Banff Centre’s Indigenous Business and Economic Development


Neyaskweyahk Group of Companies Inc.(NGCI) Chairman Trent Blind is faculty member for the Banff Centre’s Indigenous Business and Economic Development Program and advises and facilitates on current subjects and opportunities for Indigenous Nations. The program is a 5-day program offered at the Banff Centre once per year, usually in February.   This year the program runs from February 11thto February 15th, 2019.

NGCI origin was based on the principals found in the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development.

Sovereignty Matters. When Native nations make their own decisions about what development approaches to take, they consistently out-perform external decision makers on matters as diverse as governmental form, natural resource management, economic development, health care, and social service provision.

Institutions Matter. For development to take hold, assertions of sovereignty must be backed by capable institutions of governance. Nations do this as they adopt stable decision rules, establish fair and independent mechanisms for dispute resolution, and separate politics from day-to-day business and program management.

Culture Matters. Successful economies stand on the shoulders of legitimate, culturally grounded institutions of self-government. Indigenous societies are diverse; each nation must equip itself with a governing structure, economic system, policies, and procedures that fit its own contemporary culture.

Leadership Matters. Nation building requires leaders who introduce new knowledge and experiences, challenge assumptions, and propose change. Such leaders, whether elected, community, or spiritual, convince people that things can be different and inspire them to take action.

Indigenous Leaders in Economic Development who partake in the weeklong dynamic program are reminded, “building effective economic policy will help achieve more successful, sustainable, and self-determined economic activity.  In this program, fundamental issues of governance, such as the creation of culturally appropriate governmental institutions and the role of Indigenous leaders in effectively planning, creating, and promoting economic policy for self-determined Indigenous development will be examined. Having determined these foundations, the program will shift focus to the realities of doing business with Indigenous communities, Indigenous-owned companies and institutions, and individual Indigenous entrepreneurs.”