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SYDNEY, NS – September 6, 2012 – The Harper Government has made a significant contribution to Cape Breton University’s (CBU) Purdy Crawford Chair in Aboriginal Business Studies, a research chair supported by the five Unama’ki communities on Cape Breton Island. The announcement was made today by the Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Labour on behalf of the Honourable Bernard Valcourt, Associate Minister of National Defence and Minister of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency) (La Francophonie) and the Honourable John Duncan, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development..

“Our Government’s top priority is jobs, growth and long-term prosperity,” said Minister Raitt. “Promoting Aboriginal business education contributes to the economic growth of Aboriginal communities and makes a significant contribution to the Canadian economy. The establishment of this research chair will result in enhanced analytical and research capacity, as well as promote the recruitment of Aboriginal students to post-secondary studies in business.”

The Purdy Crawford Chair in Aboriginal Business Studies will promote interest among Canada’s Aboriginal people in the study of business at the post-secondary level, while undertaking pure and applied research specific to Aboriginal business. Aboriginal community leaders speak to the need for entrepreneurship, business investment and corporate skills training to create a model of self-reliance.

The Harper Government’s total contribution to the Purdy Crawford Chair in Aboriginal Business Studies is $1.5 million, with $750,000 coming from Enterprise Cape Breton Corporation and $750,000 through Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada.

“CBU’s 35 year history as a leader in Aboriginal post-secondary education and our continuing commitment to it, through Unama’ki College, along with the establishment of the Purdy Crawford Chair in Aboriginal Business Studies, is something we are proud of,” stated John Harker, CBU President. “It remains an important priority for the University and we are dedicated to making sure Aboriginal youth make their mark on the future of our country.”

The Chair will focus attention and research efforts on the Membertou Business Model, Unama'ki Partnership Model and national and international comparative analysis. The Membertou Business Model and the Unama’ki Partnership Model both embrace entrepreneurship, public and private sector investment and joint ventures while recognizing the need to promote and protect cultural heritage.

The Purdy Crawford Chair in Aboriginal Business Studies resides in CBU’s Shannon School of Business and is currently held by CBU Vice-President, Dr. Keith G. Brown.

CBU is Atlantic Canada’s leader in Aboriginal post-secondary education with more than 500 Aboriginal graduates holding CBU degrees.

Strengthening Aboriginal entrepreneurship and developing Aboriginal human capital are two key priorities of the Government of Canada’s Federal Framework for Aboriginal Economic Development. Through the Framework, the Government of Canada is working with Aboriginal people and communities to enable them to seize real, significant and sustainable economic opportunities.

Enterprise Cape Breton Corporation offers programs in support of economic development initiatives and is responsible for delivering ACOA’s programs on Cape Breton Island and in the Mulgrave area.



Paula MacNeil                                                  D.A. Landry
Cape Breton University                                   ECBC Communications
902 563 1848                                                   902 564 3617

Media Relations
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
819 953 1160

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