Ontario Invests $175,000 in Experience Akwesasne Welcome Centre

March 12, 2016
By Bob Peters

Cornwall Ontario – Ontario is investing more than $175,000 to help establish the new Experience Akwesasne Welcome Centre located at the Peace Tree Trade Centre on Kawehno:ke (Cornwall Island).

The investment is being funded through the Aboriginal Economic Development Fund (AEDF).

The Experience Akwesasne Welcome Centre opened to visitors in October 2015 and features local artists, promotes local businesses and supports local tourism and events. The Welcome Centre is just a short drive from downtown Cornwall via the new bridge across the St. Lawrence River.

“The Aboriginal Economic Development Fund is helping Indigenous businesses, communities and organizations create, diversify and collaborate,” said David Zimmer, Ontario Minister of Aboriginal Affairs.  “The Experience Akwesasne Welcome Centre helps to increase local economic activity and help to ensure a prosperous and bright future for the community.”

Supporting economic development for Indigenous communities is one of many steps on Ontario’s journey of healing and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. It reflects the government’s commitment to work with Indigenous partners, creating a better future for everyone in the province.

“We are pleased to have been able to partner with Ontario to bring the Akwesasne Welcome Centre to fruition,” said Abram Benedict, Grand Chief of the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne. “The welcome centre gives the traveling public a place to stop into and learn more about our community and also see artwork from the many Akwesasronon artisans from within the community. The opening of our new welcome centre is just another step forward we are taking in working with our partners to raise the positive profile of our community.”

Ontario is investing $25 million over three years in Indigenous businesses and communities. To date, Ontario has funded 43 projects with Indigenous partners through the AEDF and has also partnered with six Aboriginal financial institutions to deliver the AEDF Business and Community Fund, which provides grants for economic capacity-building projects in Indigenous communities and business financing for promising community projects and Indigenous-owned businesses.

“”Investing in Ontario’s Aboriginal communities is an important part of our plan to grow our economy and create jobs,” said Brad Duguid, Minister of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure. “The Aboriginal Economic Development Fund is just one mechanism through which communities across Ontario have access to resources needed to develop skills, allow them to be innovative and be drivers of our economy now and in years to come. I am proud of what the Experience Akwesasne Welcome Centre has accomplished already and I look forward to following more of its successes in the future.”

Indigenous communities and entrepreneurs are encouraged to contact their local Aboriginal financial institutions to discuss funding for their prospective business projects through the Business and Community Fund.

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