The underlying challenge haunting Canada and other member states of the Paris Agreement, UN SDGs, and UNDRIP is the lack of a value creation framework that leverages distinctive Indigenous and other intrinsic values such as human rights, sustainability, data sovereignty, privacy, collective health, education, biodiversity, clean energy, access to drinking water and sanitation, equity, inclusiveness, diversity, and a voice to be heard to achieve business success and economic prosperity.
The complex, interconnected challenges confronting Indigenous communities, such as water-health, climate change, and growing social and economic inequity, engender a toxic, divisive environment for economies, businesses, and people. Tackling them requires adopting innovative collaboration models between Indigenous Peoples, communities, Indigenous and non-indigenous scholars in science and law, business and government, NGOs, academic institutions, and communities.
Indigenous nations have been traders since long before the arrival of the first European settlers. Over 50,000 Indigenous-owned companies in Canada contribute more than $30B to the Canadian economy. Most Indigenous companies are small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), spread across all sectors – from traditional mining to seafood to advanced technology services, hospitality, and health and beauty products. Indigenous people mostly own 1.4% of all Canadian SMEs. Economic Development Canada reports that 24% of Indigenous SMEs export to other nations.
Our rationale is to level the playing field for Indigenous businesses to enjoy the recent advancement of technologies influenced primarily by the mass and urban markets, leveraging the power of these advancements to benefit Indigenous communities.
The work is supported by: