Indigenous-owned businesses across Canada expanding with help of $25M fund

“While other business are taking big hits, we were actually thriving.”


Bobbie Racette knew that remote working from home was going to be big.

So she started The Virtual Gurus, which provides virtual support for businesses – from administration to social media, sales and more.

But Racette had problems getting financing.

She says she was denied financing by 170 different investors.

“I really kind of struggled with that,” she told APTN News.

“I knew I was onto something. I knew I had something that could massively scale.”


Some of the remote team members of Indigenous-owned The Virtual Gurus. Photo: APTN

Raven Indigenous Capital Partners (RICP) helped Racette ramp up her business.

First, with a $750,000 investment and now this year with $500,000.

They also provide mentorship.

RICP is an Indigenous-owned investment fund.

The fund looks for Indigenous-owned businesses that are ready to be scaled up. It has 38 investors from across Canada and the U.S.

Managing partner

Paul Lacerte is the managing partner.

He said they want Indigenous entrepreneurs who have a big head of steam to grow.

“When Raven came into the picture, of course, they did their due diligence. We got to know each other on many levels. They came to Calgary to see me. We built a relationship,” said Lacerte.

The fund recently closed on funding $25 million to about a dozen businesses across the country.

The amounts range from $250,000 to $2 million.

Her business

Racette says the funding allowed her to massively grow her business.

“I think when I met Paul and the group, we had about $100,000 monthly recurring revenue,” she said. “Now, we have almost tripled that.”

Racette says she was able to survive COVID-19.

“While other business are taking big hits, we were actually thriving from it.”

She says she has 400 contractors working – 95 percent being women and 65 percent are people of colour.

And her business is hiring.

“We are doing a mass onboard of about 100 Indigenous workers right now,” she said.

Video Journalist / Edmonton

Chris Stewart has been in the media for 20 years. He has worked at CBC, Global and CTV as a news camera operator and editor. Chris joined APTN in 2012 in the Saskatoon Bureau and moved to APTN Edmonton bureau in 2015 as a Videojournalist.