CCAB is proud to announce this year’s recipients for the following awards
Mikisew Group - 2021 Aboriginal Economic Development Corporation
Mikisew Group of Companies, based in Alberta, strives to transcend economic prosperity and self-reliance in the Mikisew Cree First Nations. Their goal to work towards economic and community development is exhibited in their tagline Pride of a Nation meaning to drive innovation, corporate performance, and pride of operation among their community’s businesses.
Mikisew Cree First Nation members reside in northeastern Alberta’s Athabasca Delta and Wood Buffalo National Park. Mikisew has over 3,000 members with both Mikisew Group and Mikisew Government and Industry Relations working to ensure long-term, sustainable, and economic progress.
With the decline of Mikisew’s traditional economy created by a commercial fishery and fur trade, they pivoted to the oil and gas sector within their traditional territory in 1991. Now balancing environmental concerns, while providing economic benefits to their members, Mikisew Group of Companies has 13 operating entities. They develop capacity among their employees, employ members from the community, and generate sustainable returns. In addition, Mikisew Cree First Nation has majority interest in two Fort McMurray hotels, along with ownership in a major remote solar farm in Fort Chipewyan.
“On behalf of the entire Mikisew Group team, the Mikisew Group Board of Directors, and the Mikisew Cree First Nation leadership I’d like to thank the CCAB for this award. It is truly an honour to be the 2021 recipients of the AEDC award and be recognized among an outstanding group of past winners. This award is the result of the unwavering dedication and commitment from the Mikisew Cree First Nation leadership, and our team at the Mikisew Group, to having economic development serve as the beacon of purpose,” says Dan Gallagher, Interim CEO at Mikisew Group.
Cory Stephens - 2021 Award for Excellence in Aboriginal Relations
An alumnus of Gustafson School of Business, University of Victoria, Cory Stephens has dedicated his knowledge and expertise to bridging the gap between Indigenous entrepreneurs and the national business landscape while respecting tradition and culture and encouraging connection and understanding with non-Indigenous society.
In 2013, Stephens was approached by the University of Victoria to join the newly created Indigenous Advancement of Cultural Entrepreneurship (I-ACE) program (formerly known as NW-ACE) aimed at teaching entrepreneurs start-up methodology. He became the Learning and Enhancement Officer and Program Manager for the Northwest. He has been recognized by peers for the “operational success” of the program and its many awards. In the eight-year history of the program, there have been 40 cohorts of the program resulting in 564 graduates, 184 new businesses and 67 Indigenous communities served. Stephens continues to be a mentor to these budding entrepreneurs and businesspeople.
“Entrepreneurship, from a First Nation's perspective, is often a strategic balance between community, culture and commerce,” said Stephens. “As an entrepreneur, teacher, mentor and coach, my greatest reward is the gratitude expressed from those who now see the world from a different perspective. That is, envisioning opportunity through an entrepreneurial lens, while remaining true to our Indigenous values. I am honoured that my life's work and pursuit to build bridges and entrepreneurial capacity among First Nations, is being recognized by Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business.”