‘Indsights: A Window into the Indigenous Economy’ Case Studies Featuring Indigenous Entrepreneurs

by ahnationtalk on December 2, 2022907 Views

‘Indsights: A Window into the Indigenous Economy’ Case Studies Featuring Indigenous Entrepreneurs

TORONTO, ON – December 1, 2022  Indsights: A Window into the Indigenous Economy is a project led by Humber College, in partnership with Canadian Council of Aboriginal Business (CCAB), to produce interactive case studies featuring success stories from Indigenous entrepreneurs, partnerships, and collaborations.

Each case study shows Canadian Indigenous businesses confronting economic barriers and emerging as innovative leaders.  Previous research completed by CCAB has shown that economic development in Indigenous communities positively impacts the general well-being of the community. This has led to an increase in job opportunities, skills development, capacity building, and putting money into Indigenous economies. Indigenous economic growth contributes to the overall Canadian economy to the tune of $30 billion annually.

“Using innovative digital storytelling, the Indsights project works directly with Indigenous businesses resulting in stories that can inspire future generations of Indigenous business leaders and the broader Canadian population,” says CCAB President and CEO, Tabatha Bull. “The wide range of economic structures and businesses illustrated in these stories demonstrates there is no one-size-fits-all paradigm for Indigenous economic success.”

This work aims to educate post-secondary students on the importance of Indigenous economic development in Canada, demonstrated through case studies of successful Indigenous businesses, partnerships, and illustrations of positive stakeholder engagement. It is part of Humber College and CCAB’s shared vision of putting the 2015 Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Report’s 94 Calls to Action into action, particularly Calls 63 and 64 on education, to encourage more Indigenous voices to be included in the mainstream curriculum. Even though the TRC and, more recently, the National Indigenous Economic Strategy called for more Indigenous content in Canadian classrooms, there are limited resources for post-secondary educators outside Indigenous studies programs. This project was initiated to help close this gap. The cases are free open educational resources available to teachers and professors through the project website. To meet different learning needs, there is a text-based case with a supplementary video and a recommended teaching note to guide a facilitated discussion.

“Indsights is about developing content that teachers and professors can use in the classroom so students can learn about the wide variety of Indigenous businesses that are thriving across the country,” says Humber College Professor and Principal Investigator, Audrey Wubbenhorst.  “We are so grateful to the participants for sharing their time and stories.”

Profile of Business Case Studies in Year One:

Pawgwasheeng Economic Development Corporation (PEDC): Ginny Michano is the president of PEDC, a 100% owned Indigenous corporation by Pawgwasheeng, Pays Plat First Nation. PEDC generates and maximizes economic development and commercial opportunities that encourage community and membership growth. It is dedicated to protecting the community’s values while preserving dignity and respect for its traditional territory and ways of life.

Birch Bark Coffee Company: Mark Marsolais-Nahwegahbow, like many Indigenous business owners, has a social goal that comes before making a profit. Birch Bark Coffee Company is an innovative social business that sells freshly roasted, Certified Organic, Fair-Trade, and SPP (Small Producers) Certified coffee. Its mission is “to work toward bringing clean drinking water to every Indigenous home suffering from ‘All Water Advisories’ by providing and installing, for those who are in need, certified water purification systems.”

Shades of Gray Pet Treats: Keri Gray runs the farm and retail pet food store owned and run by the Indigenous people of Algonquin of Pikwakanagan First Nation. Keri is committed to participating in and advancing the community’s heritage, which is why she is passionate about helping Indigenous communities, youth, and education. Keri uses the knowledge she has been shown to spread the word about how important it is to take care of our land for future use. Shades of Gray supports sustainable farming and other eco-friendly, long-term practices.

Over the span of three years, this project aims to study businesses across the country, varying on sizes, industries, locations, and business approaches. The focus of these case studies includes Indigenous entrepreneurship, partnerships, and skill development. The case studies can be distributed as free learning on the project website. An event in 2023 is expected to share stories and discuss how these cases can be used in the classroom effectively.


About Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business:

CCAB is committed to the full participation of Indigenous peoples in Canada’s economy. As a national, non-partisan association, its mission is to promote, strengthen and enhance a prosperous Indigenous economy through the fostering of business relationships, opportunities, and awareness. CCAB offers knowledge, resources, and programs to its members to cultivate economic opportunities for Indigenous peoples and businesses across Canada. For more information, visit www.ccab.com

About Humber College Institute of Technology & Advanced Learning:

Humber College is focused on our students’ future. Humber provides career-focused education to more than 86,000 learners in-person at three main Toronto locations and online. As a global leader in polytechnic education, Humber students receive in-depth theoretical learning and hands-on experience with applied research and extensive industry connections. A comprehensive range of credentials, including honours undergraduate degrees, Ontario graduate certificates, diplomas, apprenticeships, and certificates, prepare career-ready global citizens to move seamlessly from education to employment. More than 86 per cent of Humber graduates are employed within six months of completing their studies. Visit humber.ca.

For more information contact:

Alannah Jabokwoam
Senior Associate, Communications & Public Relations
Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business
T: 416.961.8663 ext. 227

Humber Research & Innovation

Audrey Wubbenhorst, MA, MBA, ICD.D
Humber College Institute of Technology & Advanced Learning


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