Indigenous-SME Business Magazine : May - June 2024

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Empowering Canadian Indigenous Businesses INDIGENOUSSME ISSUE NO 10 MAY- JUNE 2024 The Canadian ShippingPartner Accounting SoftwarePartner CarvelElectric's JordanJolicoeur: AVisionaryLeader EmpoweringCommunities PAGE30 PAGE40 Bringing Inuit Healing Traditions to Skincare RevolutionizingIndigenousEntrepreneurship PAGE11 AllImages,trademarks,servicemarksandlogosreferredtoorappearinginthismagazinearethepropertyoftheirrespectiveowners.
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WelcometothemilestonetentheditionoftheIndigenous-SMEBusiness Magazine,coveringMayandJune Thisissueismorethanjusta publication itisacelebrationoftheremarkablestridesmadeby IndigenousentrepreneursandsmallbusinessownersacrossCanada

Inthisedition,wedelveintothetheme"Harvest,IndigenousHistory& Heritage"HighlightingNationalIndigenousHistoryMonth,weexplorethe richtapestryofIndigenousagri-businessesandsharethecompelling narrativesthatshapethem

Weareparticularlyexcitedtospotlightthevibrantenergyandinnovative spiritofyoungIndigenousentrepreneurs Ourstoriesincludevisionary leaderslikeJordanJolicoeurofCarvelElectricandtransformative projectslikeAlberta’sBloodTribepartnershipwithFarmCreditCanadato restoretraditionalagriculture

Inaddition,webringyouexclusiveinterviewswithIndigenousbusiness leaderswhoaremakingsignificantimpacts,suchasBerniceKuutuu ClarkeofUasauSoapandCadmusDelorme,CEOofOneHoop These interviewsprovidedeepinsightsintotheirjourneysandthelandscapesof Indigenousbusinesses

NottobemissedisourspecialfeatureonTanis'Akutuq'Simpson,our BusinessWomanoftheMonth.OwnerofQiviutInc.,Tanisexemplifieshow creativeentrepreneurshipcannotonlysustainculturebutalsofoster economicempowermentinIndigenouscommunities

Ourcommitmentremainssteadfastinempoweringyouwitheffective strategies,insightfultips,andpracticaladvicenecessaryforthrivingin today’sentrepreneurialworld

Wetrustthattheinsightsandknowledgesharedinthiseditionwillprove tobeinvaluableresourcesonyourentrepreneurialjourney Toensureyou stayupdatedonthelatesttrendsandupcomingevents,weencourage youtosubscribetoourmagazineatwwwindigenous-smecaandjoinus inchampioninggrowthandempowermentwithintheIndigenous businesscommunity.

Here’stocraftingalegacyofinclusivityandsubstantialchangethrough empowerment


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Copyright©2024IndigenousSMEInc Allrights reserved Reproductioninwholeorpartofanytext, photographyorillustrationswithoutwrittenpermission fromthepublisherisprohibited

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CONTENTS A conversation with Alexander Peh on the future of Payments & Merchant Acquiring 15 NavigatingSMEMarketingChallenges: InsightsIntotheCanadianBusinessLandscape 18 Four Ways CCAB Has Changed My Life Advancing Indigenous Economic Sovereignty: Insights from Jolain Foster Louise Southall on Late Payments and Optimism in the Small Business Sector 21 24 52
BringingInuitHealing TraditionstoSkincare 40 FosteringCollaborative StrategiesforEnhanced WorkplaceWell-being 45 CelebratingHeritageandResilience: NationalIndigenousHistoryMonthinCanada 13 Reciprocity “I Saw That” - Karma 27 BenWise&DarrenChiu CONTENTS
Alberta’sB traditional 35
Bead N Butter: Weaving Stories of
Empowering Communities Fostering Economic Development in Indigenous Communities 49 30 47 CONTENTS
Carvel Electric's Jordan Jolicoeur: A Visionary Leader #smeawards Indigenous Entrepreneur of the Year 2023 J U N E 7 T H , 2 0 2 4 4 : 3 0 P M T O 1 0 : 3 0 P M E S T Metro Toronto Convention Centre


Owner of Qiviut Inc.

