According to official figures from the Canadian Government, there are over 1.6 million Indigenous people residing in 600 Aboriginal communities in Canada. A variety of institutions are now available to Indigenous people, but not always. Indigenous people of Canada have been fighting the oppressive government, social prejudice, and systemic discrimination for years. As a result, academics and business were severely disadvantaged.
Because of all these shortcomings and unfair funding, only about 48% of Aboriginal people were able to graduate from high school. And the Canadian business world, which relies heavily on human education, remains inaccessible to these Aboriginal people.
Fortunately, states like British Columbia have found ways to address these challenges and provide equal opportunity and access to Indigenous peoples. Specifically, in 2016, British Columbia’s Aboriginal graduate rate was 81%. However, much work remains to be done and the Government of Canada is aware of this. As such, they have several tools and resources to promote and support Indigenous groups, especially Indigenous entrepreneurs.
Why Indigenous Entrepreneurship?
Before we start talking about the best resources for Indigenous entrepreneurs, let’s grab an eye at why you should start your own business as a local entrepreneur. Well, first and foremost, being an entrepreneur means putting your destiny in your own hands. Not only that, but your future will be in your control. And with planning and careful execution, any idea can come to life.
Yes, it’s not an easy journey, but it’s worth it because it’s full of experience and will provide you with many opportunities to grow. Remember, small businesses are the foundation of any prosperous nation, and by building resilient business communities today, we are laying the foundation for a strong business ecosystem for the next generation.
According to Vancity’s 2018 survey, 48% of Indigenous entrepreneurs said that they faced systematic hindrances five years ago, but it has come down to just 21% as of now. Non-Indigenous Canadians and business groups are now starting to acknowledge and recognize the legal and historical challenges confronting Aboriginal communities.
Best Resources for Indigenous Entrepreneurs in Canada
When starting a business, you’ve to manage several aspects. From business plans and funding to coming up efficiently with a seller’s business idea, there are numerous challenges along the way. That said, the Canadian Government has some exceptional tools and resources at the disposal of Indigenous business groups, which we’ve listed below.
- Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB)
Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business serves as a bridge between Indigenous peoples and Canadian businesses. CCAB connects Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, businesses, and communities through a variety of programs, education, providing tools, networking, national events, and major business awards. For more information, click on the link provided.
Animikii, a digital agency owned by an Aboriginal business owner assists the emerging entrepreneurs in the Aboriginal community by offering a helping hand in matters related to web designing and custom software development. Animikii is an incredible option to consider if you’re planning to start your own business.
- Canadian Centre for Aboriginal Entrepreneurship
Committed to the promotion and growth of Indigenous entrepreneurship in Canada, the Canadian Centre for Aboriginal Entrepreneurship offers its support in project management, writing and speaking services, entrepreneurship training, and as a consultant to government and Indigenous businesses, individuals, and organizations.
- Indigenous Tourism BC
ITBC or Indigenous Tourism BC is a non-profit stakeholder-based organization dedicated to the uninterrupted development of a sustainable, culturally rich, and authentic Indigenous tourism industry in British Columbia. Tourism is British Columbia’s second-largest lucrative industry, providing Aboriginal tourism companies with new opportunities for economic development and sharing the living language, culture, and traditions of Aboriginal people will further deepen their connections, helping them to grow efficiently.
- Indigenous Business Development Services
The Indigenous Business Development Services was established in 2017 to expand resources for Indigenous business groups in British Columbia. IBDS works directly with BC-based organizations, operating in or near Aboriginal communities. It hosts business development programs within its communities. Indigenous people in BC won’t have to pay for these online workshops.
- Native Women’s Association of Canada
NWAC or Native Women’s Association of Canada is a national Aboriginal organization bent on representing the political voices of Aboriginal girls, women, and all the gender-diverse people in Canada, including First Nations on and off-reserve, disenfranchised, status and non-status, Métis and Inuit. NWAC works on a wide variety of matters like employment, health, labour and business, justice and human rights, violence prevention and safety, international affairs, etc.
The Key Takeaway
If you are an Indigenous entrepreneur planning to start a business but don’t know where to start, these resources will definitely help you find your way. Moreover, they also provide any assistance you may need, be it financial or anything else.
To know more about Indigenous businesses in Canada, do not forget to subscribe to our monthly CanadianSME Small Business Magazine.