The Canadian Center for Aboriginal Entrepreneurship, Inc. is an incorporated business dedicated to Aboriginal Entrepreneurship in Canada. The Aboriginal BEST program is delivered by CCAE.
The CCAE is owned by Bruce Lacroix, President and CEO. Born in Halifax of mixed Mi’kmaq and French heritage, Bruce now lives in the picturesque heritage town of Nelson, BC with his family.
A life-long entrepreneur and self-professed “terrible employee working for others”, Bruce works best in collaboration with others to help achieve success for all involved.
- Business Administration, Thompson Rivers University, BC
- Hospitality / Tourism Management Algonquin College, Ottawa
- Physical Education (Outdoor Pursuits), University of Calgary
- Recreation Administration, Mt Royal College, Calgary
Bruce enjoys volunteering locally, and has been a Director with Nelson and District Credit Union, Nelson and District Chamber of Commerce, Nelson Municipal Library and the Rotary Club of Nelson – Daybreak.
He started his own business in 1989 while on welfare with his first child on the way, so he understands the challenges of many entrepreneurs. When not working to help you, he can be found on a kayak on Kootenay Lake, or scuba diving in tropical waters with his family.
Kristin Kozuback has been a champion for Indigenous rights, Aboriginal entrepreneurship and community-based economic development since she started working in our community in 1999. She has a Masters of Education Degree specializing in Indigenous Education, bringing her ‘wholistic’ approach to business to our Aboriginal BEST Program as Regional Coordinator and Trainer.
Kristin owns the socially responsible marketing company, Spiritlink Communications, and is the founder and co-owner of RedWAY News Inc. Kristin is highly respected in the BC Aboriginal community for her knowledge of Aboriginal organizations, adult education, communication and marketing strategies, and respect of Aboriginal traditions and culture.
Kristin secured funding to coordinate and recruit 15 Aboriginal delegates from across Canada to form a “Canadian Aboriginal Innovation Team” which attended the United Nations World Youth Summit of Entrepreneurs in New York, NY.
Kristin has been honoured to work with organizations such as KAYA (Knowledgeable Aboriginal Youth Association), the Native Education College, The Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business, Aboriginal Business Canada, BC Association of Friendship Centres, the BC AFN (Assembly of First Nations) Youth Council, and the Council for Advancement of Native Development Officers (CANDO).
Heather is a graduate of the CCAE’s Aboriginal BEST Train the Trainer program, is O’takii Tsowaakii Blackfoot from the Kainaiwa Nation, and a long-time resident of Calgary. Heather is an industry expert with more than 15 years of experience in the full life cycle in both the Business and Educational industry. She carries great passion with traditional and contemporary values, always willing to share cross cultural knowledge, and provide you the connection to a professional circle of supports.
Heather is also very passionate with supporting entrepreneurs with start-up and also by exploring opportunities of growth for existing business owners. Strategic workshops are created together and sculpted to meet the needs of community members. Members create their own milestone goals to education, careers and/or assisted with building their entrepreneurial aspirations. Heather enjoys being the go-to resource, always interested in hearing from former colleagues and building new networks.
Karen is a graduate of the CCAE’s Aboriginal BEST Train the Trainer program, is Northern Salish, Haudenosaunee and Chippewa. Certified as an Instructor at the University of British Columbia she moved to Zimbabwe in the 1980’s to teach. Certified in Aboriginal Employment Development by the Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies in the early 2000’s Karen has worked in Indigenous communities from Vancouver Island, Vancouver, and throughout the Yukon. She coordinated the Aboriginal BEST program for the BC Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation for seven years and was integral in establishing the acclaimed Annual BC Indigenous Business Awards. She has created and widely delivered an Indigenous Intercultural Competency course and is passionate about delivering BEST. Karen is a published Writer, Jewellery Designer and Silversmith, and a Consultant.
Monica is a graduate of the CCAE’s Aboriginal BEST Train the Trainer program, is an Indigenous woman and citizen of the West Coast Nisga’a Nation, Monica empowers, inspires and motivates people to achieve their entrepreneurial and personal dreams.
A successful entrepreneur, Monica has started and successfully run her own tiling and interior design business, and also restored an old house to a modern bed and breakfast.
Monica’s experiences as a teacher (B Ed, U of Calgary), entrepreneur, trade power engineer and board member give her the skills and empathy to guide others in their “BEST” journey.
Serena is a young professional passionate about helping communities prosper. Currently the Special Projects Officer with Nuu-Chah-Nulth Economic Development Commission, Serena uses her talents to bring inspiring and useful programs to aspiring/growing entrepreneurs. A popular BEST facilitator, she is also active in her Nuu-chah-nulth community (Hupacasath First Nation) helping develop and implement their Comprehensive Community Plan, where her engagement skills shine. In her free time you will find her at home crafting or studying, around a campfire or on the lake.
Shari Caudron, a graduate of the CCAE’s Aboriginal BEST Train the Trainer program, is President/CEO of Collaborative Innovations Inc. A professional Community Development Facilitator, born and raised in Hay River, Northwest Territories, Shari’s expertise is in building innovative partnerships between First Nations, government, industry, community and educational institutions for economic development, employment readiness and social development. With over twenty years experience in public relations and business development, Shari’s passion is to empower communities to work in partnership to develop and implement long term strategies for community wellness and economic development.
Supporting Aboriginal BEST
Stewart W. Anderson
Vancity (Vancouver City Savings Credit Union) – Manager, Community Investment
Stewart grew up in Halifax, Nova Scotia and attended Dalhousie University, before travelling, doing his Masters degree in International Development and relocating to Vancouver.
He has worked in the financial services sector for the last 25 years, and has a strong background in economic development, project finance, and corporate lending, as well as a keen awareness of the importance of relationship building. His clients have included Entrepreneurs, Aboriginal Social Service agencies, First Nation Governments, Aboriginal and First Nation Development Corporations, and First Nation/Private Sector Joint Ventures.
In his current role as Manager, Indigenous Partnerships, Stewart works to broaden and deepen the Credit Union’s involvement with Aboriginal communities in and beyond the traditional territory of the Coast Salish people where Vancity is located.