Can an artist disrupt an entire handicraft industry? Every Indigenous artist accomplishes crucial work, from representing their traditions to advocating for the equal rights of their communities. But there’s one woman artist and entrepreneur who has emerged to highlight Indigenous traditions and transform the Canadian fibre industry: Tanis 'Akutuq' Simpson, an Inuvialuk woman entrepreneur and owner of Qiviut Inc. Fibre Mill in Alberta. The IndigenousSME Magazine has named Tanis as the Business Woman of the Month in this month’s magazine edition to honour her work and efforts to bring an important Inuit technology to the mainstream.

Located just outside of Edmonton, Alberta, Qiviut Inc Fibre Mill is a small, family-run enterprise that exemplifies the ingenuity and tenacity of Indigenous people Led by Tanis Simpson, an Inuvialuk fibre artist and entrepreneur originating from Sachs Harbour, Northwest Territories, the organization has received numerous accolades within Canada and internationally Tanis's entrepreneurial trajectory is a compelling illustration of how cultural heritage and an enterprising mindset can help advance the goal of economic justice for Indigenous communities

ImageCourtesy:TanisAkutuqSimpson 11-IndigenousSMEMay-June2024

Legacy Preservation via Innovation

Qiviut fibre, the precious, ultra-soft insulating undercoat of the muskox, is an essential part of Tanis’s cultural heritage Being raised in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region, where qiviut was a daily part of life, Tanis and her brother Brad have always known the value of qiviut, an important natural insulator Growing up in the presence of skilled fibre and textile workers, Tanis began pursuing her own creative practice with ancestral materials like sealskin and qiviut This eventually materialized in her mission to revive and maintain these age-old customs as she and her brother launched their her own qiviut fibre mill Today, they source muskoxen hides from Inuit harvesters who are continuing their culture and feeding their communities sustainably Using vintage mill machines and heritage methods, they produce high-quality qiviut yarn, knitwear, and natural hand warmers based on Inuit culture

Transforming the Qiviut Sector

Qiviut is one of the world’s rarest and most precious natural fibres, valued globally for its unbelievable warmth and softness Despite the economic potential of this valuable renewable resource, there were previously no qiviut companies owned by Inuit people: rather, qiviut was exported and processed elsewhere

Since 2019, the family-operated Qiviut Inc. Fibre Mill has established itself as the sole Indigenous-owned qiviut company in North America. Under Tanis’s leadership, the company now enjoys the status of an industry leader in terms of sustainability and innovation. It has gained recognition and praise for its creative approach in the Indigenous business sector through its continuous preservation of cultural heritage and integration of fibre processing technology.

Raising the Status of Indigenous Peoples

Beyond making a living based on cultural practices, Tanis’s chief goal is to give back to her community and to provide long-term sustainable economic possibilities With Qiviut Inc , she is committed to increasing sales to provide culturally appropriate jobs, despite facing many challenges as the small Indigenous-owned firm operates outside of its home territory, where it can access markets and other opportunities

Tanis and her team are committed to providing public education about qiviut and its cultural importance: they can regularly be seen at public events with a muskox hide, encouraging people to try combing out the precious fibre for themselves To that end, Qiviut Inc is also helping to reinvigorate and indigenize the local fibre industry by building relationships with wool growers, processors, and markets

Tanis's experience with Qiviut Inc. demonstrates how creative entrepreneurship can help to maintain culture while also promoting economic empowerment for Indigenous communities

You can learn more about their business by clicking here

The Indigenous-SME Magazine is an invaluable resource for Canada's small Indigenous companies, both nascent and established To view our magazine, please visit the following website here To remain up to date on the latest news, please consider following our X account by clicking here We encourage you to join our community of people who are enthusiastic about supporting Indigenous businesses

