Economic Development; Building Individual Capacity to plug-into Community-based Economies; Aboriginal Canadian Entrepreneurs (ACE) Program

Sponsor Organization: National Consortium for Indigenous Economic Development at University of Victoria


This session will focus on the unique design, development and delivery of the Aboriginal Canadian Entrepreneurs (ACE) Program (which is a combination of experiential learning exercises, mentorship and teaching from distinguished university educators and community leaders to ensure Aboriginal entrepreneurs with the skills to build a sustainable business).This session reports an approach to Indigenous Economic Development through the International award winning Aboriginal Canadian Entrepreneurs Program (ACE) (see, of UVic’s Gustavson School of Business and the Aboriginalā€ owned Tribal Resources Investment Corporation (TRICORP). The ACE program is national and internationally recognized for 2 key innovations: (1) delivering in Indigenous community, and (2) integration of Aboriginal cultural elements into the curriculum from the Aboriginal perspective.

Participants will Learn

  • The best practices (wise practices) we have learned by offering 14 entrepreneurship programs in various communities across BC.
  • How to design, development and delivery an Aboriginal Entrepreneurship Program in your community.
  • How to best link your community’s / Nation economic development strategies to an entrepreneurial initiatives.


Brent Mainprize
Program Director of Aboriginal Canadian Entrepreneurs Program.
Renée Letellier
Manager of the National Consortium for Indigenous Economic Development, University of Victoria.

Presenter Biographies

Dr. Brent Mainprize, MBA, PhD, professor at the University of Victoria’s Gustavson School of Business, teaches entrepreneurship and Aboriginal economic development. Brent has over 17 years' experience as an entrepreneurship educator, academic, and facilitator of economic change in Aboriginal communities. He brings a wealth of expertise and experience to the NCIED. During his career, Brent has been invited to over 40 Aboriginal communities in British Columbia to research and design unique programs that promote leadership and self reliance through economic development and entrepreneurship. In 2016, Northwest Aboriginal Canadian Entrepreneurs (NW-ACE™), one of the programs that Brent co-developed with an Aboriginal business leader, won national, North American and international educational awards.------

Renée Letellier has a diverse professional career that includes small businesses, government and a multi-national corporation. She helped re-structure organizations and her proven track record includes coordinating complex projects with multi million dollar budgets to meet objectives and deliverables on time. With her unique combination of business experience, Renée liaised effectively with a wide range of stakeholder groups. Renée has a Métis background; her paternal grandmother was Cree and her grandfather was French Canadian.