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Lockheed Martin Canada Partners with New Brunswick’s Joint Economic Development Initiative for Aboriginal Business Accelerator

Ottawa, Ontario, October 12, 2016 – Lockheed Martin Canada is pleased to continue and further expand its partnership with the Joint Economic Development Initiative (JEDI), a not-for-profit Aboriginal organization whose mission is to work with partners to foster economic and workforce development for Aboriginal people and communities in New Brunswick.

JEDI launched a targeted strategy in 2014, designed to open doors for Aboriginal people to pursue businesses and careers in the aerospace and defence industry. As part of this strategy, the organization developed a unique training and mentorship program – the JEDI Aboriginal Business Accelerator program. This program is aimed at helping participating entrepreneurs in New Brunswick turn their ideas into strong businesses focused on exporting and creating new intellectual property that is attractive to the aerospace and defence industry.  Following completion of the program, Aboriginal entrepreneurs are better equipped to become part of the supply chain for shipbuilding and related defence sector opportunities.

Lockheed Martin Canada has partnered with JEDI on this project since its inception in 2015. The company first reviewed the training and mentorship curriculum, providing constructive feedback to further scale the program and participated in the first training modules.

The 2015 pilot program, held at the National Research Council of Canada, supported eight participants with companies in mobile software development, security, machining, consulting, clean tech and health sciences. The 10-week program focused on helping the entrepreneurs succeed by introducing them to key skills and resources ranging from financial management to research and development. Following the program, participants have received interest from investors, universities and large aerospace and defence companies.

“Lockheed Martin Canada has a significant focus on strengthening our community of small Canadian businesses. Our future success – and Canada’s technological advantage – depend on a constant supply of highly trained technical talent as well as highly capable suppliers. JEDI’s program has an essential role to play in positioning Aboriginal entrepreneurs for future opportunities in shipbuilding and defence. Our industry needs these talented people to develop their businesses because we are always looking for new partners to meet the increasing demands of our programs.” said Rosemary Chapdelaine, Vice President and General Manager, Lockheed Martin Canada Rotary and Mission Systems.

Lockheed Martin Canada will continue its partnership with JEDI, increasing its sponsorship support for the new cohort of ten participants in the 2016 program. This effort is part of the company’s overarching strategy to engage and support small and medium Canadian businesses for programs like the Canadian Surface Combatant and initiatives like the IMPACT Centre.

"JEDI is pleased to partner once again with Lockheed Martin Canada on the JEDI Aboriginal Business Accelerator," says Alex Dedam, President of the Joint Economic Development Initiative. "The JEDI Aboriginal Business Accelerator is an exciting endeavour that will have a tremendous impact on its graduates, the communities they live in and the aerospace and defence industry. The support of Lockheed Martin Canada will be instrumental in helping many Aboriginal people turn their business ideas into successful companies." 

The second Aboriginal Business Accelerator Program will take place beginning in November at Planet Hatch in Fredericton, NB. It will include weekly instruction, office hours with experts and successful entrepreneurs, networking events, presentations as well as business-to-business meetings with key industry stakeholders.

In addition to Lockheed Martin Canada, partners also include the 15 First Nations of New Brunswick, the New Brunswick Aboriginal Peoples Council, the Government of Canada, the Government of New Brunswick, Planet Hatch, IBM and BMO. The University of New Brunswick will also support the research and development work of participants.

About the Joint Economic Development Initiative JEDI):
JEDI is a not-for-profit Aboriginal organization whose mission is to work with partners to foster economic and workforce development for Aboriginal people and communities in New Brunswick.

About Lockheed Martin Canada:
Lockheed Martin Canada is a highly diversified global enterprise principally engaged in the research, design, manufacture, and integration of advanced-technology products. By applying the innovative approaches of our highly skilled and experienced Canadian-based workforce, we have been Canada’s trusted defence partner for over 75 years. The company employs more than 850 employees at major facilities in Ottawa, Montreal, Dartmouth, Calgary, and Victoria, working on a wide range of major programs spanning the aerospace, defence and civil sectors.