Co-creating an Indigenous Entrepreneurship Framework

Let’s share stories of entrepreneurship in our communities - what are we proud of, what are we struggling with - what worked and what didn’t work- why? A research team from universities across Canada has received government research funding to learn from Indigenous entrepreneurs and to share our experiences and understandings of how Indigenous entrepreneurship can meet the needs of Indigenous communities. In this interactive and engaging workshop, we will share our understandings of how a community’s social, cultural, environmental and economic values are important in guiding community-based entrepreneurship. We will encourage you to share your experience and understandings of entrepreneurial activities in your communities so that we may all contribute to co-creating an aspirational model of what Indigenous entrepreneurship really is. Let’s learn from each other! 

Presented by: Dr. Irene Henriques, York University; Dr. Robert Anderson, University of Regina; Dr. Ana Maria Peredo, University of Victoria; Dr. Rick Colbourne, Mattawa/North Bay Algonquin First Nation & Dr. Bettina Schneider & Richard Missens, First Nations University of Canada

Dr. Irene Henriques is a Professor of Sustainability and Economics at the Schulich School of Business, York University and the co-editor of Business & Society a leading journal for scholarly research that enhances our understanding of important societal issues and their relation to business.  As Chair of the Joint Public Advisory Committee for the Commission for Environmental Cooperation, Professor Henriques helped bring together Indigenous peoples from across North America to share their sustainability-related best practices and success stories. Research in understanding the nexus between sustainable development, clean innovation and Indigenous entrepreneurship is key in attaining sustainable prosperity in Canada and abroad.

Dr. Robert Anderson is an internationally recognised scholar on Indigenous entrepreneurship and sustainable development of Indigenous peoples around the world. He has argued that developmental aspirations of Indigenous people are shaped by four key factors: (i) a desire by Indigenous people to improve their socio-economic circumstances through participation in the global economy ‘on their own terms’, (ii) increasing recognition of the rights of Indigenous people to have at least some control over activities on their traditional lands, (iii) the shift to a new, flexible global economy in which local aspirations and objectives can play a more significant role and iv) the growing importance of entrepreneurship as a means for achieving these objectives that are well aligned with an emerging global trend of sustainability, and ‘blended value’ enterprises.

Dr. Ana Maria Peredo is a Professor of Political Ecology at the University of Victoria. She has been working with Indigenous communities in many countries for over 20 years. Professor Peredo is a recognized scholar and has published many seminal articles on Indigenous entrepreneurship and community-based enterprise, and business and poverty alleviation. Her work showcase importance of social, cultural, economic, ecological and spiritual goals in understanding Indigenous enterprising. She is the co-editor of a book titled Indigenous Aspiration and Rights: The Case for Responsible Business and Management published in 2017.

Dr. Rick Colbourne, a member of the Mattawa/North Bay Algonquin First Nation, is an award-winning educator with a demonstrated record of leadership, success and international experience in entrepreneurship, education and the creative, cultural and technology industries. He was a Fulbright Fellow (Visiting Research Chair in Indigenous Entrepreneurship) and has served on faculties at universities and colleges in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Europe. His Fulbright research developed conceptual models of Indigenous entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial ecosystems that support the creation of successful and sustainable Indigenous enterprises to foster healthy and resilient Indigenous communities. His research aims to address the lack of research focused on the needs and experiences of Indigenous peoples, not only in Canada and the United States but globally.

Dr. Bettina Schneider is Associate Vice-President Academic and an Associate Professor in the School of Business and Public Administration at First Nations University of Canada (FNUniv). Professor Schneider has been working with Indigenous entrepreneurs for over a decade through her work as a teacher, consultant, administrator, and researcher. Professor Schneider’s dissertation and Fulbright research on Native and Aboriginal Financial Institutions and work as a consultant with First Nations Oweesta Corporation and First Nations Development Institute provided her with the opportunity to work with many Indigenous social entrepreneurs and Indigenous institutions that support such entrepreneurs.

Professor Richard Missens is a faculty member at the First Nations University of Canada teaching business and management to Aboriginal youth for more than 20 years. He is of Cree ancestry and currently resides on the Pasqua Indian Reserve #79 in Saskatchewan. Professor Missens is currently enrolled in the PhD Program for Management at the Open Universiteit in the Netherlands. His research explores the relationship between Indigenous (Cree) culture and its influence on the behaviour of the Indigenous (Cree) entrepreneurs. His research seeks to explore the Cree concept of “pimacihowin” (pima-chi-ho-win) [interpretation “making a living”]. Knowledge of Cree tribal Elder teachings are used to provide insight and give researchers a richer understanding of the cultural values, customs and traditions that are inherent in a concept which ultimately influences the behaviour and motivations of the Indigenous (Cree) entrepreneur.