• BMO commits $500,000 to create the BMO Young Indigenous Leaders Program.
  • The program will provide Indigenous forestry students with tools and resources they need to make progress developing their occupational skills and entrepreneurial potential.

MONTRÉAL, Nov. 15, 2023 /CNW/ - In partnership with Université Laval, BMO today announced the launch of the BMO Young Indigenous Leaders Program, an initiative that will support forestry students through scholarships for internships, specific community projects and mentorship opportunities.

Led by Jean-Michel Beaudoin, professor in the Department of Wood and Forest Sciences and Chair of Educational Leadership in Indigenous Forestry, the program will also provide forestry students with greater access to educational resources and partnerships to help them make progress academically and professionally. The program is made possible through a $500,000 donation from BMO.

"For over 30 years, BMO has been building strong relationships and providing consistent support to 270 Indigenous communities," said Grégoire Baillargeon, President, BMO, Quebec. "The BMO Young Indigenous Leaders Program supports progress for the next generation of Indigenous entrepreneurs, enabling them to develop their full potential through access to educational resources as well as mentoring and business network development opportunities that promote a thriving economy, sustainable future and inclusive society."

New horizons, without barriers

In line with BMO's Purpose, to Boldly Grow the Good in business and life, the BMO Young Indigenous Leaders Program will:

  • Unlock the potential of Indigenous students, providing Indigenous communities with specialized access to highly skilled forestry experts.
  • Support the development of a new generation of Indigenous leaders.
  • Significantly increase opportunities for young Indigenous people to make progress through career opportunities that lead to success in business, and ultimately help them become successful leaders.
  • Improve incomes and living conditions for Indigenous individuals, families and communities.
  • Develop sustainable development forestry practices and the health of the forest ecosystems that are central to Indigenous ways of life.
  • Develop Indigenous expertise to build the capacity of forestry sector organizations to work on projects where Indigenous presence calls for new approaches.

"BMO and Université Laval share a desire to showcase the voices, legitimacy and skills of young First Nations leaders. This distinctive experiential program will strengthen the development of their forestry skills and entrepreneurial spirit. It will also foster their professional integration and position them as experts in forest regions," said Sophie D'Amours, Rector of Université Laval.

BMO engages with Indigenous customers, colleagues, and communities across three pillars—education, employment and economic empowerment—that rest on a platform of inclusion for all. Our commitment to developing an inclusive society that is free of barriers and to supporting the socioeconomic progress of Indigenous communities includes the following:

  • In September 2023, BMO launched its BMO for Indigenous Entrepreneurs lending program, providing Indigenous business owners with greater access to working capital, educational resources, and professional partnerships to start up, scale up, and accelerate their businesses.

  • In support of Indigenous businesses, BMO has increased its level of goods and services purchases from Indigenous partners—surpassing in 2022 its commitment to spend $10 million annually with Indigenous-owned businesses by 2023.

  • BMO's commitment to mobilize $300 billion in sustainable financing by 2025 includes lending to Indigenous businesses and communities in the structuring of our Sustainable Bond program.

  • For advancing Indigenous interests and economic development, BMO has received Gold Certification in the Progressive Aboriginal Relations (PAR) program seven consecutive times. This program is administered by the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB).

For more information about BMO's commitment to supporting Indigenous communities, visit www.bmo.engagements-autochtones.

BMO's commitment to Indigenous communities

For over 30 years, BMO's Indigenous Banking Unit (IBU) has been working with Indigenous communities to support their economic self-determination. Through a network of branches and business banking offices both on and off reserve, BMO has offered financial products and services, including housing and renovation financing, trust services, investment management solutions, and long-term financing for on-reserve infrastructure and economic development. In addition, BMO has partnered with First Nations University of Canada to create the e-learning course Nisitohtamowin, An Introduction to Understanding Indigenous Perspectives in Canada, which is available to all for free.

For more information about how BMO works with Indigenous communities in Canada, click here to view BMO's annual Indigenous Partnerships and Progress Report.

About BMO Financial Group 

BMO Financial Group is the eighth largest bank in North America by assets, with total assets of $1.25 trillion as of July 31, 2023. Serving customers for 200 years and counting, BMO is a diverse team of highly engaged employees providing a broad range of personal and commercial banking, wealth management, global markets and investment banking products and services to over 13 million customers across Canada, the United States, and in select markets globally. Driven by a single purpose, to Boldly Grow the Good in business and life, BMO is committed to driving positive change in the world, and making progress for a thriving economy, sustainable future and inclusive society.

SOURCE BMO Financial Group

Copyright 2023 Canada NewsWire

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