Business Woman of the Month ImageCourtesy:TanisAkutuq’Simpson

Celebrating Heritage and Resilience: National Indigenous History Month in Canada

CanadacelebratesNationalIndigenous HistoryMonthtohonourtheancestryand perseveranceofIndigenouspeoples.It recognizesthecenturies-longfightagainst colonialism,landexpropriation,cultural assimilation,andsystematicdiscriminationand hasitsrootsintherecognitiondemandsofthe 1980sand1990s.Itisaconstantreminderthat wearestillfarfromachievingjusticeand healing.Junemarksasignificanttimein Canada'scalendarasthenationcelebrates NationalIndigenousHistoryMonth,atime dedicatedtohonouringtherichhistory, heritage,andresilienceofIndigenouspeoples. June21isapivotaldayinthismonth-long festivalsinceitisthesummersolstice,the longestdayoftheyearandatimewhen Indigenouspeoplecustomarilyassembleto celebrateandhonour.

How National Indigenous Peoples Day Came to Be:

The process of acknowledging and honouring the contributions of Indigenous peoples to Canadian civilization started many years ago A group that would eventually change its name to the Assembly of First Nations, the National Indian Brotherhood pushed for the establishment of National Aboriginal Solidarity Day in 1982 A national holiday honouring Indigenous Peoples was proposed once again in 1995 at the Sacred Assembly, a national convention presided over by Elijah Harper, as the movement for recognition gathered steam Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (RCAP) recommendations, which called for the establishment of a National First Peoples Day, reflected this view Last but not least, on June 21, 1996, Governor General Roméo LeBlanc declared National Aboriginal Day; in 2017, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau renamed it National Indigenous Peoples Day As a whole, Indigenous peoples' history and culture are becoming more and more recognized as integral to Canada, and this change reflects that.


Coordinating with the Celebrate Canada Program:

An essential component of Canada's Celebrate Canada program is National Indigenous Peoples Day, which coincides with Saint-JeanBaptiste Day (June 24), Canadian Multiculturalism Day (June 27), and Canada Day (July 1) This acknowledgment highlights the importance of Indigenous ancestry and culture in defining the nation's identity within the larger context of national festivities In addition, the Canadian government shows its dedication to fostering understanding and reconciliation by offering financial support for community celebrations and commemorations on the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

Reflection and Commemoration:

During National Indigenous History Month, Canadians honour Indigenous peoples' rich heritage and the lasting impact they have had on this country Timed to coincide with the summer solstice, which is typically a time for Indigenous people to congregate and celebrate, the month becomes a powerful symbol of strength and cultural vitality To promote better understanding, empathy, and togetherness among communities, it provides a chance for non-Indigenous Canadians to learn more about Indigenous history, culture, and current challenges

Ultimately,Indigenousandnon-Indigenous Canadiansarecontinuingtheirpathtoward mutualrespectandreconciliation,andNational IndigenousHistoryMonthisasymbolofthat. Thismonth-longcelebrationhonoursIndigenous peoplesandtheirrichculturalheritagewhile callingonallCanadianstovaluediversity, promoteunderstanding,andcreateabetter, moreinclusivesocietyforthenextgeneration.

Now is the time to show true solidarity by celebrating and paying homage to the natives of this land For more information on the various events that are due on this special day, visit the link here.

The Indigenous-SME Magazine is an invaluable resource for Canada's small Indigenous companies, both nascent and established To view our magazine, please visit the following website here To remain up to date on the latest news, please consider following our X account by clicking here We encourage you to join our community of people who are enthusiastic about business.

Indigenous History Month
I m a g e C o u r t e s y : C a n v a

Vice President, Head of Merchant Payment Services, RBC

In an interview with CanadianSME Small Business Magazine, Alexander Peh, Vice President and Head of Merchant Payment Services at RBC, shared insights on trends in the payments industry for 2024, emphasizing the importance of embedded payment solutions that allow customers to complete transactions without leaving a merchant's website This trend, he explained, can enhance customer experiences and boost sales Alexander highlighted the need for omni-channel payment acceptance to help businesses reach new customers by operating across multiple platforms He also outlined how RBC's solutions, like RBC

PayEdge for automating supplier payments and RBC Insight Edge for providing realtime business insights, support small and medium-sized businesses in achieving their growth objectives while ensuring secure and efficient payment processes

Born and raised in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, educated in Melbourne, Australia and with experience in Africa, South-East Asia, Europe and North America, Alex currently serves as the Vice President, Head of Merchant Payment Services at The Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), based in Toronto His mandate focuses on growing RBC's Merchant Services Business and strengthening RBC's partnership with Moneris. He joined RBC 7 years ago to lead their Tech + Ops Innovation Group focused on an array of emerging technology including BlockChain, Voice, Digital Identity and CyberSecurity.

