Earlier this year, the provincial government provided a total of $5 million in grants to 14 Indigenous community-owned businesses through the Aboriginal Business Investment Fund (ABIF). Some of those funds will be coming to the area.
LAKELAND – In late February, the provincial government provided a total of $5 million in grants to 14 Indigenous community-owned businesses through the Aboriginal Business Investment Fund (ABIF).
Among the 14 includes Pimee Well Servicing, owned by Beaver Lake First Nation, Frog Lake First Nation, Heart Lake First Nation, Kehewin Cree Nation, Saddle Lake First Nation, and Whitefish Lake First nation #128.
The company provides oil rigs and servicing in the oil and gas industry, and provides dividends to the six First Nations, which helps fund community initiatives.
Pimee received $500,000 which will fund the retrofitting of existing equipment such as the purchase of a pump and tank to help upgrade a rig. The pump and tank purchase are around $1.9 million in total, and the $500,000 will help cover the amount.
Sandy Jackson, the company’s industry relations and business development officer, explained the industry has changed in terms of service delivery. The change oil producers wanted to see is an all-inclusive delivery of service, as opposed to having “many contractors on-site delivering that service,” said Jackson.
For example, many oil and gas services on a well project such as pump and tank providers are provided by third-party contractors. “The industry is wanting these business units become part of a package,” said Jackson.
“What we’re doing… is we’re securing those jobs on the well servicing side,” by being able to do the services themselves rather than have a third-party contractor or company with the equipment do it.
Since the over 38 years of existence of Pimee Well Servicing, which started in 1984, generating employment has been one of driving forces of the company for the shareholder Indigenous community. “When, you look at being able to create those jobs, you’re able to look at another stream of opportunity.”
The revenue the company then makes can benefit those shareholder Indigenous communities. “It’s maintaining and creating employment opportunities,” he reiterated.
Pimee employs 148 employees which are 97 per cent Indigenous, and “we’re proud of that,” said Jackson. “They come from the shareholder communities,” and other Indigenous communities as well, “whether they’re Metis or other First Nation communities throughout Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.”
He also acknowledged the Alberta government for providing grants such as the $500,000 through ABIF.
Jackson stated that such grants become a foundation to achieve a net economic benefit and outcome for the province. Also, by providing increased employment opportunities for the Indigenous peoples, it also increases local revenue streams to many Indigenous communities.