The Grand Council of the Crees

Cree Entrepreneurship Assistance Fund (CEAF)

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The Cree Nation Government’s Department of Commerce and Industry (DCI) has the mandate to diversify and stimulate economic growth in Eeyou Istchee. The DCI provides business people of Eeyou Istchee with support mechanisms and tools so they may establish, expand or diversify the services they offer.


Created by the Cree Nation Government (CNG) in accordance with Section 28.12 of the James Bay Northern Quebec Agreement (JBNQA), the CREE ENTREPRENEURSHIP ASSISTANCE FUND (CEAF) is intended to help and assist Cree entrepreneurs in Eeyou Istchee to start up, diversify and contribute to the economic growth of Eeyou Istchee. The fund provides financing, professional and technical support to small and medium businesses or projects. Eligible projects should:


The CEAF Programs Help Eenouch/Eeyouch by supporting, promoting and financing economic activities in Eeyou Istchee which:


The CEAF provides different financing options and programs to meet the needs of the business people of Eeyou Istchee, which generally complement other funding sources.

Small, Sustainable and Cooperative Economies Projects

Small, Sustainable and Cooperative Economies Projects generally include micro-financing, market studies, special projects and other activities related to the start up and creation of small businesses which are usually of a social orientation (often referred to as “social economy”) or that are culturally oriented and promote the diversification and maintaining of culturally and socially based economies.

Some examples would be: helping youth and women get involved in business, tourism and Cree harvesting activities or cooperative projects within a community.

NOTE: In order to benefit from the maximum amount of $5,000 of financing for small projects and Sustainable and Cooperative Economies Projects, the total cost of the project must not exceed $10,000.

A Business Plan and/or Feasibility Study may not always be required for projects pertaining to this category. Projects are approved internally by the DCI.

Creation of New Businesses

Grant-financing is available to Eenou/Eeyou entrepreneurs interested in creating new businesses in Eeyou Istchee which enhance and diversify the economies of the region and contribute to the creation of long-term meaningful job opportunities.

Expansion or Consolidation of Existing Businesses

Grant-financing is available for Eenou/Eeyou entrepreneurs interested in expanding existing small and medium businesses in Eeyou Istchee which will help enhance and diversify the economies of the region and contribute to the creation of long-term meaningful job opportunities.

NOTE: BCR’s are not required for expansions of exisiting buinsesses as long as they adhere to applicable laws including local community bylaws.


The CEAF covers costs for:

The CEAF does not cover costs for:




Applicants must also meet the following criteria

    Be at least 18 years of age b)
  1. Have not withdrawn from a DCI program in the last year; otherwise the applicant(s) may have to wait up to 12 months before being eligible
  2. Have fulfilled all obligations regarding any previous participation in any DCI program
  3. Have the necessary expertise, and/or experience, and/or requirements (e.g. diplomas, permits, and/or licenses as recognized by regulation of the industry)
  4. Agree to take any professional on-the-job training, course or mentoring program as recommended by the DCI
  5. Present a business plan and/or feasibility study that demonstrate the potential viability of the new business or evidence of the stability of an existing business. This may not always apply to Small Projects and Sustainable and Cooperative Economies Projects
  6. Provide a detailed budget breakdown and demonstrate the means to provide the 10% cash equity of the total project cost
  7. Agree to the terms and conditions of the CEAF agreement
  8. Applicants may be required to participate in an interview with DCI personnel

NOTE: Please note that special consideration may be given to non-Cree who are permanent residents of a Cree community of Eeyou Istchee, and at least 18 years of age


Applicants should consult their local Economic Development Officer (EDO) for advice and assistance. DCI personnel are also available to answer questions and provide some assistance.

The DCI will only process complete applications. Incomplete applications will be not be treated.

  1. All project submissions will be assessed internally by the DCI staff. All submissions will then be presented to the Management Committee of the Cree Nation Government (CNG), which will issue a decision based on the recommendations from the DCI.
  2. A decision will be communicated directly to the applicant or their authorized agent within 90 days of the submission. All decisions are final.
  3. Incomplete applications will be closed after 60 days of inactivity.

The following information MUST be attached for a file to be processed:

WHEN APPLICABLE, these documents must also be attached: (Applicants will be informed which documents are required by the DCI. If you have these already, attach them to avoid delays)

Successful applicant(s)

  1. will be required to sign an agreement that outlines the terms and conditions and also agree that the DCI may publicly share their success stories
  2. must begin their project within 12 months following approval
  3. cannot receive any additional grant within 12 months of approval of previous projects
  4. must not have an active file with the DCI
  5. cannot transfer the grant received to other individuals or companies, and

If a project is not carried out as described in the application, all monies awarded must be returned to the CEAF for the benefit of other applicants. The applicant(s) will be required to reimburse the CEAF should the applicant(s) sell assets acquired with DCI program funds within 24 months following their acquisition.

Payments will be issued in three instalments


Applications will be ratified on a quarterly basis.

Address / Submission

All applications must be submitted to the DCI in both an electronic and hard copy format, with the original signature.

Paper copies must be sent to:

Cree Entrepreneurship Assistance Fund (CEAF)
Department of Commerce and Industry
Cree Nation Government
277 Duke Street, Suite 102
Montreal, Québec, H3C 2M2

Electronic copies must be sent to: