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BC Aboriginal Business Awards

The British Columbia Aboriginal Business Awards are presented by The British Columbia Achievement Foundation, an independent foundation established and endowed by the Province of British Columbia in 2003 to celebrate excellence and achievement in British Columbia and Canada. These awards celebrate the accomplishments of the province's Aboriginal business sector and its contribution to the economy of British Columbia.

These awards honour business acumen in four categories as described below. An independent jury of Aboriginal business experts review the nominations and select the awardees in accordance with the awards' criteria.

All Aboriginal businesses and entrepreneurs in British Columbia are eligible for these awards. Whether you are a small business owner or a sole proprietor running a business out of your home, managing a large staff of a community-owned or social enterprise or creating opportunities through a joint venture agreement, or you are growing a business from the ground up as an entrepreneur, these awards recognize and celebrate your achievements.

Award Categories

Young Aboriginal Entrepreneur
The Young Aboriginal Entrepreneur award recognizes achieved success in the operation of an existing business. Entrants must be under the age of 30, the sole owner of the business and have been in business for at least two years.

Aboriginal Business of the Year Awards
Businesses must be at least 51 per cent Aboriginal-owned and operated. The Business of the Year Award recognizes business achievement and celebrates the entrepreneurial spirit in three sub-categories:
  • a one-to-two person enterprise
  • a three-to-10 person enterprise
  • a 10 or more person enterprise

Aboriginal Community-Owned Business of the Year Award
To be eligible for this award, businesses must be 100 percent community-owned. This award will celebrate the contribution this unique business undertaking has made to capacity building and strong economic foundations in British Columbia's Aboriginal communities and the wider economy.

Aboriginal Joint Venture Business of the Year Award
The Joint Venture Award promotes and celebrates efforts that contribute to the economic well-being of the area; increases the employment of Aboriginal people; provides learning or training opportunities to Aboriginal people and businesses; and shows a commitment to the community in which they operate. A joint venture is a specific business entity formed between two or more parties. Aboriginal ownership must be 50% or more.


  • All nominees must be Aboriginal (First Nations, Métis, or Inuit).
  • All businesses must have been in operation for a minimum of two years.
  • Individuals and businesses may enter in one category only.
  • Please ensure that if you are nominating a business or a business person for an award that you have their approval for the nomination.
  • Submissions will be considered for two years.
  • Government agencies and institutions are not eligible for these awards.
  • Social and/or not for profit enterprises may enter in the appropriate category
  • Previous recipients must wait five years before reapplying unless the nature of the business has significantly changed
  • Previous Outstanding Business Achievers may reapply after two years

Award Criteria

The judges' panel will evaluate submissions based on the documentation provided and will be guided by the success and sustainability of the business.

Selection of Award Recipients

An independent panel of judges representing Aboriginal business expertise throughout British Columbia will adjudicate the BC Aboriginal Business Awards. The judges' panel will select a first place Recipient and up to two second place Outstanding Business Achievers. The judges' panel will be solely responsible for the review, evaluation and selection of Awardees. Recipient and Outstanding Business Achievers will be invited to Gala Presentation Ceremony as guests and their travel and accommodation expenses will be paid by the BC Achievement Foundation.

How Do I Enter the BC Aboriginal Business Awards?

Enter online

You may visit this page to learn about the information required on the submission form.

Help with Submissions

Should the nominator (or nominee) require assistance with the "Nomination Package Requirements", we have a web page with tips on completing the submission form. The Foundation staff is also available to assist with its completion. Email us at aboriginalbusiness@bcachievement.comor call 604-261-9777 or 866-882-6088. We will more than happy to help you out any way we can.

Award Recognition

Recipients and Outstanding Business Achievers will be honoured at a Gala Presentation Ceremony and Dinner in the Fall. Over 500 guests will be in attendance, including a blend of Aboriginal leadership, political and senior business leaders, family and friends.

Privacy Policy

The British Columbia Achievement Foundation is committed to protecting the privacy of people through responsible management of information received. Submissions are confidential between the nominee/nominator and the awards' program. To view the complete privacy policy, click here or call the office for a copy.

2015 Advisory Board

Jacob Beaton
Director of Communications and Technology, Castlemain Group and 2009 Recipient

Greg D'Avignon
President and Chief Executive Officer, Business Council of BC

Lana Eagle
President, Industry Council for Aboriginal Business

Paulette Flamond
Executive Director, Northeast Aboriginal Business and Wellness Centre

Cliff Fregin
Chief Executive Officer, New Relationship Trust

Keith Henry
Chief Executive Officer, Aboriginal Tourism Association of British Columbia

Peter Lantin
President, Council of the Haida Nation

Judith Sayers
Strategic Adviser, Sayers Strategic Advice

Mark Selman
Director EMBA, Aboriginal and Business Leadership, Beedie School of Business

Ken Tourand
President/CEO, Nicola Valley Institute of Technology

Ruth Williams
Consultant, 2013 Individual Achiever Recipient

Supporting Organizations

The BC Aboriginal Business Awards are supported by:
  • BC Assembly of First Nations
  • First Nations Summit
  • Métis Nation BC
  • Union of BC Indian Chiefs
  • BC Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation

Award Sponsors

new relationship trust
encana   spectra   mnp   cn
bc government

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is the definition of a business?
A. A business is an entity designed to provide goods and/or services to consumers.

Q. Can the business statement be in point form?
A. Yes, in a readable style.

Q. What is the definition of a joint venture business?
A. A joint venture is an entity formed between two or more parties to undertake economic activity together. The parties agree to create a new entity by contributing equity, and they then share in the revenues, expenses and control of the enterprise.

Q. Can you or your business be nominated in more than one category?
A. No, you or your business can only be nominated in one category. Entries should choose the category which best represents and highlights their successes.

Q. Does a certain percentage of a joint venture have to be Aboriginal-owned?
A. No, but one of the joint venture partners must be Aboriginal and the majority holder of the enterprise.

Q. Does the business have to be registered?
A. No, but the business must provide goods and/or services to consumers.

Q. If I am 30 years old can I enter the Youth Entrepreneur of the Year Award category?
A. No, the youth category has been defined as under 30.

Q. Can I send in the nomination package electronically?
A. Yes, we welcome submissions that are sent electronically.

Q. Is there a fee for entering?
A. No, there is no fee for entering.

Q. When will award recipients be notified?
A. The awardees will be announced by September 1.

Q. Where will the award recipients be published?
A. Award recipient postings will appear on the British Columbia Achievement Foundation website and distributed to the provincial media.

Q. When identifying the number "persons" the business enterprise employs, and selecting the category under Business of the Year which is dependent on employee numbers, should occasional employees be included in the total?
A. No. Please identify full or part-time permanent staff only. If there are times that you increase the number of employees for short periods of time this can be included in your business statement section.

Q. If I have already been an award recipient in a previous year, may I reapply?
A. An award recipient must wait five years before reapplying unless the business is a totally new enterprise. In that case, the necessary documents must be provided.

Q. If I have already received an Outstanding Business Achievement award, may I reapply?
A. Previous Outstanding Business Achievers may reapply after two years.

Q. If a business is wholly owned by the community (100 per cent), can it be nominated under the Business of the Year Category?
A. No,it cannot. A wholly owned community enterprise must be nominated under the Community-Owned Business Category.

British Columbia Achievement Foundation
T. 604.261.9777 | Toll Free 866.882.6088 (in BC)
F. 778.379.0511