Business advisor earning praise for various First Nations economic and business projects
By Sam Laskaris
Jason Rasevych has earned his share of praise for spearheading a number of projects in various First Nations in northern Ontario.
A number of post-secondary institutions offer programs on economic and business development.
None of these programs, however, focus on the specific needs of Indigenous communities.
Jason Rasevych, who recently launched his own company and works as a business advisor, has a proven track record working with Indigenous communities. For more than 15 years now Rasevych, a member of the Ginoogaming First Nation in northern Ontario, has worked with various First Nations, government departments and community economic development corporations.
“Not everybody can work with First Nation communities,” he said of graduates from economic development programs. “You need to have the book smarts and you need to have the street smarts.”
Rasevych, a 35-year-old who lives in Thunder Bay, Ont., obviously has those traits as he has received plenty of praise for a number of projects he’s been involved with.
His efforts have also led him to be one of four nominees for this year’s Cando economic development officer of the year.
Cando, the national organization which promotes Indigenous economic development, also annually hands out awards to the community of the year and in the Aboriginal Private Sector Business category.
The 2018 winners will be announced at the Cando Conference, scheduled for Oct. 22-25 in Enoch, Alta.
One of the ventures Rasevych was instrumental in was a $69 million project, officially announced this past October, which will bring Internet access to five remote First Nation communities in northern Ontario.
“It’s going to be life transformational,” Rasevych said.
Those communities will be connected online to the rest of the world and Rasevych believes one of the greatest components of this project will be the telehealth and telemedicine services which will become available to those on the various First Nations.
“It will help them stay at home and save costs instead of having them fly out to urban communities,” he said.
Another project Rasevych spearheaded and is rather proud of is the historic agreement reached earlier this year between three First Nations in northwestern Ontario and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. The deal gives the First Nations forest management and harvesting rights to the Ogoki Forest.
Rasevych’s other accomplishments include leading a 20-year Aboriginal tourism plan, which could potentially bring 20,000 visitors per year to nine First Nations in northern Ontario and developing renewable energy concepts, potentially to be used by not only First Nation communities in his province but across the country as well.