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Plato Testing announcement

$500k Investment in PLATO Testing by Raven Indigenous Capital Partners Will Increase Training and Employment Opportunities in Canada’s Tech Sector for Indigenous People

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January 13, 2021 - PLATO Testing, Canada’s only Indigenous-led and staffed software testing company, is celebrating the new year with a significant investment of $500,000 from investment firm Raven Indigenous Capital Partners. The funding will support the training and employment of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit students as software testers, boosting the Indigenous economy and creating jobs from coast to coast.

With its unique train-and-employ model, PLATO Testing is changing the face of technology in Canada. Since launching in 2015, PLATO has held 15 training programs and trained more than 175 Indigenous students in software testing, creating a significant impact in over 50 communities and injecting almost $8 million directly into the Indigenous economy.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the PLATO Testing training program has continued. In November, the first-ever hybrid in-person/virtual class began in Sault Ste. Marie and Regina. Students receive five-months of in-class training on the fundamentals of software testing, then undertake a three-month internship with one of Canada’s leading corporations.

Following the successful completion of the program, students are guaranteed full-time, stable jobs with PLATO Testing. With corporate partners including Suncor and FortisBC, PLATO Testing is introducing some of the country’s industry leaders to the capabilities of Indigenous technology workers.

“Since inception, PLATO has demonstrated a singular commitment to lifting up Indigenous Peoples by providing low barrier pathways to skills development and careers in the technology sector,” said Jeff Cyr, Managing Partner of Raven Indigenous Capital Partners. “Raven is excited to support the next phase of PLATO’s growth and development as it scales across Canada.”

The Raven Capital investment will support PLATO’s future growth as it expands into other regions of the country to provide meaningful career opportunities for Indigenous Peoples. This partnership highlights PLATO’s positioning for growth and the scalability of their model, and signals to the Indigenous business community their readiness to secure other Indigenous investors in order to become a majority-owned Indigenous company.

“Despite the challenges of COVID-19, it has been a good year for our PLATO team and today’s news has us looking positively toward the future,” said PLATO Testing CEO and founder Keith McIntosh. “While PLATO was developed in response to the 92nd Truth and Reconciliation Commission Call to Action on jobs and training, it’s always been about more than that. Representation matters and we have seen time and time again that when you provide the next generation with leaders in their own communities who have gone into a new industry and excelled, they are inspired to go even further.”

In 2020, PLATO Testing founder Keith McIntosh was awarded the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business Award for Excellence in Aboriginal Relations, joining the likes of former Prime Minister Paul Martin and Senator Murray Sinclair as champions for Indigenous economic participation.

“Keith’s commitment to growing Indigenous participation in tech continues to have a profound impact on not only the people he employs and their families and communities, but on long-held mainstream beliefs about who Indigenous people are and where we belong,” said Tabatha Bull, President and CEO, Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business. He is dismantling some of the harmful narratives that have kept Indigenous people from taking their rightful place in the Canadian economy.”

For more information about Plato Testing Inc check their website at:

Fireweed fellowship cohort

First, National Indigenous Accelerator Program launches with 24 Entrepreneurs

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For Immediate release

Vancouver, BC (November 26, 2020) - The Fireweed Fellowship welcomed 24 Indigenous womxn (cis or trans), non-binary folx, 2 Spirit, IndigiQueer+ entrepreneurs to participate in the first ever national Indigenous accelerator program.

Through the 10 month program, folx will join a cohort that combines online educational sessions, self-directed on the land learning, leadership development, funder and investor introductions, online chats with Elders and feasts, and trauma informed money mindset and entrepreneurial finance workshops. Additionally, the cohort will be offered peer support, one-on-one coaching, mentorship, pro-bono professional services and investment-readiness preparation.

“Participation in the Fireweed Fellowship means acceptance into a community of supporters, mentors, coaches and unconditional love for the work we are doing,” said Nicole McLaren, Founder and CEO of Raven Reads Books Ltd. “Raven Reads was founded on the premise of education and unconditional support for our subscribers, and we are very appreciative of finding a community who will support us in our endeavors and growth.”

The Fireweed Fellowship is an initiative of Raven Indigenous Capital Partners, Canada's first Indigenous-led and owned social finance intermediary. “By investing in our people, we can build the Indigenous economy. We believe that is the best way to achieve equity and equality for Indigenous folx living in Canada today,” said Paul Lacerte, Managing Partner of Raven Indigenous Capital Partners. “The Fireweed Fellowship is the next step in fulfilling our vision by supporting entrepreneurs who are bringing back economic practices centred in relationship-based values.”

The program was co-created and informed by Knowledge Keepers, business leaders and the Fireweed Fellowship’s Indigenous program team to decolonize the standard accelerator model. All elements of the program have been designed to honour and recognize the wisdom of Elders, relationship to land,the strength of the matriarchy.


* Two-eye seeing or Etuaptmumk is a Mi'kmaw word and concept.

About the Fireweed Fellowship: The Fireweed Fellowship was created in response to the need to decolonize business and entrepreneurship programming. Fireweed is committed to economic transformation. This means a shift from scarcity to abundance; with Indigenous wisdom at the centre and celebrating Indigenous excellence. Due to the global pandemic, the Fireweed Fellowship moved its in-person, cohort based programming to an interactive online format to protect the health and safety of participants. The Fireweed Fellowship is supported by Shopify, Lawson Foundation, Vancouver Foundation, Dragonfly Ventures, Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) and RADIUS SFU.

About Raven Indigenous Capital Partners: Raven Indigenous Capital Partners work in partnership with Indigenous social enterprises and social purpose organizations to accelerate their success by providing access to capital and bespoke technical assistance within an Indigenous cultural framework. Ultimately, Raven aims to achieve a positive and lasting impact on the Indigenous and Canadian economies.

Media Contact:

Shani Gwin
Gwin Communications
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