skip to content

Nishnawbe Aski Development Fund

Saturday, January 31, 2015
Take our Survey
Community Futures Development Corporation

Business Awards

Click here to view the printer friendly version.


Save The Date!

25th Annual NADF Business Awards
Thursday, October 29, 2015
Valhalla Inn, Thunder Bay, ON



Awards Background
Awards Criteria and Categories
Sponsorship Opportunities
Keynote Speaker
Master of Ceremonies
Our Sponsors
2014 Press Release
2014 Video
2013 Event

Nishnawbe Aski Development Fund (NADF) is pleased to present the "24th Annual NADF Business Awards" to celebrate Aboriginal business in northern Ontario.  Eight award recipients will be recognized for their achievements at a gala event hosted by the Valhalla Inn, Thunder Bay, Ontario's premier hotel.  

Since 1991, the annual NADF Business Awards has recognized the outstanding business achievement of successful businesses, organizations and people in northern Ontario's growing Aboriginal business community and the contributions they make to the growth and prosperity of our economy. The annual business function is the Nishnawbe Aski Development Fund’s largest event bringing together business, government and industry leaders to join in celebrating the achievements of our Aboriginal business community.



Thursday, October 30 2014
Valhalla Inn

4:30 PM    VIP Reception
5:00 PM    Press Conference
5:30 PM    Reception
6:00 PM    Welcome Remarks
6:30 PM    Dinner
7:15 PM    Keynote Speakers
7:45 PM    Awards Presentations
9:45 PM    Special Acknowledgements
10:00 PM  Closing Remarks



imageOvide Mercredi
Ovide Mercredi is a Cree born in the northern community of Grand Rapids in 1946. He served his community as Chief of Misipawistik Cree Nation from 2005 to 2011.  He is now a councillor.

A graduate of the University of Manitoba with a Law degree he practiced criminal law and later specialized in constitutional law as an advisor to Manitoba Chiefs.  Mercredi has worked tirelessly for the rights of First Nations people throughout Canada. He is known as a First Nations leader that speaks eloquently with great passion and clarity.

In 1989, he was elected Regional Chief of the Assembly of First Nations for Manitoba.  He became a key strategist for the Assembly during the time of the Meech Lake Accord constitutional reform discussions.  He also had a strong leadership role in helping to resolve the Oka Crisis in 1990.

 Ovide Mercredi was elected as National Chief for the Assembly of First Nations in 1991.  During his first term he led the negotiations for the First Nations in the Charlottetown Accord.  He was re-elected in 1994 and served as National Chief until 1997.  He addressed the United Nations in Geneva and New York.  He led a human rights delegation of Canadians to the troubled area of the Mexican state of Chiapas.

In addition to serving as a lawyer and politician he co-authored “In the Rapids: Navigating the Future of First Nations” with Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond in 1993.  He has contributed articles to other publications.  In his spare time, he enjoys painting and writing poetry.

Ovide is an advocate of non-violent methods for change and travelled to India when he was nominated for the Gandhi Peace Prize.  He has received honorary degrees from Bishops University, St Mary’s University, The University of Lethbridge and Athabaska University.  He  received the Order of Manitoba in 2005. In 2010 the Peace and Justice Studies Association awarded him their Social Courage award. In 2013 he was selected as the Distinguished Alumni of the University of Manitoba.

He is  the National Spokesperson for Treaties 1 to 11, having been chosen in a traditional and customary manner in the summer of 2006.  As National Chief he worked closely with Elders from all regions of Canada.  As a Treaty Spokesperson, he has continued his practice of seeking the advice and support of traditional Elders.

Ovide serves on the board of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada and the Winnipeg Art Gallery.

Ovide Mercredi is a strong believer in a positive future for all First Nations communities and recognizes the inherent strength and talents of First Nations people.  He has always maintained that his people possess the answers to their needs and aspirations.  To him healing can be accomplished by the simple application of traditional values such as respect and kindness.



