Nbisiing Power has opened its doors for business and unveiled its new head office in the Bineshii Small Business Centre west of North Bay.
Anishinabek Grand Council Chief Reg Niganobe was there to help celebrate the grand opening, as was Nipissing First Nation (NFN) Chief Scott McLeod, who mentioned that the Small Business Centre is filling up fast, “and it’s a good problem to have.”
Nbisiing Power (pronounced bee-sing, the ‘n’ is silent) doesn’t sell power. You can’t visit the office and ask them to hook your home up to their grid. What Nbisiing Power provides is equipment to the energy sector; the new company will act “as a reseller of electrical power equipment,” explained Christine Goulais, the acting chief executive officer for Nbisiing Power.
As such, Nbisiing Power will “provide an Indigenous procurement opportunity to large utilities like Hydro One and Ontario Power Generation who are sourcing electrical equipment.” Corporate Canada “has made some significant commitments related to Indigenous procurement,” Goulais explained, and Nbisiing power aims to help ease the procurement process in the energy industry.
Hydro poles, wires, cables, transformers: “we can provide that type of equipment,” Goulais explained.
The company is a partnership between NFN, which is the majority owner, and Composite Power Group. The new business is focused “on building cooperative and mutually beneficial relationships with communities, customers and manufacturers,” Goulais said.
She continued: “We plan to branch out to other key customers across Canada as we grow the sustainability of the business.” If all goes well, Nbisiing Power will “provide a long stable revenue stream for the community.”
Currently, Nbisiing Power has two employees, Goulais and Richard Booy, who serves as the strategic business advisor. Already, the company is looking to fill two more positions, Goulais explained, and hope to add a few more in the upcoming years.
A business like Nbisiing Power represents NFN’s “sovereignty and our independence as a nation,” explained Chief McLeod, “to be able to create opportunities” within the community. “Funding our own programs,” he continued, allows the First Nation to “direct our own destiny” and continue to develop “economic activities in our nation.”
He said he looks forward to working with Composite Power Group, anticipating that “this strategic business partnership will ultimately help NFN diversify our economy and build capacity in a relatively new industry where there are plenty of opportunities that aren’t currently being realized.”
David Briggs is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of BayToday, a publication of Village Media. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.