Starting up your own business can be overwhelming if you don’t have the right knowledge and skills necessary as a first- time entrepreneur. The Aboriginal Small Business Management Program is a recognized Ontario Colleges Certificate offered in partnership with Mohawk College of Applied Arts and Technology and Ogwehoweh Skills and Trades Training Centre (OSTTC). The two-semester program for Indigenous peoples highlights how to manage a small business.

The program allows individuals to gain and develop the necessary knowledge and skills to complete a comprehensive business plan and learn to effectively manage a small business. Interested individuals experience an exceptional blend of academic content, practical training and advice enriched through contact with successful business owners, business professionals, government representatives and members of the local business community.

The program provides its students with comprehensive, hands-on learning through panel discussions, seminars and workshops focusing on the planning, start-up and future development of small businesses and entrepreneurships. With a small group setting, students are able to enjoy one-on-one faculty coaching.

To be eligible for the program applicants must have OSSD or equivalent (Mohawk Academic Upgrading, OSTTC Academic Upgrading, GED), mature applicant options available.

OSTTC offers many resources to help students achieve their goals, including academic, personal and nancial programs. To help enhance the students’ learning, OSTTC offers the use of the Small Business Resource Centre which provides invaluable space for research learning. Located at Mohawk College Fennel Campus Learning Resource Centre, it provides computers, books, small business videos, government publications, unlimited internet access and other relevant materials.

Graduate Testimonials

“My name is Colleen Davis and I am a member of the Mohawk Nation Bear Clan. I am 39 years old and I have 4 beautiful children. Since I was a young girl I always had a dream of owning my own business and in 2002 I opened Maiden Cleaning Services. We offer residential and commercial cleaning services and currently employ 5 women in the Six Nations Community. In 2009, I attended the Aboriginal Small Business Management Course at OSTTC. It was the first time this course was being offered on my reserve and it was by far one of the best educational experiences of my life. The wide range of courses was exactly what was needed to help strengthen my abilities and to enhance my entrepreneurial skills to efficiently operate a small business in my community. Aside from the courses and training that was offered I was able to meet and network with so many other entrepreneurs in my community and those relationships are a key part of my success to this day! I would say the best thing I learned was to find out what you are passionate about, figure out what really motivates and moves you and then do that! DO something that gives your life meaning and you will never work a day in your life! In addition to my cleaning business, I found I have a passion to work with our youth and to provide them with motivational and leadership training. I also do motivational speaking and o er workshops in Dreams & Goal Setting, Positive Thinking and Ka’nikonhrí:yo – Good Mind. After 15 years of operation, Maiden Cleaning Services is my big dream that came true and I will be forever grateful to OSTTC and their instructors for helping me on my journey to become a successful entrepreneur in the Six Nations Community.”

Colleen Davis, Owner of Maiden Cleaning Services


“She:koh! My Name is Jessica F Hill, I’m Mohawk, from Six Nations and I belong to the Turtle clan. I graduated from Aboriginal Small Business Management Program class of 2014/2015. I absolutely loved this program for many, but not limited to, the following reasons: close to home, free parking, the support from the instructors, the financial support, the opportunity to apply for bursaries and the opportunity for personal growth and development. I really had to step up my game with time management being a full-time student, a mom of 3, a step-mom to 3 and a Tupperware consultant. The program has helped in many ways and there have been a lot of very positive changes since graduation. I graduated with honors in my 2nd semester, and I received the Community Involvement Award from Mohawk College that year, including a monetary prize, a glass trophy and a recognition dinner. After applying what I’ve learned in the program to my Tupperware Business, I was promoted from consultant to Star Director which has allowed me to drive a company car where the license, insurance and registration are all paid for, and no car payments (first time driving a brand new car). I also earned an all-expenses-paid trip for 2 to Hawaii. In 2015/2016 I obtained my certificate from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition as an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach which was a part of my 5 year plan to establish my own health and wellness consulting business “Embrace Your Being”. The reason why I’m so proud is because I was able to take this program with my adult daughter and walk across the stage achieving our diplomas together. What a successful journey it’s been. I’m very grateful to have this program available in our community and as the full-time receptionist at GREAT I’m able to promote the program to others based on my own awesome experience.”

Jessica F. Hill, Star Director Tupperware, GREAT Receptionist


“I took the Aboriginal Small Business Management program at OSTTC and I truly enjoyed the program. It has broadened my perspective on what it takes to become a small business owner and let me say that I learned more things than I ever knew about business. It taught me how to market my products for the business by creating a questionnaire and getting community members’ input on the business idea I had at the time. The results were great as about 99{62de5bde3b84fd7379fc2f8072f5b18478a14609f05a190db0183dce83778ef7} of those I asked said that they would make purchases from my business. It showed me how to do a budget for all areas of business, from the very beginning of a good start-up business. It taught me how to research all the other businesses similar to the one I was interested in and allowed me to see if I had a niche that was unlike all the other businesses. It taught me how to do more with computer training, from power point to excel and so on. There are a lot of little details that you will learn from taking this program: finances, production, safety, customer service and dedication. I am working in an area now that I love and it is in line with the type of business that I was going for. I am so lucky to work at a place where I am doing exactly what I would be doing if I did become a business owner.

– Fran Burning, Kayanase Greenhouse Supervisor

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