The Joint Economic Development Initiative (JEDI) Indigenous Business Accelerator Program is a unique 10-week program that provides Indigenous entrepreneurs with the skills, tools and resources they need to succeed in the Aerospace and Defence industry. Indigenous entrepreneurs operating companies or planning to open a firm in any business connected to aerospace and defence are welcome to apply. This includes Information Communications Technology (ICT), Industrial Manufacturing, Security, Clean Energy and Consulting. Graduates will finish with an incorporated business, seed funding, a completed business plan, a first customer and the start of a research and development project to create new intellectual property.
As part of the program, participants will benefit from:
- co-working space;
- a living allowance;
- travel support;
- instruction in business fundamentals ranging from financial management to intellectual property development;
- support in cohort projects to help the company move forward;
- experts in residence;
- mentors who have been successful entrepreneurs;
- seed funding from JEDI and its partners;
- networking events;
- development resources;
- early adopter partners;
- perks such as free tools and discounts;
- connections to the greater startup eco-system.
Participants will pursue a personalized study plan, obtain a customized business support plan, receive mentorship from experienced entrepreneurs in their same sector as well as receive connections to financial resources and advice on how to raise capital. No equity is taken in any participating company.
Accelerator participants will also have one-on-one time with key resources such as venture capital funds, research and development organizations, successful entrepreneurs, defense industry representatives and business support organizations.
The first cohort began the program in January 2016.
The initiative is supported by the Government of Canada, the Government of New Brunswick, Bank of Montreal, Lockheed Martin Canada, the University of New Brunswick and the members of the New Brunswick Aboriginal Shipbuilding Engagement Strategy Working Group.