#BeTheDrum is an Entrepreneurial Navigation Program (ENP) venture developed by the Native Women’s Association of Canada designed to build the skills of Indigenous women entering the sphere of Business, Management and Entrepreneurship.

Since 2012, the Native Women’s Association of Canada has hosted several AWBEN conferences designed to build the skills of Indigenous women entering the sphere of Business, Management and Entrepreneurship. One of the requests from past participants called for ongoing support in the form of Peer Mentoring and Navigation– hence, #BeTheDrum was born!

For most Indigenous People, the sound of the drum stirs up a sense of belonging, a feeling of great joy in knowing that we are all connected in a way that gives us hope, and keeps us strong.

The drum signifies a calling to unite us in a place of healing, strength and momentum toward greatness. It helps to restore a power that already resides within us. We are not weak. We have the creativity and knowledge that the world needs – that Canada needs to help solve its problems. We are contributors, inventors, craftspeople, and most importantly problem solvers.

#BeTheDrum is a calling to existing and prospective entrepreneurs to come alive with determination, strengthened through the support of peer mentorship and navigation. Together we will build solutions to help bring our nation forward – to lift our communities and to break a new trail toward prosperity.

The impact of such support will increase the likelihood of business survival past the start up phase into a full-fledged enterprise, leading to a higher presence in the Economic Landscape of Indigenous Peoples and Canada.

This ongoing program offers several ways in which NWAC will engage and support budding Indigenous entrepreneurs including dedicated Entrepreneur Navigators and Mentors as well as through networking events and relevant workshops throughout the year

How to Join!

Join our community of support. Participation is free and open to Indigenous women, and gender diverse people in Canada, inclusive of First Nations on and off reserve, status and non-status, disenfranchised, Métis and Inuit. Those interested may contact any one of our team members below or email us at BeTheDrum@nwac.ca.

We have work to do, we all know there is much work to be done. #BeTheDrum

Finance Resources –Business

This business resource-section is still under development, however, we wanted to share some important links to assist you right now during the current COVID-19 Crisis. If you need help in navigating through any of the information below, please contact our team:

Emergency Help for Small Businesses during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Think Your Business can Help Provide an Essential Product/Service during COVID-19?
Business Grants and Financing
COVID-19: Managing Financial Health in Challenging Times
Links to Other Resources/Services to Help Grow Your Business

Hazel Harrison

Hazel Harrison is Inuit from the Inuvialuit Settlement Region of the Northwest Territories. She is a Canadian businesswoman and upcoming author of “Let’s Make Smoking History”. She studies Business at McMaster University, and has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Carleton University. Hazel is the Founder and CEO of Smart Addiction Technologies, a healthcare company and creator of Quit My Way V.2, an evidence-based smoking cessation app.

Hazel started her entrepreneurial career as a restaurant owner at 24 years old, a REALTOR® at 37, while simultaneously starting up a paving company for her family. Hazel has worked with Indigenous organizations for 15 years in areas of non-profit sector, educational & training, North warning system’s Department of National Defence and most recently with the Federal government, ATSSC Specific Claims Tribunal.

Hazel Harrison
Entrepreneur Navigator/Mentor

Email: hharrison@nwac.ca
Tel. (343) 961-6255
Click here to schedule a meeting with Hazel!

Nancy Duffy

Nancy Duffy is an instructor as well as an education and instructional design enthusiast who has worked as a creative entrepreneur since 2005. She has also worked in government as a constituent advocate at the federal level, as well as a Training Officer with Elections Canada and Elections Ontario.

In her entrepreneurial experience over the past 15 years, Nancy’s focus has been on helping clients in areas of strategic marketing, operational design management, corporate training, and executive recruiting. She has studied Course Design and Learning-Centred Teaching in Higher Education and has an honors degree in Communication, Media and Film. In 2019, Nancy completed her Master’s in Political Science with a focus on contentious politics and social movements. Nancy volunteers her time promoting adult literacy and is the host and producer of a podcast and radio talk show on current events, society, and culture.

Nancy Duffy
Workshop Facilitator / Instructor

Email: nduffy@nwac.ca
Tel. (343) 996-1759

Kaleena Halmai

Kaleena Halmai is part Plains Cree and resides in Ottawa, Ontario. She is a young professional with a robust background in International Policy. Prior to Kaleena’s current work at The Native Women’s Association of Canada she was an accredited freelance Make-up artist and a salon operations officer- she knows the inner workings of daily business operations.

At the beginning of her formative career in the beauty industry, Kaleena was at the helm of many front of house business operations. Although she began her professional career in an entirely different function than the one she is in today, she was keen on incorporating the promotion of Indigenous business into her operations through philanthropic events, and knowledge sharing with her colleagues

During Kaleena’s time at NWAC, she has been rewarded the CEO Award of Excellence and has paved her way into the International human rights system. She has used her strengths in research and communication to write many essential documents for NWAC, and create positive relationships with external bodies. Kaleena continues to deepen her knowledge of national and international Indigenous issues through studying at the University of Ottawa for Indigenous Studies.

Kaleena Halmai
Entrepreneurial Navigator

Email: khalmai@nwac.ca
Tel. (343) 961-6152

Apply to the Entrepreneur Navigation Program