Aboriginal Canadians is a term that encompasses members of First Nations tribes, Inuit, and Métis. These are distinct groups, but one thing they have is common is that there is government money available in Canada for business needs.

In fact, the federal government has an online tool to search for government money. If you are an Aboriginal person and are seeking money to start or expand your business, the online tool will help you find grants and loans for your majority Aboriginal-owned business. You can search by your location (provincial/territorial or national), the type of government money you’re seeking (e.g., awards, grants, subsidies, loans), and the purpose for which you want the government money. You’ll get a list of results with possible funding programs for your business.

This is a small sampling of some of the programs available nationally that provide government funding for Aboriginal Canadians. Aboriginal Business Canada (ABC) is an Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada program that maximizes Aboriginal people’s participation in the economy through business development. Government money is allocated to provide financial assistance; business information and resource materials; and referrals to other possible sources of financing or business support.

In addition, there is a network of 54 Aboriginal Financial Institutions, including Aboriginal Capital Corporations, Aboriginal Community Futures Development Corporations, and other Aboriginally-owned or controlled lending institutions. Government money helps subsidize developmental lending (loans for enterprises that are not yet able to secure traditional business loans from banks) and business advisory services for maximum success.

Next is the Community Economic Development Program, which utilizes government money to provide financial support for First Nation and Inuit communities to enhance economic development.

There’s also the Aboriginal Business Development Fund, which is a program that provides tools for Aboriginal entrepreneurs who choose to start their own businesses. The funds are available through a community-based organization. The seed funding was derived from government money.

Another program that is an interesting concept is peer lending. Although the funding that provides the loans comes from group funds, the infrastructure was seeded and is supported by government money. Here’s how it works. The loan comes from group funds, and all members of the group benefit from successful loans, while everyone also loses a little when there’s a default. This is a form of business funding that is fairly new and innovative, so it remains to be seen whether it will enjoy long term success.

Finally, there is the Aboriginal Banking Department of the Business Development Bank of Canada. It offers customized, long-term, and flexible solutions specifically for Aboriginal entrepreneurs. One major goal is to help Aboriginal businesses succeed in a global market.

In additional to this small sample, there are other government money programs available federally for Aboriginal Canadians. Additionally, in your own province, territory, or community, there is funding available as well. The goal of providing this government money is to increase the business ownership and economic participation of Aboriginal people in Canada. We can all benefit from all members of the community having a stake in the success of small businesses, and government money will pay dividends in the form of business success for Aboriginal people across the land.