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More Opportunities to Succeed for Aboriginal Students

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More Opportunities to Succeed for Aboriginal Students

Ontario Ensuring Equity in Education

Ministry of Education

Ontario is launching an innovative new pilot program to help more Aboriginal students develop business and entrepreneurial skills.

The province is partnering with the Martin Aboriginal Education Initiative to support the Aboriginal Youth Entrepreneurship Program for First Nation, Métis and Inuit students.

Through hands-on activities, Aboriginal students will learn how to develop a business plan and create a product- or service-based business, such as designing a website. Students will be mentored by established Aboriginal business owners, and eligible students will get funding to start their own businesses.

Pilot programs will begin in September 2014 for students in grades 11 and 12 in Fort Frances, Kenora, London, Sioux Lookout, Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury, Thunder Bay, Toronto and Wallaceburg.

Building the province's knowledge economy is part of the government's economic plan that is creating jobs for today and tomorrow. The comprehensive plan and its six priorities focus on Ontario's greatest strengths - its people and strategic partnerships.

Quick Facts

  • Innovative programs such as the Aboriginal Youth Entrepreneurship Program are helping Ontario students and schools achieve excellence and ensure equity. These are key goals of Achieving Excellence, Ontario’s renewed vision for education.
  • Students who participated in the program in other provinces had improved attendance, increased self-confidence, motivation to pursue postsecondary options, and enhanced skill development in entrepreneurship.
  • The province is investing $1.35 million over three years in the pilot program, where students can earn two credits towards high school graduation.
  • Ontario’s five-year graduation rate is stable at 83 per cent, which is 15 percentage points higher than the 2004 rate of 68 per cent. The percentage of students graduating in four years is now 75 per cent, up from 74 per cent last year.

Additional Resources


“This program supports our government’s vision that Aboriginal learners deserve access to the training, programs and opportunities they need to succeed and reach their full potential. This pilot program will help boost their entrepreneurial skills through innovative projects, partnerships, and coaching from business leaders from the Aboriginal community.”

Liz Sandals

Minister of Education

“We are very pleased that the Government of Ontario is supporting the implementation of the Aboriginal Youth Entrepreneurship Program in ten high schools across the province. Aboriginal youth are the fastest growing segment of the population and will be key drivers of the Canadian economy. The Aboriginal Youth Entrepreneurship Program is dedicated to ensuring that Aboriginal students are empowered with the skills and experience they need to fully participate in our growing economy, to enjoy greater economic self-reliance and a better quality of life. This brings the total number of schools offering the Aboriginal Youth Entrepreneurship program to 44 across the country.”

The Right Honourable Paul Martin

founder of the Martin Aboriginal Education Initiative

“This innovative program will help Aboriginal students gain the needed entrepreneurial skills to be leaders in both their community and across Ontario. By giving Aboriginal students opportunities for today and tomorrow, this program is another example of how our government’s economic plan is working for all Ontarians.”

David Zimmer

Minister of Aboriginal Affairs

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