Business and Investment Resources
Yellowknife has a healthy and supportive business culture — partly because of the logistics and challenges of running a business in the sub-Arctic. Here are some of the most useful resources for anyone investigating starting or investing in a business in the city:
Business Advice and Support
The Conseil de développement économique des TNO is a non-profit organization — and sponsor of this guide — that is committed to promoting, stimulating and supporting economic development. It offers a wide range of French-language services and assistance around entrepreneurship, including:
- Funding Applications: identifying funding opportunities and drafting applications to NWT agencies;
- Market Studies: evaluating potential markets and identifying target customers, price points, ideal locations and advertising;
- Business, marketing and communications plans;
- Business Management Support: advice on funding, inventory management, cash flow, etc.
- Organizational Development Support;
- Promotion of businesses and organizations via the CDETNO website, the RDEE Canada (The Network of Economic Development and Employability) website, social media and a monthly newsletter; and
- Regular networking activities and events.
For details, contact CDETNO’s Economic Development officer Gyslain Gamache at 867-873-5962 ext. 3, or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Akaitcho BDC, a non-governmental community-lending organization, offers lending services to all residents of Yellowknife and the nearby communities of Ndilo and Dettah. They provide technical advice, business skills development counselling and access to business capital. Repayable loans of up to $200,00 are available for small businesses.
Alain Chiasson, of Field Law’s Business Group, is the NWT’s leading Francophone business expert, with a large amount of experience and legal background in corporate law, business law and securities law. He also focuses on taxation and estate planning including, estate freezes, corporate reorganizations, tax litigation and the purchase or selling of shares and assets.
Bizpal is a relatively recent online service that gives entrepreneurs quick, one-stop access to information about business permits, licences and other requirements needed to start, operate and grow their business from the federal, provincial/territorial and City of Yellowknife governments.
BDC is Canada’s national business development bank, dedicated exclusively to entrepreneurs. Its mission is to help create and develop strong businesses through financing, advisory services and indirect financing, with a focus on small and medium-sized enterprises. Through its subsidiary BDC Capital it also offers a range of specialized financing, including venture capital and equity, as well as growth and business transition capital. It has a dedicated Yellowknife business centre that offers localized resources and advice.
The Government of the Northwest Territory’s Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment has an extensive set of tools and resources for prospective business owners and entrepreneurs in the NWT, including its Bizpal service, which provides one-stop access to permit and licence information across Canada. Its Services page offers information on a range of services from tourism development to help with networking. It’s also home to the Business Incentive Policy registry, which is a way for businesses with 51 percent NWT ownership to get preferred access when it comes to government procurement. You can find all the necessary BIP documents and forms, plus a further explanation of the policy, here.
The federal government of Canada offers centralized services in its Yellowknife office, presenting access to funding programs, its foreign worker employment service, labour market information and much more.
The MDDF offers financing to start, expand and maintain businesses in the NWT. Services include lines of credit, working capital loans, terms loans and business advisory services.
The BDIC is oriented more towards providing access to investment, including services such as term loans, letters of credit, venture investment, and entrepreneurial grants, but also operates as an information resource. It helps run the NWT operations of the Futurpreneur Canada program, which helps entrepreneurs write business plans and source financing. It also offers boot camps and matches new entrepreneurs with experienced ones, though their Mentorship program, Mentor-Me NWT.
NABA offers networking and other business resources among members of the Indigenous business community of the NWT. Individually, organizations such as the Tlicho Investment Corporation and Denedeh Investments develop economic opportunities related to their Indigenous communities and are important player sin the NWT’s economy.
Set up specifically to provide support, resources and opportunities to French-language investors, CDETNO’s Investment services act as a one-stop conduit between the international and national Francophone business community and Yellowknife and the Northwest Territories. A source of locally informed, globally experienced expertise, CDETNO provides information and strategic advice on subjects including subsidies and tax breaks, as well as access to a highly-qualified workforce.
The municipal government has over half-a-dozen development incentive programs, including Industrial Relocation, heritage Preservation and LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). As well, it has its own economic development initiatives, business resources and services, a one-stop resource for all permits, licenses and other necessary applications and forms, a business directory, and much more.
Again, the Government of the Northwest Territory’s Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment has an extensive set of tools and resources for prospective business owners and entrepreneurs in the NWT, including opportunities for investment in local sectors.
Another rich resource for potential investors in the Northwest Territories, Invest NWT compiles resources from government, independent agencies and other sources to provide a comprehensive set of links and information about legal business requirements, regulatory agencies, funding options, the NWT’s economic sectors and much more.
An independent Crown corporation, the BDIC delivers a full range of services as part of its mandate to develop and foster business in the NWT. Those services include term loans, letters of credit, venture investment, and entrepreneurial grants, as well as a wide range of educational opportunities and a drop-in centre with computers and library resources.