As per the official Government of Canada statistics, Canada accounts for more than 1.6 million indigenous people living in more than 600 indigenous communities. Although there are quite varied schemes available for the indigenous people now, however, that was not always the case. Indigenous people in Canada had to face societal bias, systematic discrimination, and oppressive governments over the years. Therefore, when it came to academic and business circles, they were hugely at a disadvantage.
Because of all these disadvantages and inequitable funding, only about 48 percent of Indigenous people graduate high school. And that is why the Canadian business world, which is highly reliant on a person’s educational background remains inaccessible to these indigenous groups.
Thankfully, provinces like British Columbia have taken it upon themselves to address these issues and find a way out to provide equal opportunity and access to indigenous people as well. And, it is working! Notably, British Columbia accounted for a stark 81% graduation rate among indigenous people in 2016. However, there’s a lot to be done and the Canadian government recognizes this. Therefore, they have several tools and resources in place to encourage and support the indigenous people, especially the indigenous entrepreneurs.
Why Become an Indigenous Entrepreneur?
Before we talk about the best resources for indigenous entrepreneurs, let us take a look at why you should consider starting your own business as an indigenous entrepreneur. Well, first things first, to be an entrepreneur means to take your destiny into your own hands. Not only that, but you’ll also be in control of your future. Additionally, you can bring all your ideas to life through planning and careful execution.
Yes, it’s not an easy road, but the journey is worth the trouble as it will not just be full of learning experiences but also give you several opportunities to grow. Remember, all thriving economies have small businesses as their backbone, and as we build a resilient business community today, we lay the foundation for a strong business ecosystem for the next generation.
And the numbers speak for themselves as Small business BC writes, “Fortunately, the process of reconciliation has brought about some change. A 2018 survey from Vancity reported that 48% of Indigenous entrepreneurs say they experienced systemic barriers five years ago, compared to just 21% now. Non-Indigenous Canadians and businesses are also starting to recognize and acknowledge the historic and legal challenges confronting Indigenous communities.”
Best Resources for Indigenous Entrepreneurs in Canada
While starting a business, you need to take care of several aspects. From coming up with a seller’s business idea to the business plan and funding, there are many challenges in the way. If you need more information on the same, the CanadianSME Small Business Magazine will definitely clear all your doubts. Having said that, the Government of Canada has some great tools and resources at the disposal of indigenous entrepreneurs and we have listed them down below:
Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB)
Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB) functions as a bridge to connect aboriginal people with businesses in Canada. The official website states, “CCAB builds bridges between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples, businesses, and communities through diverse programming, providing tools, training, network building, major business awards, and national events.” For more information on the same, please click the link provided above.
Animikii Indigenous Technology
Animikii is a digital agency owned by an indigenous business owner who is working towards providing support to upcoming entrepreneurs in the indigenous community. Providing support in custom software to web designing, Animikii is a great option to consider if you are looking to start your own business.
Canadian Centre for Aboriginal Entrepreneurship
Dedicated towards the growth and promotion of indigenous entrepreneurship in Canada, the Canadian Centre for Aboriginal Entrepreneurship provides support in training, writing and speaking services, project management, etc.
Indigenous Business Development Services
Established in 2017, to explicitly help the indigenous people in British Columbia, the Indigenous Business Development Services provides a platform for indigenous businesses to grow and develop. Additionally, it also hosts regular workshops to expand the reach of programming.
Our content acknowledges the strength of the ardent entrepreneurs and their lifelong experiences of the marketplace that help them build successful business empires. Our belief in productive learning and providing inclusive content is why we have plans for a wide spectrum of activities that incorporate everything from reading to prolific networking.
Native Women’s Association of Canada
Working towards representing the indigenous women in the community, the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) talks about inclusivity and a gender-diverse Canada. Additionally, it also works on several issues like women in business, justice and human rights, labor, health, childcare amongst others.
Advanced Business Match
Small Business BC writes, “Advanced Business Match (ABM) is the most powerful Aboriginal-Driven business event in Canada. ABM connects Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal decision makers to create opportunities for business. ABM Delegates choose to meet one-on-one through the selection of potential business matches using profile information.”
BDC Indigenous Entrepreneur Banking
BDC Indigenous Entrepreneur Banking is a financial institution dedicated to the indigenous entrepreneurs in Canada. In their bid to help the indigenous community, they offer a unique $350,000 loan for indigenous entrepreneurs who want to step foot in the business world.
To Wrap It Up
If you are an indigenous entrepreneur, hoping to start your business but do not know where to begin, these tools and resources can definitely help you find your way. Additionally, they can also provide you with all the support you need whether it is financial or anything else. You can learn more about such tools specifically meant for indigenous entrepreneurs by subscribing to the CanadianSME Small Business Magazine!