Prior to joining RBC, he had roles leading Market Development & Mobile for PayPal and Braintree Canada and Channel & Mobile Partnership's for PayPal Europe

An active startup advisor & mentor and FinTech investor, he currently is the President and Chair of The Board of Ascend Canada, Board Member of Ascend Global Leaders and has sat on a range of Global Advisory Boards including TechToronto, Singularity University Canada, Copenhagen FinTech, the Mars Discovery District, the BC Tech Association and Dash40 Ventures.

Imagecourtesy-RBC 15-IndigenousSMEMay-June2024

Can you share your insights on 2024 trends in the payments industry? How will these trends influence small and medium business owners’ merchant services?

With the pace digital payments are being adopted, merchants and card issuers are prioritizing embedded payment solutions that allow customers to complete their transactions without leaving the merchant’s website. These solutions enhance the payment experience for their customers, can streamline transactions and potentially increase sales.

I’m also seeing more businesses start to work with payment partners who can offer omni-channel payment acceptance and seamless integration across various channels These features are particularly relevant for businesses that only operate in one channel (either in-store or online) thanks to the potential they offer to expand reach to new clients

What are the top merchant pain points you’ve noticed in your time working in Merchant Payment Services at RBC?

Consistent and reliable access to capital is critical for a merchant to run their business uninterrupted but can sometimes be a challenge. Newer merchants often face the challenge of managing high transaction fees, which affect their profit margins. Current trends show that many are opting for flat-rate pricing, which offers greater cost-certainty around processing fees per transaction Moneris has recently introduced a flat-rate option for their customers, which is ideal for those starting a new business

Merchantsarealsolookingfor opportunitiestoworkwithpartnerswho canofferaholistic,end-to-endexperience. RBCoffersarangeofproductstohelpmake runningabusinessmoreseamlessthrough programslikeRBCPayEdge,anaccounts payableplatformthatautomates paymentstosuppliersbyintegratingwith merchants’accountingsystems,RBC InsightEdge,adashboardthatoffersrealtimedata-driveninsightstohelp merchantspersonalizetheirmarketing effortsandAvionRewards,RBC’sloyalty programthatmerchantscanpartnerwith tocreatecustomizedloyaltyofferingsand ensuretheirgoalsaremet–whether increasingbasketsize,acquiringmore clientsorgeneratingrepeatbusiness.

Imagecourtesy-Canva Payments Industry 16-IndigenousSMEMay-June2024

Finally, the advancements in generative AI have made business owners more vulnerable to chargebacks and fraud While managing fraud risk often becomes a priority after fraud or a cyber incident, it’s important to partner with Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliant payment partners and invest in secure systems.

Can you provide an example of a successful strategy you’ve implemented to help small and medium businesses optimize their payment processes and increase overall satisfaction with their merchant services?

What’s RBC and Moneris’ approach to helping clients access both payments and business solutions?

RBC’s goal is to provide merchants with integrated endto-end solutions We want them to focus on what matters the most – growing their business

We recently launched Faster Access to Funds, which improves cash flow and productivity for RBC business clients that also use Moneris Businesses are now able to get their payments next day, every day, seven days a week at no extra cost, helping to solve the cash flow pain point

What advice have you received that would help small and medium business owners?

