Starting a business requires a lot of perseverance and commitment. It requires consistent hardwork and motivation, and ever-glowing passion toward your dream. Most entrepreneurs start their endeavors not as a means of making profits but as a manifestation of their dream and the thrill of running a business. Hence, their companies aim to emerge as socially responsible enterprises contributing to nation-building and community development. Indigenous businesses and entrepreneurs have always adhered to these characteristics.
Here are five among them who spread inspiration through their work and achievements.
Jarret Leaman is a Magnetawan First Nation member and the co-founder of the Centre for Indigenous Innovation and Technology (CIIT), a non-profit dedicated to increasing Indigenous Peoples’ participation in the technology sector and fostering innovation through an Indigenous lens. In addition, he is a nationally recognized public speaker who works to address Indigenous economic development, technology, reconciliation, the 2SLGBTQIA community, and the development of Indigenous leadership capability.
Jarret is also the co-founder of Akawe Technologies, a blockchain and software startup developing tailored technological solutions for Indigenous Peoples and other groups. He won the Sovereign’s Medal of Honour, was designated one of the Huffington Post’s Top 3 Indigenous Millennials in Canada, and was chosen one of the Indigenoimic Institute’s Ten to Watch in 2020. In addition, he has completed fellowships with CivicAction and Future Cities Canada and participated in the Governor General’s Leadership Conference.
Brian Ludwigsen is a First Nations consultation, stakeholder engagement, socioeconomic evaluation, and community development expert. He is an independent consultant with vast expertise in creating and strengthening long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with Indigenous communities, industry, and government agencies. Community consultations, corporate and First Nation management, job and trade training programs, economic and community sustainability planning, and the development and assistance of Indigenous entrepreneurs are among his previous experiences.
Maamigin Environmental is Northwestern Ontario’s first Native-owned and certified environmental services company. They have collaborated with industry, government agencies, and Indigenous communities to build long-lasting, mutually beneficial connections. Maamigin has strategically teamed with local environmental and engineering firms in Thunder Bay, Ontario, and is on its way to becoming the region’s top Indigenous Environmental Management firm.
Tera Beaulieu is a psychotherapist and a Citizen of the Métis Nation of Ontario with a clear vision for a therapeutic and consulting practice based on the principles of story, wholism, spirit, relationship, and justice. She is the founder and Director of Weaving Wellness Centre, established in 2020 to support individuals journeying toward wellness and healing. Tera is completing a Ph.D. in Clinical and Counselling Psychology at the University of Toronto.
Tera primarily practices emotion-focused therapy and utilizes various trauma-based treatments, including EMDR. She has worked clinically with a range of individuals and mental health issues. She has worked extensively with women, trauma survivors, 2SLGBTQ+ and racialized and Indigenous (First Nation, Inuit & Métis) peoples on their healing journeys. She is an emerging leader in Métis mental health and has developed innovative and culturally-specific clinical programming for several Indigenous communities and organizations.
Chef Tammy Maki
Tammy Maki is a proud Saulteaux Ojibwe kwe from White Bear First Nation in Saskatchewan and a Certified Red Seal Journeyman Pastry Chef and Baker. She was in the electrical trade, owning an electrical contracting company. But her love for cooking and baking made her take a career change and enroll in college to study baking and pastry arts. Within a week of finishing culinary school, she moved to Banff, Alberta, to work as a first-year apprentice. She gained experience working at Fairmont Springs, Rimrock, Wedgewood, and the Westin.
Today, Chef Tammy Maki is the owner and CEO at Raven Rising Enterprises Ltd., an e-commerce chocolate shop that ships Canada-wide and is located in Sudbury, Ontario. Raven Rising was Tammy’s way of having complete creative control and exploring her Indigenous identity. She also wishes to learn and share knowledge and understanding of Indigenous ingredients and the First Peoples globally. She also owns a storefront at 66 Cedar Street in the downtown core.
Elaine Alec is an author, political advisor, women’s advocate, spiritual thought leader, and teacher. She is a founding partner of Alderhill Planning, a firm of diverse facilitators, planners, artists, and systems thinkers who utilize planning as a tool for self-determination. Elaine offers online training workshops, seminars, and keynotes. In addition, she practices and teaches decolonized practices for healing and decolonizing within the workplace and in life at large.
Alderhill Planning Inc. is an Indigenous-owned and operated planning company with leading experts in Indigenous community planning. They believe their communities are unique and deserve respectful, effective, culturally-based planning processes grounded in experience and best practices. With strong connections to communities and cultures, the planners at Alderhill are committed to genuine nation-building, reflecting each community’s unique history and culture. They have extensive experience designing inclusive processes that can mediate and bring together opposing perspectives and diverse backgrounds and work collaboratively to align government, community, and organizational objectives and mandates.
Indigenous entrepreneurs are a great part of the national building process. Their skill in formulating business ideas that can uplift the community and their contribution to the economic reconciliation movement has had a significant impact. They have always stood out as ethical practitioners, incorporating the best tools and resources into their operations and bringing holistic change to the community. Indigenous entrepreneurs have always left a mark in the industry and have inspired others through their success stories to take the lead.
Indigenous businesses strive to grow through innovative and creative methods. To read more about these topics, subscribe to Indigenous SME Business Magazine at lnkd.in/gBMWGCHX and for the latest updates, check our Twitter page @IndigenousSme.