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CBU Receives $5M To Train Aboriginal Students In Business And Entrepreneurship

Thursday, March 21st, 2013, marked a monumental day in the history of Cape Breton University (CBU), as Federal Finance Minister, Jim Flaherty, announced a $5 million investment in CBU to expand the work of the Purdy Crawford Chair in Aboriginal Business Studies nationally. With the goal of imagining, planning and strategizing a new economic future for Aboriginal Canadians through success in business, the Purdy Crawford Chair clearly aligns itself with the Federal Framework for Aboriginal Economic Development.

This significant funding will allow the Purdy Crawford Chair to undertake an unprecedented attempt at national capacity building in business studies, encouragement in entrepreneurism, and dissemination of best practices in proven economic models. The outcome of the national expansion will mean a new generation of university educated business professionals will emerge in Aboriginal Canada. Their input in, and into their home communities, should lead to more efficient organizational structures, stronger and more varied funding proposals and the development of sustainable community economic development models.

“The Crawford Chair has had unprecedented, current access to both Aboriginal post-secondary students and national representatives of groups/organizations representing government, First Nations, Métis and Inuit,” says Dr. Keith Brown, holder of the Purdy Crawford Chair and

Vice-President External of CBU. “While the expansion of the work of the Crawford Chair will not provide a “quick, easy fix”, it does provide a fact based approach founded upon best practices. The goals and deliverables of the Chair are aggressive and if successful will create pockets of business success across the country which can become a catalyst for further growth and development.”

The Purdy Crawford Chair in Aboriginal Business Studies will focus its work in essentially four areas: research on what drives success in Aboriginal business, national student recruitment – business, enhancement of the business curriculum and youth mentorship. The work of the Crawford Chair must be enhanced by partnerships with universities, national/regional Aboriginal bodies and advocacy groups to extend both the reach and resources of this initiative. Specifically, the national model will develop a National Aboriginal Youth Business Mentorship Program (NAYBMP), establish a National Social Network of Aboriginal Students currently studying Business, students interested in studying business and mentors, development of National Business Success Stories and a National Summit of Aboriginal Students will take place annually.

“CBU is a leader in Aboriginal post-secondary education. We are so proud to have the Purdy Crawford Chair in Aboriginal Business Studies within the Shannon School of Business, and equally honoured that one of Canada’s business icons and one of CBU’s greatest friends, Mr. Purdy Crawford, has loaned us his name and experiences to conduct this project,” says Mr. Joseph Shannon, Chair of the Shannon School of Business Advisory Board. “The question is not does the country need Aboriginal youth to participate fully in the Canadian economy; the question is how to achieve this goal. And with this funding and the expansion of the Chair, that question will be answered.”

“Today’s announcement is great news for our people, our communities and our country as a whole,” says Chief Terry Paul, Membertou. “The education of our young people is crucial. This must be our future! Self reliance and self governance will only come with economic independence and the foundation for this is the study of business.”

For more information on the Purdy Crawford Chair visit www.cbu.ca/crawford.