Samer F. Salameh     

CEO – Azteca Telecom and TotalMovies, with “Grupo Salinas”

Samer F. Salameh has over 24 years of experience as an executive leader in the telecommunications industry in the United States, Latin America and the Middle East. He has a very well-known reputation in the international telecommunications field as a distinguished marketing strategist, a turn around specialist and a broker of multi-billion dollar mergers and acquisitions. 

Mr Salameh’s is the chief executive officer of Azteca Telecom with Grupo Salinas and is also the Chaiman of UUX.  Previously he was the CEO of Prodigy Communications (the US internet pioneer), the CEO of NetVMG (Silicon Valley startup focusing on IP traffic Management), Raysat (Mobile video), Alfa (Cellular Operator), and TotalPlay (FTTH & IPTV deployment in Mexico).

Mr. Salameh holds a Masters Degree in International Business from the Fletcher School and a BS in Management and Economics from Polytechnic University.



Stan Wesley MCStan Wesley
Born and raised in Moose Factory, Ontario, a Cree community on the South coast of James Bay, Stan as a youth began what would be a life-long career of bringing laughter and meaning to audiences with the creation of "Bunnuck,” a weekly show that aired on TVO and TVNC for several seasons.

Since then, for over 20 years, Stan has engaged and entertained audiences with his unique style of fun and depth in presentations, keynotes, emcee and facilitation services. Stan speaks on a variety of issues with a focus on celebrating success and advancing good, healthy relations among Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples.

Stan has worked at the local, regional, provincial and national levels. With his high energy, sincere professional approach, he is considered by many to be one of the top speakers in the country today.

Stan currently lives in Toronto with his wife, Mandy and their daughter Maya.  





Silver Sponsors

DeBeers Canada

TD Bank

Weiler, Maloney, Nelson

Bronze Sponsor

Cheadles LLP

Lakehead University


Shout! Media

The Shop Industrial Inc

Thunder Bay Community Economic Development Commission (CEDC)

Wawatay News

Friends of the Awards

Courtyard by Marriott Downtown Toronto

Prize and Donations

Air Creebec

Courtyard by Marriott Downtown Toronto

Eaton Chelsea Toronto

Valhalla Inn, Thunder Bay





Partner of the Awards $10,000 & Over 1 Opportunity Available
Award Sponsor $7,000-$9,999 8 Opportunities Available
Platinum Sponsor $5,000-$6,999
Diamond Sponsor $3,000-$4,999
Gold Sponsor $1,750-$2,999
Silver Sponsor $1,000-$1,749
Bronze Sponsor $500-$999
NeeChee Sponsor $0-$499


SPONSOR BENEFIT Partner  Award  Platinum  Diamond  Gold  Silver  Bronze  Neechee 
Opening Address at Awards Ceremony (10-15min) - - - - - - -
Opportunity for radio interview (Live Broadcast) - - - - - - -
Reserved Seating (Table of 10) - - - - -
Complimentary Tickets - - - 5 3 2 1 -
Invitation to VIP Reception and Press Conference - - - - -
Brand placement on sponsored award  - Ο - - - - -
Opportunity to introduce award recipient - Ο - - - - -
Exclusive exposure of corporate display - - - - - - -
Primary exposure of corporate display - Ο - - - - -
Prominent exposure of corporate display - - - - - -
Exclusive logo exposure on all event advertising and promotion - - - - - - -
Primary logo exposure on all event advertising and promotion - Ο - - - - -
Corporate profile and hyperlink on event webpage - - - - - - -
Corporate logo and hyperlink on event webpage - - - - -
Feature profile in one edition of NADF newsletter - - - - - - -
Exhibit booth space at event - - - -
Acknowledgement in event program and event webpage - - - -
Gift of Appreciation -
First right of refusal for 24th annual event - - - - -

NOTE: "Ο" indicates that in the event that a vacancy exists at the Award Sponsor Level or is unable to present, a Platinum Sponsor will fulfill that vacancy.  Selection will be based on order of sponsorship registration. 


