RFP) process and guiding them through a typical preferred vendor application process. The workshops will also provide an opportunity to bring both Aboriginal businesses and electrical utilities together to network. This will, in turn, foster an understanding of both sides of the RFP process and create more successful collaborations and relationships.
Why Promote Aboriginal Procurement in the Electricity and Renewables Sector?
Additional reasons why electricity and renewable energy companies and Aboriginal businesses should foster procurement partnerships are as follows:
For Industry Buyers
For Aboriginal Businesses
As part of the project, 3 pilot workshops were held (Prince George, BC, Mississauga, ON, and Saskatoon, SK) with both Aboriginal business owners and industry representatives in attendance. These workshops were designed to provide Aboriginal business owners with:
FeedbackThere was a wide range of experience among the Aboriginal businesses. Most were established businesses seeking to expand their opportunities with the electricity and renewables sector; in general, they had previously submitted bids to local utilities and/or major contractors and felt they had achieved only limited success. There were a handful of businesses with very limited experience and inconsistent business practices in formalized procurement processes; some had no website, or no knowledge of industry procurement sites such as MERX; they were looking to build a business presence within the industry. The workshop also attracted First Nations or Métis economic development representatives, and similar umbrella organizations that in turn provide advice, guidance and business development support to Aboriginal businesses.
Industry representatives were from large provincial utilities. Although an effort was made to attract major contractors and large suppliers as industry representatives, this was not successful. Nonetheless, the utility company representatives were candid and forthcoming in their discussion of procurement opportunities and challenges, and the Aboriginal businesses were very appreciative of the chance to network with them.
Overall, the reaction of both Aboriginal and industry participants was positive; they indicated that the workshop was a valuable initiative and worthwhile investment of their time.
Final ReportThe final report can be downloaded here:
Business Tools and ResourcesThe Aboriginal Business Assistance Program has produced a variety of tools and resources for Aboriginal businesses looking to increase their participation in the industry. Visit www.electricityhr.ca/aboriginalbusiness to access them.
Aboriginal Business DirectoryWith the number of Aboriginal business owners across Canada increasing, they become increasingly important to the electricity supply chain. As another component to the ABAP project, and to help connect the electricity industry to Aboriginal Business owners, EHRC has developed an Aboriginal Business Directory. This directory provides comprehensive access to Canada’s Aboriginal products and services. To access the directory or to register your business, visit: www.electricityhr.ca/aboriginaldirectory.
Questions about the Aboriginal Business Assistance Program? Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.