Shop First Nations: Supporting Indigenous Businesses To Thrive 

Data from the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business indicates that over 99% of Aboriginal businesses are small and medium enterprises. However, overcoming the financial and social barriers to setting up a business is not easy. Shop First Nation was launched to encourage an aboriginal entrepreneurial mindset and support Indigenous businesses. 

Shop First Nation bolsters First Nations, Inuit, and Métis businesses by encouraging consumers to purchase Indigenous goods and services and supports these businesses in the digital economy. Their mission is to attract and promote consumer investment in Indigenous goods and services regardless of their ancestry, whether they are Indigenous or new citizens of Canada.

They work to achieve the goal of supporting Indigenous businesses across Canada by promoting the brand and its goods and services through their platforms and empowering Indigenous businesses to leverage the digital economy to improve commerce and contribute to Truth & Reconciliation.

Image Courtesy: https://shopfirstnations.com/

Shop First Nation began as a First Nations initiative to spur consumer support for Indigenous businesses across Canada. The CCAB data reporting that most Indigenous businesses are small and medium enterprises shows that they require consumer support and help to survive. Shop First Nation calls on customers from all backgrounds and ancestries to support and contribute to the growth and development of Indigenous businesses. 

Through their initiatives, Shop First Nation encourage customers to choose First Nations products and services as their primary choice. It also encourages these businesses to stay updated on the developments of the time. As a first step to working for the cause, Shop First Nation has created an Indigenous business directory to promote Indigenous businesses near you.

The founder of Shop First Nation is Rob Schulz, who belongs to the Métis on his mother’s side and German on his father’s side. Born and raised in Greater Vancouver, the unceded, traditional territories of the Squamish, Musqeum, and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations currently resides in New Westminster, which includes the traditional territory of Qayqayt First Nation. 

A graduate from BCIT with a Diploma (Honours) in Computer Systems Technology, Rob is professionally well versed in providing strategic technology solutions with expertise as an Enterprise and Integration Architect in the retail and commercial real estate sectors. He enjoys creating collaborative relationships and shared goals to deliver impactful technical solutions in today’s digital economy.

The Director of Marketing, Chelssie Baker, is a Squamish Nation on her father’s side and German-Russian on her mother’s side. She grew up in Kelowna, B.C, until she left Canada at 18 to start following her passions. After 15 years of living abroad, she worked on various job profiles, including being a translator in the Indonesian Parliament and owning business enterprises. Chelssie is very active in charity programs, focusing on sustainable agriculture and aquaponics, often holding fundraisers for orphanages. 

Image Courtesy: https://shopfirstnations.com/

She loves to immerse herself in culture, learning different languages and traditions. She understands the importance of empathy in growing compassion and perspective; thus, her goal is to help Indigenous businesses grow and feel heard and supported. She returned to Canada to learn about her culture and traditions and considers Shop First Nations as her calling and something she is passionate about. 

Daphane Nelson is the Volunteer Advisor who lives in unceded Secwepemcúl’ecw. After completing her university education in business and economics, she held a range of positions in the financial sector, oversaw a law firm and started her business consultancy. She also serves as a director for the Interior Savings Credit Union. Through the onboarding process for the credit union, Daphane discovered the cooperative model and developed a passion for the business model.  

Shop First Nation is the perfect way to celebrate and support Indigenous culture and businesses and to discover local First Nations, Inuit, and Métis businesses. To know more about their services, visit their website, https://shopfirstnations.com/

Indigenous businesses require all the support they can get to survive and thrive. To learn more about the ways to support Indigenous businesses, subscribe to CanadianSME Small Business Magazine https://lnkd.in/dbqmSKN. For the latest updates, visit our Twitter page at @canadian_sme.

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