Waubetek Highlights

Milestones (1986-2020)


November 25, 1986  

Letter and proposal from Clayton Shawana of Wikwemikong to Employment & Immigration Canada (now Human Resources Development Canada) seeking recognition for the establishment of an Aboriginal exclusive Community Futures Committee in the area of Manitoulin and Spanish River. During this time, the Waubetek Development Group (comprised of Angus Toulouse, Lewis Debassige, Patrick Madahbee, Joe Hare, Clayton Shawana, Wayne Kaboni & Loretta Roy) was established to oversee the development of a feasibility study and business plan for a business development corporation. The plan was approved and Waubetek Business Development Corporation was incorporated in August 29, 1989 and Dawn Madahbee was hired as General Manager.


October 2, 1989     


The Waubetek Business Development Corporation establishes their office and holds an opening ceremony on the Whitefish River First Nation with four staff in place (General Manager, Administrative Assistant, Business Services Co-ordinator and Special Advisor Contract Position).


May 1990             


Waubetek disbursed its first loan.


June 1991       


Waubetek begins its bursary program with a bursary to a secondary school graduate who attended the Espanola High School and who is entering into a post secondary program; business, accounting and economics diploma program.


April 1995        


The original Waubetek Development Group is consolidated with the Waubetek Business Development Corporation Board of Directors.

Waubetek disbursed its 150th loan.


November 1999       


Waubetek hosts its second Aboriginal Women in Business Luncheon


May 2000    


Waubetek hosted a meeting with the Chiefs of the eight (8) founding First Nations to discuss a proposed expansion of the territory served by Waubetek to include another nineteen (19) First Nations and Metis clients through a proposed pilot project with Aboriginal Business Canada to be known as the Alternate Service Delivery Pilot Project where funds and approved authorities are delegated to Waubetek for the Aboriginal Business Canada Program.

Waubetek also begins delivering the Aborginal Business Deveopment Initiative Enhanced Access to Capital Program which provides financing to Aboriginal Capital Corporations and Aboriginal-exclusive Community Futures Organizations to lend to clients in regions that are not serviced by an Aboriginal Financial Institution.

In co-operation with the local tourism steering committee, Waubetek assists, hosts and launches of the “Great Spirit Circle Trail” tourism initiative which promotes local Aboriginal businesses, products, services and events.  The launch takes place at the Manitoulin Trade Fair in Little Current with Sudbury media covering the occasion.


November 2000         


Waubetek becomes a member of the National Aboriginal Capital Corporation Association (NACCA).


July 2001         


Waubetek begins delivery of the “Local Initiative Fund” which is a small economic development fund of up to $5,000 per project.  This fund is only available through Waubetek for projects within the founding communtities. Other communities may access this similar funding from the Community Futures groups in their regions.


August 2002    


Waubetek hosts its 1st Charity Golf Tournament at the Wikwemikong Golf Course on August 16, 2002.  The monies raised from the tournament went towards the Canadian Diabetes Association and to the establishment of the Waubetek Scholarship/Bursary Fund.


March 2003   


Waubetek produces their first television commercial.  The commercial was filmed by MCTV and aired March 10 -14, 2003 during the Little NHL 2003.


October 2004         


Waubetek hosts an open house in celebration of Small Business Week and Community Futures Development Corporation day.  The open house welcomed over twenty (20) visitors from surrounding communities.

Waubetek has supported businesses through the loan fund and has created employment for 589 people of which 361 were full time, 157 part time and 71 seasonal.  A further 371 jobs were maintained through business expansion.  Another 199 jobs were created through projects initiated by Waubetek which did not involve the loan fund.


December 2005        


Waubetek founder and friend, Clayton Shawana, passes on to the Spirit World. We greatly miss him and his guidance.


August 2006          


A delegation of twenty (20) people from Bangladesh visited Waubetek on a trade mission to learn about community-based economic development models.


January 2008         


A Russian Delegation from East Russia visited Waubetek, as well as The Great Spirit Circle Trail and Ojibwe Cultural Foundation to look Regional Economic Development models.


August 2009                  


Waubetek celebrates 20 years of “Investing in the Aboriginal Business Spirit” on August 27, 2009.


April 2013                 


Waubetek starts delivery of the Aboriginal Business Equity Program (former Aboriginal Business Development Program) throughout Southern Ontario in partnership with:  Indian Agricultural Program of Ontario, Metis Voyageur Development Fund, Miziwe Biik Aboriginal Employment and Training, Ohwistha Capital Corporation, Tecumseh Community Development Corporation, and Two Rivers Community Development Centre.


June 2013         


Waubetek hosts the “Innovation:  Procurement Information Forum” in Sudbury in partnership with the Greater Sudbury Economic Development Corporation.

Waubetek initiates a Mentorship program to aid participants in the Youth Entrepreneurship Program. 


October 2014      


Waubetek Business Development Corporation celebrates 25 years of Investing in the Aboriginal Spirit!  A celebration took place at the Manitoulin Hotel and Conference Centre on October 4, 2014. 


February 2015          


The Aboriginal Fisheries program delivered by Waubetek conducted Asset Mapping regional sessions in Nipissing and Aundeck Omni Kaning First Nations.

Waubetek partnered with the Sudbury Regional Business Centre for the Aboriginal Women in Business Day in Sudbury with Jennifer Twigg, of Twiggs Coffee Roasters, as the keynote speaker.

Waubetek is identified as one of eleven organizations in Ontario to deliver Social Enterprise Demonstration Fund. Waubetek is allocated $450,000 which we match for Social Enterprises.

Waubetek receives approval to deliver the Ontario Government’s Aboriginal Economic Development Fund (total fund over two years is $2.5 million).


August 2015


Waubetek met with a Maori delegation from New Zealand to discuss Aquaculture and Fisheries opportunties.


September 2015


Waubetek has invested $70 million in more then 3,000 Aboriginal business initiatives.


November 2015


Longtime Waubetek Vice-Chairperson Harry Jones enters his spirit journey.


September 2016


Waubetek receives the First Nations Business Service of Excellence award at the Northern Ontario Business Awards held in Sudbury, Ontario.


November 2019     


Waubetek Business Development Corporation celebrates 30 years of Investing in the Aboriginal Spirit!  A celebration took place on November 7, 2019. 


January 2020


The Waubetek Business Development Corporation receives the Indigenous Enterprise of the Year Award at the CCAB PEP Conference held in Sudbury, Ontario.