Indigenous Cannabis Business Fund (ICBF)


The Indigenous Cannabis Business Fund (ICBF) provides non-repayable funding contributions to First Nation Communities & businesses and Indigenous entrepreneurs in British Columbia that want to participate in and receive supports to advance economic development opportunities in the federally (production, distribution, and retail) and provincially (non-medical retail sales) regulated cannabis sector.

The intention of ICBF is to address gaps in capacity and funding to support diversity and equity in the legal cannabis space that is inclusive of Indigenous communities and businesses.

Eligible applicants will have access to two (2) funding streams to support progress through community planning & engagement and business planning, design & implementation related to their cannabis project.

The ICBF initiative was developed in partnership with the BC Assembly of First Nations, the network of B.C. Aboriginal Financial Institutions (AFI’s), Health Canada & Indigenous Services Canada Strategic Partnership Initiatives, and the Province of B.C. through the BC Cannabis Secretariat.

Funding opportunities under the ICBF will be administered and co-delivered by the New Relationship Trust and participating AFI’s in B.C.

To read the news release announcing this funding initiative, please click here.


The primary goals of the ICBF initiative include:

  • Support Indigenous business development in the regulated cannabis sector.
  • Indigenous employment creation, skills development & training.
  • Economic diversification and equity in the cannabis space including opportunities for and in rural and remote communities and indigenous women entrepreneurs etc.
  • Development, public awareness, supply chain participation, and procurement opportunities for indigenous brands and products.
  • Support indigenous businesses, entrepreneurs, and communities – navigate, prepare for, adapt, and implement cannabis opportunities in the post-legalization environment.
  • Balance community health, knowledge, and safety needs with economic growth opportunities.
  • Support Indigenous entrepreneurs and businesses in navigating the current regulatory processes.


  • BC First Nations
  • BC First Nation Businesses
  • Indigenous (First Nation, Metis, and Inuit) entrepreneurs & businesses


Eligibility Requirements:

  • Indigenous entrepreneurs and businesses must have a minimum of 50.1% indigenous ownership.
  • Stream 2 funding amounts (described below) are not offered as a stand-alone source of funding and must be applied for in conjunction with the funding limits, equity requirements, assessment, and approval policies of the AFIs including confirmation of the financial capacity of the applicant.


The ICBF will have a continuous intake and approval process during the annual application periods identified below.

The annual intake and approval process will end the earlier of the intake closing date or when the annual funding available has been exhausted.

Application Funding Period:

Start DateClosing Date
Intake 1December 12, 2022January 10, 2023
Intake 2April 1, 2023September 30, 2023
Intake 3April 1, 2024September 30, 2024



Step 1:  Expression of Interest (EOI) Form: We appreciate your interest in applying for an ICBF contribution from the New Relationship Trust and/or one of our participating AFIs. To better understand your business opportunity, capacity needs, and funding requirements please complete the expression of interest form below.

After you submit the form, we’ll contact you within 2 business days to discuss the process and next steps.

Step 2: Completing a Full Application

Once the EOI submission has been evaluated and the follow-up process has taken place, the ICBF program staff will invite eligible applicants to complete a full application.  In most instances, this means the applicant will be referred to an AFI to apply under their business assessment policies.


The community engagement stream (1) funding will incorporate a basic criteria-based process for selecting approved recipients.

The Business Planning, Design, and Capital stream (2) funding will incorporate best practice business assessment policies and procedures as carried out by one of the AFIs.

A multi-stakeholder Steering Committee will provide overall ICBF guidance and direction to support the approval and funding allocation decisions.

Successful applicants can anticipate the approval communication from New Relationship Trust or the AFI you applied to, as soon as practical after submitting a complete application.


The list below identifies the Aboriginal Financial Institutions (AFIs) in British Columbia.  Please note, not all AFIs are participating in the ICBF Initiative.


The links below provide information about cannabis, process of legalization, health effects, addiction, medical use, applying for industry licenses, consumer information, market data, and other research and resources.


The ICBF staff encourage potential applicants to reach out if you have questions, require assistance, or wish to discuss your business opportunity prior to submitting an EOI or application.  Please contact us at the email address below and our ICBF staff will respond within 2 business days:

By Email:

[email protected]