In this constantly evolving digital landscape, it’s important merchants take a step back to re-evaluate the relationship with their clients to understand their wants and needs Client expectations will evolve as new technologies emerge, and merchants should be prepared to shift how they do business I believe that this technology disruption is a competitive advantage and that some of the most successful SMEs are the ones that adopt and embrace new AI technologies

initiativesinthecomingmonthsforexample,businesseswillbe abletosign-upfortheirbanking needswithRBCandmaketheir paymentarrangementswith Monerisatthesametime. Imagecourtesy-Canva Payments Industry

In the prevailing commercial environment, effectively marketing an enterprise’s products or services can prove challenging for SMEs. To address these obstacles efficiently, Constant Contact's Small Business Now series provides valuable insights into the current trends and challenges that small and medium-sized enterprises are currently experiencing in Canada How do they achieve it? By integrating exhaustive research and expert opinions. Plus, this series not only provides knowledge to SMEs but also equips them with practical suggestions to enhance their achievements Let’s delve into some of the findings from Constant Contact’s latest study without any further ado.


Listing Barriers that Impede Effective Marketing

One aspect that impedes a good marketing campaign from going in full throttle is the lack of resources This is one of the primary obstacles preventing SMEs from optimizing their marketing efforts This surpasses all other countries surveyed, as 37% of Canadian SMEs identify it as their principal challenge, be it limited manpower, finances, or time. More than half of Canadian SMEs have less than one hour per day to dedicate to marketing, and another 56% say they consistently put their marketing activities off for later The limited availability of resources highlights the critical situation in which small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) must develop approaches that achieve significant outcomes with minimal financial outlay

Monitoring Cost & Expenditure Trends

Essentially, Constant Contact's report reveals that a considerable 63% of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Canada devote an annual budget of less than $14,000 CAD to marketing, which is the lowest expenditure among the countries surveyed Moreover, an alarming 11% of Canadian SMBs intend to further reduce their marketing expenditures this year These statistics emphasize the criticality for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to implement economic marketing strategies, yield concrete outcomes, and not place an undue financial burden

Seeking Effective Marketing Strategies

Even though digital marketing tools and platforms are abundant, a considerable proportion of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Canada struggle to develop effective marketing strategies Just 23% of Canadian small and mediumsized enterprises (SMEs) express a high degree of confidence in the effectiveness of their marketing strategy – the lowest among all countries surveyed Moreover, an astounding 90% of Canadian SMBs find it difficult to determine the most appropriate message for their intended audience This underscores the imperative for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to utilize data-driven insights and implement personalized strategies in order to effectively connect with their target audience

SMB Marketing m a g e c o u r t e s yd e p o s t p h o t o s c o m 19-IndigenousSMEMay-June2024

Adopting a Multichannel Marketing Approach

Our current era is characterized by diverse communication channels and platforms As a result, it is important for SMEs to utilize multiple marketing channels to amplify their reach and engagement As such, Constant Contact's data reveals that 82% of Canadian SMEs recognize that multichannel campaigns typically generate better results, but 44% of aren’t using more than one marketing channel in their campaigns. Further, just 15% of Canadian SMEs feel confident that they are using the right channels to reach their customers Using a multichannel marketing strategy allows SMEs to diversify their outreach efforts, increase brand exposure, and form stronger relationships with their target audience across several touchpoints

In the end, the Small Business Now report by Constant Contact provides invaluable insights into the dominant trends and obstacles influencing the SME sector in Canada Limited financial resources, growing time constraints, and uncertainty about how to execute effective marketing campaigns are just a few of the challenges that SMEs face on their marketing journey

The good news is, SMEs in Canada can effectively surmount these obstacles and establish a foundation for long-term expansion by making a few small changes. A marketing platform like Constant Contact can help SMEs automate their marketing so they can spend less time worrying about campaigns and messaging, and give their full attention to the rest of their business By leveraging technology, Canadian SMEs can also learn more about which marketing channels their customers respond to, and deliver the right message to the right customers at the right time all without adding any extra work to their plate

Check out Constant Contact’s official website for more information on their marketing solutions by clicking here.

