Seventeen Indigenous entrepreneurs will graduate this week from the Joint Economic Development Initiative’s Indigenous Business Incubator and Accelerator programs.

Fredericton-based JEDI, as the organization is known, is an economic development agency for Native communities in New Brunswick. It hosts both incubator and accelerator programs to help Indigenous entrepreneurs launch or expand their businesses.

The JEDI Indigenous Business Incubator is a 10-week program overseen by Artful Sciences owner Frank Erschen, and it helps participants develop their ideas into viable business models.  

The JEDI Indigenous Business Accelerator is designed for established businesses and provides participants with the tools to excel in advanced business opportunities with industry and government. The 10-week program, designed by BDO Canada, is personalized for each business based on its needs and goals.

“You can pay someone to write a business plan but JEDI’s 10-week incubator program taught me how to do it myself and own it,” said Nicole Pelletier, owner of A la Shoppe, after going through the program.

Some of the current Incubator and Accelerator participants are developing and expanding businesses in tourism, trades, retail, food production, beauty, and fashion design. The JEDI Indigenous Business Incubator and Accelerator programs are supported by the governments of Canada and New Brunswick and the First Nation communities in New Brunswick.

“It is exciting to see so many Indigenous peoples engaged in JEDI’s programs and we are happy to be able to provide them with the support and mentorship they need,” said JEDI President Alex Dedam. “Our Business Incubator program focuses on helping start-ups build their businesses while our Business Accelerator helps established companies grow and expand. JEDI’s first Indigenous Business Accelerator started in January 2016 and the demand for our entrepreneurial services continues to grow every year.”

The graduates are:

Incubator grads:

Amy Pelletier - Kwey (Aboriginal and classic fusion cuisine)

Bradley Dedam - Beta Entertainment 

Brady Dedam - Beta Entertainment  

Cody Caplin - Eel River Bar Riverside Cabins

Dora Polchies - Helping Hands

Dylan Ward - Shiftwork Recording

Greg Johnson - Two Guns Outfitters

Greg Patles – First Nations Hobby Farm

Matthew Mayer - Konnective Consulting

Nicole Pelletier - À la Shop

Paige Polches - Kwey Beauty

Randy Perley - Tommy Hawk Barber Shop

Sgoagani Wecenisqon - NiiN Designs

Accelerator Grads:

Jolene Johnson – Wabanaki Maple

Jonas Nash – JBN Welding

Martin Bear – Bear Construction

Sue Bear – Bear Construction

“The business incubation process transitions a person with a dream into a ready-to-go entrepreneur with a business plan,” said Erschen. “Incubator participants worked hard throughout the program to discover what it takes to turn their idea into a viable business. Most inspiring for us is watching participants use their new knowledge to plan their upcoming business journey and develop the confidence to effectively communicate their plan.”