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L-R: Tom Hockin, Minister of State for Small Businesses and Tourism, and Ken Thomas,
Manger of the Saskatchewan Indian Agriculture
Program, the parent company for SILCO.
Roy Bird, President of the
Saskatchewan Indian Equity Foundation.
Christmas came in May this year when Tom Hockin, Minister of State for Small Business and Tourism and the Native Economic Development Program announced a total of $10.2 Million in economic development funds for Saskatchewan.
The two big winners were the Saskatchewan Indian Equity Foundation and the Saskatchewan Indian Loan Company. Each agency received a $3 Million contribution in principle.
As a result of these commitments SIEF and SILCO will be able to meet the increasing demand for their individual commercial loan programs. It is expected that over the next four years loan demands will reach $35 Million.
The Saskatchewan Indian Equity Foundation Inc. was established in February 1982 to provide financial assistance and advisory services to the Indian business community for the development of viable enterprises. In 1986, SIEF received an initial NEDP contribution of $4.3 Million to establish a financial institution, providing capital, operating and bridge financing loans to the approximately 65,000 Indians in the province. To date,the Foundation has disbursed 365 loans to Indian businesses and created over 400 jobs.
The Saskatchewan Indian Loan Company Ltd., a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Saskatchewan Indian Agricultural Program Inc., received an initial NEDP contribution of $2.6 Million in early 1986 to capitalize an agricultural loan corporation for Indian farmers in Saskatchewan. SILCO provides direct loans and loan guarantees for the expansion and modernization of existing farms and the development of new farms. To date, the corporation has made over 200 loans worth $3.4 Million to 161 Indian farmers. It is expected that over the next five years, 63 new farmers will be established with an estimated loan financing demand in excess of $14.6 Million. This additional $3 Million in funding will enable SILCO to continue to service this increasing demand.
Over the past eight months an additional $4.2 Million has been approved by the NEDP for Native business development in Saskatchewan.
"Instead of welfare Saskatchewan Indians are choosing business," Tom Hockin stated at a press conference in Regina. Mr. Hockin was in Saskatchewan to announce approval in principle of the funding arrangements.