In 2012 the Native Women’s Association of Canada launched the Aboriginal Woman’s Business Entrepreneurship Network (AWBEN) as part of the collective goal to enhance, promote and foster the social, economic, cultural and political well-being of Indigenous women within Canada. The vision of AWBEN is to:

  • provide a safe, supportive, collaborative, empowering and culturally supportive environment that addresses the unique challenges of female Aboriginal entrepreneurs and aspiring female Aboriginal entrepreneurs
  • enhance, develop and accelerate growth for current and aspiring female Aboriginal entrepreneurs in a sustainable way through programs and resources
  • promote Community leadership through volunteerism as a reflection of respect and reciprocity and will be paramount to the foundation of the Aboriginal Women’s Business Entrepreneurship Network

The AWBEN Grant was launched in 2014 to assist Aboriginal women entrepreneurs to start up or advance their business. AWBEN would like to thank Women Who Rock for their financial contribution this year to the Native Women’s Association of Canada Strategic Partnership Agreement unit.

Each year, the Aboriginal Women’s Business Entrepreneurship Network is honoured to present two grant opportunities to dynamic and deserving Indigenous women to assist them is starting up their own business.

Congratulations to our lucky winners!

The future is a rainbow of beautiful tomorrows when you hold a dream in your heart!

$2,000.00 Winner – Cassie Michell, Owner, Little Foot Advanced Foot Care

Essay excerpt:  My business name is Little Foot Advanced Foot Care, offering mobile Foot Care.  My family is from the Nlatka’pamux Nation and the community of Kanaka Bar Indian Band.  My main goal for this company will be to service Aboriginal communities throughout the Interior (B.C.) as there are often limited health services available.  I believe this is an opportunity to build a strong business, as well as maintain and educated on the importance of healthy feet.

In November of 2014, Cassie attended Advanced Foot Care for nurses through Vancouver Community College.  She graduated as a Licensed Practical Nurse in March 2010.  She has started her business offering mobile foot care to both clients in Kamloops, as well as in Aboriginal Communities throughout the Interior B.C.  She specializes in working with seniors and those with diabetes.


$1,000.00 Winner – June Kelly, Owner, Operator, Certified Herbalist, Up the Hill at Loakin Herbal Products

Essay excerpt:  My business is named in honour of my parents.  As children we used to say, we were going Up the Hill when we went to the homesteads.  I remember this fondly and remember my heritage when I say the name of my Company.

June is a certified herbalist and graduated from the College of the Rockies, Herbal Practitioner program.  She has set up her business, Up the Hill at Loakin in her territory.  Her plan is to move her business to her homestead on Neskonilith Inidan Band and grow herbs to sell.