When we invest in empowering Indigenous youth, we support the development of lifelong well-being in their families and in Canada for generations to come.
AYEP helps Indigenous students to succeed in high school, the work place, in post-secondary studies, and in daily life. The curriculum – which is offered in the last two years of high school – introduces students to the world of business and prepares them for the working world, regardless of their career path.
Based on provincial business course requirements, AYEP comprises of two credit courses in Grade 11 and 12 (Entrepreneurship 1 and Entrepreneurship 2). The courses highlight Indigenous content, including case studies and examples of successful Canadian Indigenous businesspeople.
Weaving fun and engaging activities with guest speakers and mentoring, students learn how to create product and service companies. Students are mentored by established Indigenous and non-Indigenous business people throughout the process. Upon successful completion of each course, students receive high school credits.
I really wish something like this would have been available to me when I was young. As a Métis entrepreneur, I grew up with zero connection to any business community or opportunity. Our universe isn’t as big as it needs to be: we need skills, we need examples of success. Having an Indigenous brand that’s global…kids see that it’s possible, that this is not just for other people.
Textbooks by indigenous teachers for Indigenous students
It is vital that Indigenous students see themselves reflected in their textbooks. MFI worked closely with Nelson Education Ltd. to develop teacher resource materials and textbooks that fully express the lived-experiences of students.
The textbooks—the first of their kind in Canada—were written by two Indigenous teachers. Many credit the success of the courses to these high-quality, Indigenous-focused resources.
Prior to starting the program, MFI provides a two-day training course for the school staff who will teach and oversee the courses. The content, teaching, and assessment strategies are reviewed as well as accountability requirements. Strategies to recruit and retain students are also discussed.