With the signing of an official memorandum of understanding, North Forge and the Opaskwayak Cree Nation (OCN) announce the creation of a new partnership that aims to advance innovation in the Treaty 5 traditional territory within northern Manitoba.
Opaskwayak is a self-governing and culturally aware Cree Nation of 6,200 members that is represented by the Onekanew mena Onuschekewuk. The overall strategy of OCN is to plan for a more successful, self-sufficient and healthy community.
This unique collaboration between North Forge and OCN sets the stage to cultivate economic development opportunities that would foster growth into the global economy. The exciting new venture will also help entrepreneurs living in OCN with finding available resources, so they become successful business owners. It will be an opportunity that will create real value for residents, customers, investors and stakeholders.
“Our partnership with North Forge will allow for our own membership to explore and expand their business ventures in a whole new way,” said OCN’s Onekanew Christian Sinclair. “Our community members are brilliant and forward thinkers that are in touch with both worlds. Being able to weave the western approach and our traditional Cree knowledge allows for the potential of small and medium type businesses to tap into the global market. This new path we are on with North Forge will make it much easier for us to become self-sufficient and less dependant on the government system.”
North Forge will help OCN showcase its entrepreneurs to a broader market by helping those startups find a path to commercialization. That work will be accomplished through mentorship, business supports and prototyping equipment – while providing access to a larger network of contacts and resources through its new office location in The Pas.
“Getting to work with entrepreneurs from across Manitoba is an important part of our economic mandate,” said Teresa Dukes, president of North Forge. “There are brilliant inventors who are developing new products and services at OCN, and we are delighted to be able to provide those entrepreneurs with the tools and resources they need to commercialize.”
The two entities will work together to identify joint opportunities for commercialization support while identifying and fostering new economic growth opportunities that will have a positive impact on the economic growth of the OCN traditional territory, the province, and the entire country.