Danielle K Harris, BBA
Economic Development Officer
Vision: Economic Development activities balance the needs of our community now, and for future generations, while embracing the traditional and contemporary values of our members, as Wahgoshig works to be a visible leader, pathfinder, and mentor to other Indigenous Communities.
Economic positivity – having a sense of a good future and the next 7 Generations – help lower the rate of mental illness and substance problems.
Economic Development works to create a healthy and spirited environment for Wahgoshig members and the community. This department works to helps the community achieve a stable and strong foundation.
Economic Development creates many different opportunities for the community and members while welcoming both tradition and modern-day practices. It is also forward looking. Different types of economic activity means Wahgoshig is not dependent one type of income or one specific industry and this makes Wahgoshig’s self-determination stronger.
The Economic Development department has a meaningful impact on the community. Direct impact can be measured with numbers but there are also other important ways the department impacts the community. Financials and money come from projects in our local area, across Canada and also from international areas. This is one way the department can help Wahgoshig be personally and culturally healthy.
The economic development department works hard to identify the special and unique strengths of our community. This helps us have low risk business opportunities that don’t need a lot of money at the beginning of projects. We have used our limited wealth very wisely to become the first ever First Nation to invest in medicinal cannabis. Our Wahgoshig branding as a First Nation is valuable to companies like DelShen – it makes us an attractive business partner for other businesses – and we have used that to our advantage when looking for opportunities in mining, forestry, cannabis, and energy.
Wahgoshig Energy LP: In 2015, we created the new, start-up company called Wahgoshig Energy LP. This company was created to sell electricity to the Ontario government. Since then, and on a small budget, we have become a community that other energy businesses want to work with on projects. They want to work with us!
We worked with big and important energy companies this year. We entered 60 applications to Ontario for energy projects. We have a very good chance of becoming a multi-megawatt producer by 2018. This would make us a First Nation leader in Northeastern Ontario.
In the summer of 2017, Wahgoshig Energy was invited by the Finnish government to visit Finland and meet with other energy businesses. After that trip, we have been working with the Finnish companies on partnership for many different projects. They include technology, consulting and renewable energy projects such as biomass, wind, or solar projects.
48 North Cannabis Co: Formally DelShen Therapeutics, was in innovative and creative investment that has continued to reward WFN for its decision. 48 North Cannabis Co has strengthened its communication and efforts at relationship building over the past year. Last year we focused on promoting 48 North Cannabis Co and asked the government to give special treatment to First Nation owned cannabis companies. When they succeed, and do well, so will we. We are also working with them to make sure they follow their commitments and give special benefits to the community, such as employment, education of Cannabis use, cultural and traditional perspectives in the Cannabis space and training opportunities.
In 2018 - 2019 Economic Development will:
Vision – Work to make the vision a reality
- working with WFN owned businesses to identify new business opportunities
- development of Individual Community Wealth Plan for Wahgoshig First Nation band members
- identify new sources of revenue and income for the community
- work with community members to start their own businesses and find ways to help people create their own wealth (economic, social, environmental and cultural).
- Host skill development workshops for community members
- work with mining and forestry partners to promote mutually beneficial partnerships
- work in collaboration with the elected Councillor with the Economic Development Portfolio to integrate and represent the needs and wishes of community members
The intent of Economic Development is to create a robust and resilient economy in which Wahgoshig members prosper and the community achieves economic stability and resilience.
Economic Development creates diversity of opportunity while embracing both tradition and contemporary practice. It also forward looking.
Diverse economic activity lessens the dependency on any one revenue stream or industry segment and thereby contributes to Wahgoshig self determination.