Educational programs

ACE program wins 2020 BC Business of Good Award

BC Business launched the Business of Good Awards to “celebrate organizations throughout BC that turn the principles of social responsibility into action”. The magazine aimed to highlight workplace inclusivity, community involvement, environmental sustainability and fostering Indigenous prosperity.

In February 2020, inaugural winners in five categories were selected by a panel of judges and received invitations to attend a gala dinner. During the celebration, the ACE program was honoured as runner-up in the Business of Good 2020: Indigenous Prosperity category.

The winner, East Side Games, is a successful, Indigenous-owned video game development company. In addition to supporting Indigenous youth in the gaming industry, the company sponsored Toronto’s ImagineNative, the world’s largest Indigenous film and interactive media festival, held in Toronto in October 2019.

The Aboriginal Canadian Entrepreneurs (ACE) Program, in partnership with Tribal Resource Investment Corporation (TRICORP), continues its expansion in BC with over 300 graduates from 38 Indigenous communities. 

Delivered in-community, the innovative experiential learning program offers world-class, relevant and culturally sensitive business education. The ACE program provides prospective Indigenous entrepreneurs with the skills they need to succeed as business owners in their community without foregoing traditional values.

BCBusiness Award Winners

BCBusiness Launches Awards

ACE honoured with International Excellence in Gold Award


(L-R) Charmaine Stack, Dr. Brent Mainprize, David Parnell, Cory Stephens

In Barcelona, Spain, on November 13, 2019, the ACE program received the Excellence in Practice Gold Award, from the European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD). The honour, bestowed by the world’s largest association in the field of management development, in the category of Ecosystem Development, recognized the collaboration, innovative course design and in-community delivery of the Indigenous ACE program.

Developed in partnership with Tribal Resources Investment Corporation (TRICORP), federal and provincial governments, and Gustavson School of Business, the ACE program has over 300 graduates from 38 Indigenous communities with 84 businesses launched. As well, many ACE graduates have pursued further education or secured employment in their business area of interest.

We’re proud of the ACE programs and the difference they are making in the lives of our people and in the economic self-reliance of our Indigenous communities. This prestigious international honour validates the power in partnership where we work together and learn from each other by bridging Indigenous culture with the key principles of entrepreneurship.

Dr. Frank Parnell, CEO, TRICORP

EFMD created the Excellence in Practice Awards in 2007 to showcase outstanding learning and development partnerships that demonstrate best collaborative practices in the field of executive education. The ACE program was the only North American partnership to be recognized.

EFMD Global Excellence in Practice Gold

2019 Gustavson Year in Review

2016 ACE Awards

In 2016, the ACE program received the following recognition.

  • June: the program earned the Alan Blizzard Award presented by the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (STLHE), the preeminent voice in Canada for enhancing teaching and learning in higher education. The national award, bestowed every two years, celebrates excellence in teaching and learning, based on values and practices of collaborative teaching. The award recognized the outstanding team work demonstrated by the Tribal Resources Investment Corporation, Service Canada, UVic's Peter B. Gustavson School of Business and Indigenous communities to develop and present such a successful program.

  • June: the program was awarded the Gold Global Best Award in the category of Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Skills for the North America Region.
  • September: from a competitive pool of six categories, seven world regions and 84 finalists, a panel of international judges honoured the ACE program with Global Best Overall Award at the annual Global Best Awards in Oslo, Norway.

It is a tremendous honour to be invited into an Indigenous community to deliver education. By going into communities, the NW-ACE™ program has taken a new approach to ensuring success. We are customizing the courses and building what the communities want, an approach that is unique among Canadian business schools—offering Indigenous education programs on their terms in their territory.
Dr. Brent Mainprize, NW-ACE™ program director