Goldcorp's Sweet Success with the Lac Seul Small Business Equity Fund

Aug 27, 2014 1:00 PM ET

Sustainability Report

At Goldcorp, our vision is "Together, Creating Sustainable Value" – and this means creating value in our local communities and for our partners. A landmark moment for us in 2013 was signing the Obishikokaang Collaboration Agreement with the Lac Seul First Nation (LSFN), establishing a mutually beneficial partnership. This presents unique opportunities for local entrepreneurs from the Lac Seul community through the Lac Seul Small Business Equity (SBE) Fund.

The Lac Seul SBE Fund was created and funded with a $1 million contribution by Red Lake Gold Mines to assist with capital funding of new First Nation businesses and to expand existing businesses. Funding is available through either grants or loans and must be used as business equity. The fund is available to the LSFN band as well as LSFN members who bring forward a sustainable and solid business plan that will contribute to the economic development of the local area.

The first fund application was made by the LSFN band, with an idea that seems central to Canadian culture from coast to coast: a Tim Hortons cafe. The band opened the Tim Hortons in Sioux Lookout, Ontario, which is a few hours south of Red Lake. As the main hub for fly-in/fly-out northern communities, and one of the largest towns within the LSFN traditional territory, the Sioux Lookout location made good business sense, and would offer employment to local band members living in the area.

While the story has a sweet ending, there were plenty of challenges involved in the start-up. Managers from the LSFN went on a seven-week training course that involved hands-on experience at the busy Oakville, Ontario, Tim Hortons location. Back in Sioux Lookout, they then had to transfer that training to their local recruits – many of whom came from the LSFN. The local team had to learn the ropes of bakery production and customer service.

Now, the LSFN and the Tim Hortons management and staff have good reason to celebrate: they reached $1 million in sales during their first year, receiving a milestone award in 2013. There seems to be no sign of slowing down: during the early part of their second year, they also exceeded their next million dollars in sales. Now with each doughnut or double-double sold, the Lac Seul Small Business Equity Fund is contributing to the sweet success of local business development.

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