For immediate release
February 24, 2021
Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business announces recipients of 2021 Lifetime Achievement and Young Aboriginal Entrepreneur Awards
Toronto – February 24, 2021 – Today, Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB) announces John Bernard of Madawaska Maliseet First Nation, as this year’s recipient of the Aboriginal Business Lifetime Achievement Award and Erica Daniels, a Cree/Métis from Peguis First Nation, as the recipient of the 2021 Young Aboriginal Entrepreneur Award.
“During these challenging times, we believe that it is imperative to continue to recognize and celebrate outstanding achievements and significant contributions,” said Tabatha Bull, President & CEO, Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business. “We are honoured to recognize laureate John Bernard for his long-term impact on Indigenous people and communities as an information technology leader, and thrilled to announce up and coming young entrepreneur, Erica Daniels, director, producer and owner of her own media company. Congratulations to you both!”
Both awards are presented by Founding and Exclusive Award Sponsor, ESS Support Services Worldwide. The recipients will be honoured on March 31st at CCAB’s brand new virtual event, Connecting the Circle: An Awards Celebration presented by CIBC.
The Aboriginal Business Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to a First Nations, Inuit, or Métis person whose business leadership has made a substantive contribution to the economic and social well-being of Indigenous people over a lifetime. John Bernard exemplifies what it means to be an Indigenous business leader.
A champion of economic reconciliation across Canada, Mr. Bernard was key in educating the federal government, the largest purchaser of goods and services in the country, of the need to direct procurements to Indigenous businesses.
Mr. Bernard’s most significant achievement was the establishment of his company Donna Cona. Founded in 1996, the Indigenous informatics firm continues to provide successful opportunities for Indigenous people in the high-tech industry. In 2007, he realized his vision of returning to his home community, Madawaska Maliseet First Nation, and started multiple ventures including Madawaska Entertainment Center and Grey Rock Casino.
“It is a great honour to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business. Although Donna Cona has been my greatest achievement, I am especially proud of the economic benefits to my community that have resulted by starting a number of successful businesses located in the Madawaska Maliseet First Nation.” – John Bernard, 2021 Aboriginal Business Lifetime Achievement Award recipient.
The 2021 Young Aboriginal Entrepreneur Award recipient is Cree/Ojibway award-winning director and producer, Erica Daniels. At just 29 years old, Erica is the owner of media company, Kejic Productions.
Erica won the first-ever Indigenous Film Award presented at the 2019 Indigenous Music Awards. Her latest film, Run As One – The Journey of the Front Runners, won two Golden Sheaf Awards and was nominated for a Canadian Screen Award and the Banff World Media Festival Award.
Erica is dedicated to sharing her community’s stories with the hopes of paving a way for other Indigenous women and young Indigenous storytellers to help close the gap for Indigenous representation in the media industry.
“I have always been a passionate storyteller and I am grateful that I am able to dedicate my life to sharing the stories of our communities. Thank you CCAB for this recognition, I am very humbled and honoured to receive the Young Entrepreneur Award!” – Erica Daniels, 2021 Young Aboriginal Entrepreneur.
“ESS is a proud to sponsor these two prestigious awards; I congratulate John Bernard for his dedication to providing opportunities for Indigenous people in the tech industry and to Erica Daniels for inspiring Indigenous women and young Indigenous storytellers in Canada. John and Erica are true role models; we celebrate and honour your achievements.” – Sanjay Gomes, President, ESS Support Services Worldwide.
“CIBC is a proud patron member of the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business and pleased to sponsor this year’s virtual Connecting the Circle celebration. It is with great honour that we recognize the incredible contributions of the Aboriginal Business Lifetime Achievement award recipient, John Bernard and Young Aboriginal Entrepreneur award recipient, Erica Daniels. These inspiring leaders have helped build and transform not only the Indigenous economy, but Canada’s economy.” – Linda Hartford, National Director, Indigenous Trust, CIBC Indigenous Markets.
About Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business
CCAB is committed to the full participation of Indigenous peoples in Canada’s economy. As a national, non-partisan association, its mission is to promote, strengthen and enhance a prosperous Indigenous economy through the fostering of business relationships, opportunities, and awareness. CCAB offers knowledge, resources and programs to its members to cultivate economic opportunities for Indigenous peoples and businesses across Canada. For more information visit ccab.com.
Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business
647-289-2753 | email@example.com