Community Category

2014 - Nisga'a Lisims Government
2013 - Kahkewistahaw Economic Management Corporation
2012 - Membertou First Nation
2011 - Moricetown Band

2010 - Chippewa Industrial Developments Ltd.
2009 - Enoch Cree Nation
2008 - Kamloops Indian Band
2007 - Little Shuswap Indian Band
2006 - Whitecap Dakota First Nation
2005 - Long Plain First Nation
2004 - Piikuni Wind Power
2003 - Membertou Corporate Division
2002 - Aboriginal Business Development Center

2015 Community Economic Developer of the Year Award Winner

Penticton Indian Band Development Corporation, BC

PentictonAs the for-profit business investment and development division for the Penticton Indian Band, the Penticton Indian Band Development Corporation (PIBDC) was formed to manage the band’s business portfolio and to foster the development of a sustainable economy. The PIBDC has had many great achievements in less than a decade of operation; from the modest beginnings of a river tubing business, they are now leading the development of Penticton’s only resort-style planned community and involved in a large-scale collaborative project with the City of Penticton. Focusing on responsible and sustainable business practices, PIBDC’s businesses have led to successful job creation, training opportunities, and wealth generation for the Penticton Indian Band. PIBDC currently oversees a number of diverse businesses:

  • Skaha Hills is an award-winning, seven-phase “resort-style” community. It is designed to be the most energy efficient housing in all of BC, and will be situated on a spectacular 550-acre site along the south Okanagan hillside. The first phases of this development are already sold out.
  • Westhills Aggregate LP specializes in construction sand and gravel services; in addition to trucking and delivering construction products for customers, Westhills Aggregates also employs excavation equipment that allows for both small and large construction jobs.
  • Coyote Cruises LP is home of the South Okanagan’s hottest summer attraction, providing tube rentals and transportation to visitors along Penticton’s River Channel. Operating during the summer months, Coyote Cruises services over 100,000 people per year from around the globe.
  • Sn’pink’tn Forestry LP manages the Penticton Indian Band’s forest resources, addressing forest health issues and managing interface fire hazards.

The PIBDC has recently completed a health care centre and a cultural school. In addition, they are currently finalizing an official Comprehensive Community Plan, which identifies lands to be protected and lands to be designated for development such as residential, industrial, commercial, recreational, etc.

The PIBDC strives to form relationships and lines of communication with outside partners, including communities, government, and corporations. These relationships have provided the PIBDC with invaluable advice and expertise, and have created development opportunities. They are currently partnering with the City of Penticton on Satikw Crossing, a major development project that will connect the economies of the two communities. With the construction of a bridge across the Okanagan River Parkway Channel, an intersection feeding onto the proposed bridge, and a potable and fire protection water distribution line, the long-term goal for this project is to open up Penticton Indian Band lands for development of a hotel, retail space, and a business park.

The Penticton Indian Band and the PIBDC are distinguished by the relationships they have forged with communities and external partners. Their innovative and successful development ventures have won them numerous awards while transforming their economic prospects. The PIBDC has achieved outstanding business success in less than ten years using a combination of traditional values, collective community vision, relationship building, and strong leadership, paving the path to a future of self-determination.

2015 Community Economic Developer of the Year Award Recognition Recipient

English River First Nation, SK

English RiverThe English River First Nation (ERFN) is fiercely independent, with an entrepreneurial spirit that has driven its members to succeed, both individually and as a community. The leadership of ERFN strives to make the First Nation self-reliant and create new opportunities for economic development. ERFN has made great strides in community development over the past two decades, especially since establishing Des Nedhe Development in 1991.

The first roads on the reserve were built in the mid-1990s. In the twenty years since, ERFN has taken enormous strides, becoming a modern community with an impressive amount of infrastructure and amenities. ERFN now features modern housing, a water and waste treatment plant, a daycare centre, a K-12 school, a gas bar and confectionary, hairdressing services, a radio and television station, the Riverside Restaurant, and the Great River Health Centre.

One of the first economic catalysts for ERFN was the signing of the Treaty Land Entitlement Agreement Framework Agreement in 1992. After signing the agreement, EFRN made its land selections strategically, with the goal of positioning the community well for future economic development, and maximizing community wealth and employment opportunities. These land selections now house retail operations and a business centre, providing a base for its real estate and retail operations.

In 1991, the EFRN Chief and Council created their business arm, Des Nedhe Development. Des Nedhe’s mission was to build viable and sustainable community economic development opportunities for ERFN, including business and employment opportunities. Des Nedhe has an experienced management team leading the way in four main divisions: construction and mining, investments, retail, and real estate. In 2014, Des Nedhe employed more than 135 members, owned nine ERFN companies and numerous investments, and paid $2.6 million in wages to band members.

In their construction and mining division, Des Nedhe owns Tron Construction and Mining, which employs 91 ERFN members. ERFN co-owns Mudjatatik Thyssen Mining Joint Venture, which is estimated to accrue $300 million in revenue during 2014-2017, and Minetec, which saw a 70 percent increase in sales in 2013-2014. ERFN also has an Investment portfolio that includes Athabasca Catering and Meadow Lake Tribal Council Resource Development, and in 2015, Des Nedhe purchased a majority interest in Creative Fire. In the real estate division, ERFN’s English River Property Management owns 134.61 acres in the Saskatoon area and 2.8 acres in the Beauval region. In the retail division, EFRN owns and operates a general store, as well as three gas bars and convenience stores.

English River First Nation is considered a shining example of what can occur at a First Nation when it is well managed and guided by strong leadership. ERFN is considered by other communities in northwest Saskatchewan to be a success story, with the leadership of ERFN readily sharing their advice and expertise with nearby communities. ERFN has been very successful in able to build a community that works for and is accountable to the members it serves, while fulfilling its mission of creating wealth and job opportunities for members.