Membertou's impressive economic stewardship clinches inaugural award celebrating Aboriginal economic development in Canada

 Membertou's impressive economic stewardship clinches inaugural award  celebrating Aboriginal economic development in Canada  TORONTO, March 19, 2014 /CNW/ - The Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business  (CCAB) and Sodexo Canada are pleased to announce the Membertou Development  Corporation as the inaugural winner of the Aboriginal Economic Development  Corporation (AEDC) Award for 2014.  Membertou is situated three kilometers from downtown Sydney, Nova Scotia and  is one of five Mi'kmaw communities in Cape Breton. The First Nation has a  population of over 1260.  The community of Membertou successfully overcame the significant challenges  facing an urban First Nation community. In a two-decade span from 1995-2014,  Membertou First Nation lifted itself from a community with a high unemployment  rate and low morale to a very strong community within a community that has  seen progress, economic growth and a commitment to its culture and heritage.  The path to economic success was made possible through three strategic  decisions.          1. Membertou actively forged a new economic frontier for its people,          one that built on the innovations of today while at the same time,          incorporated indigenous knowledge-based principles of          conservation, sustainability of resources and reverence for the          land and the waters.       2. The Membertou Development Corporation increased its profile with          major private sector companies by launching the Membertou          Corporate Office in downtown Halifax in 2000 and forming lucrative          partnerships across a diversity of private industry sectors. It          has since been able to establish a strong corporate office within          Membertou, which has allowed them to bring the Halifax workers          home.       3. Membertou initiated education and career training programs for its          residents in order to maximize employment opportunities within the          newly forged business partnerships and initiatives.  The opportunities flowing from these decisions continue to build momentum for  Membertou's financial independence and self-sustainability.  "Congratulations to Membertou for such impressive economic stewardship," said  CCAB President and CEO JP Gladu. "This new award will become the barometer of  Aboriginal business growth and success around the world. After a hiatus of  over 200 years, Aboriginal business is back and growing through  diversification and investment that encourages entrepreneurial spirit and  prosperity for all Canadians."  The CCAB would like to recognize and thank Sodexo Canada the founding and  exclusive sponsor for the Aboriginal Economic Development Corporation (AEDC)  of the Year Award.  Sodexo is proud to be celebrated as one of the top diversity employers in  Canada and a Progressive Aboriginal Relations (PAR) Gold Certified company.   Quality of Life is central to the performance and growth of individuals and  organizations. Working from this perspective, Sodexo has redefined how to best  serve its clients' complex needs. It is dedicated to improving the quality of  life for individuals and organizations wherever they work.  "Sincere congratulations to the Membertou Development Corporation for this  honour," says Dean Johnson, President of Sodexo Canada. "When we speak about  quality of life we see this exciting new award as an opportunity to celebrate  the economic well-being and sustainability that Aboriginal Development  Corporations bring to their communities."  The Membertou Development Corporation was successful in diversifying its  economy, including becoming ISO 9001 certified and creating a convention  centre, gaming centre, business centre and many other investments within the  community. The most recent addition is the Hampton Inn by Hilton Membertou,  which opened in 2012.  Over the last ten years, under the leadership of Chief Terrance Paul, the  Membertou Band has gone from 37 employees on a $4 million budget and a deficit  of $1 million to a current 550 employees on a $112 million budget and zero  deficit.  About the award The AECD award is the first of its kind in Canada and is designed to shine a  light on the important role that Aboriginal corporations are playing in  boardrooms and First Nation, Inuit and Métis communities across the country.  The Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business' Aboriginal Economic Development  Corporation of the Year Award will be presented by Sodexo at the Annual  Calgary Gala on Tuesday May 13(th) at the Hyatt Regency.  About the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB): CCAB is committed to the full participation of Aboriginal people in Canada's  economy. A national non-profit, non-partisan association, CCAB offers  knowledge, resources, and programs to both mainstream and Aboriginal owned  companies that foster economic opportunities for Aboriginal people and  businesses across Canada.  About Sodexo in Canada  Sodexo has been delivering On-Site Services in Canada for over 40 years.  Recognized as a strategic partner, Sodexo Canada has consolidated its position  by providing a range of Quality of Life Services for clients, their employees  and visitors in the corporate, education, healthcare and remote sites  segments. Delivering food and facilities management services for over 200  clients, Sodexo is a market leader in Canada in terms of revenue and consumers  served, and has been recognized as a top employer for the past four  consecutive years.  Sodexo Canada is proud to have created the Sodexo  Foundation, an independent charitable organization that has donated more than  1 million meals to at risk youth in Canada since it was founded in 2000.    SOURCE  Canadian Council of Aboriginal Business  Event Inquiries: For more information on the CCAB's Annual Calgary Gala,  please contact  Maya Kwasnycia, Senior Manager, Sponsorship &  Events,mkwasnycia@ccab.com or 416 961 8663 ext.224  Media Inquiries: Katherine Power Vice President, Communications, Sodexo Canada  Mob: 289-439-9170 katherine.power@sodexo.com  Chris Allicock, Amberlight Productions (416) 694-3131/ Cell (416) 319-8003  callicock@amberlight.ca  To view this news release in HTML formatting, please use the following URL:  http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/March2014/19/c5994.html  CO: Sodexo Canada ST: Ontario NI: ENT  
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