A new course to help small businesses obtain government procurement contracts is making the rounds of small communities.
The course was due to start in Pond Inlet from Feb. 14 to 16, then in Pangnirtung from Feb. 20 to 23, and ends in Iglulik from March 21 to 23.
“We had a pilot delivery in November, with three Inuit-owned businesses present. It went very well, observers from the Government of Canada administration were present to see what this course was all about,” says Glenn Cousins, manager of partnership and planning with Kakivak Association.
The project was created from a partnership with Indigenous Services Canada, which aimed to help businesses build capacity around federal, provincial and territorial government procurement.
“That is how discussions started, we wanted to honour article 24 to assist more Inuit businesses to pursue government opportunities,” said Cousins.
The goal of article 24 is explained on Nunavut Tunngavik’s website as follows: “The government of Canada and the territorial government shall provide reasonable support and assistance to Inuit firms in accordance with this Article to enable them to compete for government contracts.”
This initiative is also due to the Inuit-Crown Partnership Committee, created in 2017 between the Trudeau administration and the president of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami.
Kristof Karcza will be leading the course as a business instructor. “Kristof has many years of business and economic development experience. He has personally delivered workshops in a few communities across Nunavut in the past as well,” said Cousins.
When asked what could a small business owner expect to learn from the course, Cousins said “The goal overall is an introduction to government procurement; giving information on procurement, seeing it as something that might be good or bad for their business, where to register for the various registrations or permits, anything that touches federal and provincial/territorial government really,” said the manager.
The course is three days long, starts in the morning and ends in the evening. “It takes a bit of time to go through everyone’s questions and all the troubleshooting of the specific registrations each individual business needs,” said Cousins.
The course is given in English and Inuktitut and will soon be available online as well.
“The online course is not ready yet, but once it is, it will be available in English and four different dialects of Inuktitut. One of our goals was to eliminate any barrier from accessing the course, making it available online is definitely a step in the right direction. Having the different dialects available, not only written but also narrated, took a fair amount of effort, but it was really important to get that done for us.
Cousins advised any Inuit-owned business interested to sign up for the course as there are still places available.