Text Only Page



Project Beyshick Comes to Trent University August 16-19


Trent’s Indigenous Studies Experts to Mentor Aspiring First Nations Entrepreneurs

Friday, August 15, 2008, Peterborough

Ten aspiring First Nations entrepreneurs from northern Ontario arrive at Trent University tomorrow to take part in a series of workshops to learn about entrepreneurship from leading business and cultural experts as part of Project Beyshick, a youth mentoring program focused on business career development for Aboriginals aged 21 to 35 years.

Project Beyshick participants will be trained by members of Trent’s Indigenous Studies department and other Canadian business schools followed by job shadowing placements with executives in the public and private sectors in Toronto. This is the second year in a row that Project Beyshick has taken place at Trent University.

Project Beyshick, coordinated by the Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Intergovernmental Network on Northern Aboriginal Youth, was developed by POA Educational Foundation with NAN in 2005. The program nurtures entrepreneurship, enhances leadership, networking, and business skills among NAN members wanting to pursue successful careers. The goal of Project Beyshick is to empower First Nation people to become equal partners in the economic prosperity of Ontario and Canada.

“As an international leader in the field of Indigenous Studies and as the home of Canada’s first Ph.D. program in Indigenous Studies, Trent University is a perfect partner for Project Beyshick and for our other initiatives surrounding Aboriginal people in Canada,” said Aditya Jha, chairman of the POA Educational Foundation.

A leading Canadian entrepreneur, Mr. Jha established a $100,000 endowment last year to support bursaries and awards for Indigenous Studies students at Trent University. “It is our goal that members of First Nations will become equal partners in the economic prosperity of Canada and Canadian life,” said Mr. Jha.

“We are pleased to work with Aditya and NAN on this important undertaking,” said Dr. Sandra Warren, a recent graduate from Trent’s Indigenous Studies PhD program and new faculty member with Athabasca University. Working with Trent University’s Indigenous Studies community, Professor Warren, Robin Quantick (Trent PhD candidate) and Giles Benaway (Indigenous Studies student service support) have organized the University’s component of Project Beyshick. “All of us are motivated by our desire to create places of dignity and respect and to promote opportunities for successful livelihoods for Indigenous youth and their communities. Creating avenues for economic prosperity in balance with our traditions and our knowledge is our message for this weekend,” said Prof. Warren.

The planning group will be joined by Indigenous Studies faculty members: Dr. David Newhouse, Dr. Neal McLeod, Charles Meekis and guest speakers from the community in the delivery of sessions focusing on Aboriginal leadership and business practices, Aboriginal culture and perspectives, and the movement of Aboriginal peoples into the modern world.

"These young entrepreneurs are gaining invaluable experience from working one-on-one with mentors in the Toronto business community," said NAN Grand Chief Stan Beardy. "This will help strengthen intercultural awareness and understanding and will help bring NAN and First Nations business and leadership capacity to the forefront of the Canadian economy."

Following their weekend workshop at Trent, participants will take part in training by the Dale Carnegie Group and then head to Toronto where they will be mentored by a chosen business executive. The job-shadowing portion will last three days, during which the participant will observe the executive conduct his/her daily business routine. Participants will also spend four additional days preparing activities, including face-to-face interaction with successful entrepreneurs from ethnic minorities in Canada. One of the unique features of Project Beyshick is an award of $15,000 to the participant who presents the best business plan at the end of the program.

Project Beyshick was developed by POA Educational Foundation and Nishnawbe Aski Nation in 2005.

Further information about Project Beyshick is available for download at www.projectbeyshick.com .


For further information, please contact: Brittany Cadence, Communications Officer, Trent University at (705) 748-1011, ext. 6185