Nominations are Now Closed


To be eligible nominees must satisfy the following criteria:

  1. Be a member of Treaty #9, Treaty #5 (Ontario Portion), Treaty #3 or Robinson-Superior 1850 OR Be a member of a recognized Métis association; AND
  2. Be substantially involved in the day-to-day operations of the business; AND
  3. Be able to provide evidence of the business’ financial performance; AND
  4. Be able to demonstrate high ethical and professional standards; AND
  5. Be able to demonstrate involvement in community programs, activities and services.

Do you know someone who fits this profile?  Nominate them for an award!


Youth Entrepreneur: Presented to an Aboriginal youth between 18 and 35 years of age who is successfully operating a business in northern Ontario for a least two years.

Business Woman: Presented to an Aboriginal woman, 18 years or older, who is successfully operating a business in northern Ontario. Business must be in operation for a minimum of two (2) years.

Business Man: Presented to an Aboriginal man, 18 years or older, who is successfully operating a business in northern Ontario. Business must be in operation for a minimum of two (2) years.

Executive: Presented to an individual of Aboriginal heritage in northern Ontario who currently holds an executive position for a minimum period of 1 year; and who has made significant contributions to the organization.

Partnership: Presented to a successful business partnership where at least one of the partners is of Aboriginal heritage, is significantly involved in the day-to-day operations of the business, and retains at least 51% ownership in the business.

Corporation: Presented to a majority-owned Aboriginal corporation that is operating successfully in northern Ontario.

Building Communities: Presented to an individual of Aboriginal heritage; or a majority-owned Aboriginal business; or an Aboriginal organization that is successfully operating a business in northern Ontario.

New Business: Presented to an individual of Aboriginal heritage; or a majority-owned Aboriginal business; or an Aboriginal organization, located in northern Ontario. Business must in operation for a minimum of one (1) year, but less than two (2) years.



In 1991, NADF hosted the 1st Annual Business Awards dinner to recognize two award recipients for their achievement in business: Business Man and Business Woman of the Year. Since then, the number of award categories has expanded to eight, with the most recent addition in 2010.

Traditionally awards have been presented to Aboriginal entrepreneurs, executives, businesses and organizations within the Nishnawbe Aski Nation territory. This territory spans the northern portion of Ontario, primarily the area known as Treaty #9, from the James Bay coast to the Manitoba border. Due to the vastness of the territory, the awards venue has alternated between Thunder Bay, ON and Timmins, ON to provide opportunity for participation from across the Nation. In recent years, the award categories have been opened up to recognize the achievements of all Aboriginal entrepreneurs, executives, businesses and organizations in northern Ontario, including Nishnawbe Aski Nation, Robinson-Superior 1850 and Treaty #3 territories.

In 1993, the annual awards banquet also evolved into a fundraiser with event proceeds supporting the Dennis Franklin Cromarty Memorial Fund; a bursary fund to assist Aboriginal pursuing post secondary education. The DFC Memorial Fund was created in memory of the late Dennis Franklin Cromarty, former Grand Chief of Nishnawbe Aski Nation and past President/CEO of Nishnawbe Aski Development Fund.  Dennis was a visionary dedicated to achieving harmony amongst all peoples and his belief in Aboriginal people and what they could accomplish never swayed. His conviction to improving the quality of life, the advancement and recognition of Treaty, Aboriginal and Inherent Rights provided the vision for promoting self-government. Dennis truly felt that there was no room for making excuses, only room to improve and to be dedicated to that improvement by 'working together'. We remain inspired by his example and work diligently to make Dennis' dream become a reality.



Opinion Poll

NADF's programs and services support business and economic development in northern Ontario. What services are you aware of? (Select all that apply)
Appraisal Services
Resource Sector Advisory Services
Community Strategic Planning
Business Support
ABCP and/or LIC
View Results



Register to receive our newsletters and information on upcoming events.