The CanadianSME community consists of readers who have high regard for current enterprises and entrepreneurial initiatives Entrepreneurs can remain connected and active with this group by following @canadian sme on X Please click here to subscribe to CanadianSME magazine and stay up to date on all current business trends and developments

m a g e c o u r t e s yd e p o s i t p h o t o s c o m SMB Marketing 20-IndigenousSMEMay-June2024


In an interview with CanadianSME Small Business Magazine, Louise Southall, Economist and Small Business Specialist at Xero, highlighted key insights from the latest Xero Small Business Insights report

The report indicates a challenging quarter for Canadian small businesses, particularly concerning late payments and the time taken to get paid

Average payment time increased to 29 4 days, with businesses being paid over a week late on average

While there was still a decline in small business sales (-3.8% year-over-year), this was an improvement from the previous quarter’s -4.3%, suggesting the decline may be leveling off. Louise emphasized the importance of localized data through the XSBI program to help policymakers and businesses understand regional economic dynamics and encouraged small businesses to focus on improving productivity, streamlining operations, and seeking professional advice to navigate current economic challenges

Louise Southall is Xero’s Economist Louise joined Xero in mid-2020 as part of the Xero Small Business Insights (XSBI) team The XSBI program uses anonymized and aggregated data from the Xero platform to inform decision-makers about the latest trends in the small business economy in order to support small businesses

She has almost 30 years of experience in economics and business advocacy working with multiple business organizations, councils, government agencies and charities. Her work has covered a broad range of economic and business-related policy issues, membership projects and thought-leadership research. She has a Masters of Economics from Macquarie University and a Bachelor of Economics (hons) from the University of Newcastle.

Economist and Small Business Specialist at Xero


Louise, could you provide an overview of the latest findings from the Xero Small Business Insights report? What do these findings suggest about the current state of the Canadian small business economy?

The latest XSBI data for Canada revealed another disappointing quarter for Canadian small businesses, particularly in terms of late payments and average time to paid metrics, both of which showed regression in the December quarter after seeing improvement in previous quarters The average time small businesses waited to be paid increased to 29 4 days, up from 29 0 in the previous quarter. On average, small businesses in Canada were also paid over a week late at 8.6 days.

In slightly more positive news, there were signs that the downward trend in sales growth that has been underway since mid-2021 may finally be starting to improve Canadian small business sales growth was still lower than a year ago in the three months to December (-3 8% y/y), but this quarter showed improvement from the September quarter result (-4 3% y/y), an indication that the downward curve may be flattening

With the report highlighting a decline in small business sales in Canada, what are the key factors contributing to this trend and how it varies across different sectors?

For months, Canadian small businesses have been caught at the intersection of record-high interest rates and sluggish consumer spending Following the Bank of Canada’s sixth consecutive interest rate hold since July 2023, small businesses will be eager to see a rate cut in future decisions, which could lead to an increase in consumer spending down the line.

While we don’t currently track industryspecific data for Canada, we can see in other countries where Xero is running its XSBI program, that it’s the industries that are most dependent on non-essential spending from households that are feeling the biggest pinch, such as hospitality This reflects the impact of ongoing cost-ofliving pressures which don’t leave households with much extra cash to spend with their local small businesses

Overall, Canadian small businesses continue to feel the strain of high-interest rates and reduced consumer spending, but this quarter’s results hint at the potential for improved outcomes in the future. Together with rising business owners’ optimism, the latest XSBI data paints a cautiously hopeful picture for small businesses for the second half of the year.

The XSBI program recently began providing province-specific updates. Could you explain why it’s important to have this localized data and how it can help businesses and policymakers better understand regional economic dynamics?

Having this data at the provincial level equips us with extra information about how these specific areas are performing There is very little Canadian data available at the regional level that is specifically focused on small businesses, and most of this is survey-based rather than actual economic performance data This new XSBI data means policymakers, small businesses and their advisors now have access to more localized data that we hope will result in opportunities for more informed, strategic decision-making

22-IndigenousSMEMay-June2024 SMB Finance

According to the latest data, there are noticeable differences in economic performance among provinces. What might be causing these discrepancies, particularly the smaller sales decline in Alberta and faster payment times in British Columbia?

Indeed, the latest XSBI data showed fluctuation in small business performance from province to province Albertan small businesses, though they did not see positive growth in the December quarter (sales growth was 3 0% lower y/y), beat the average for sales growth (-3 8% y/y), while both British Columbian and Ontarian small business growth was softer in comparison

Differences in performances across provinces often reflect different economic structures For example, Alberta’s oil industry is likely helping to support many small businesses in the province, given world oil prices, while currently lower than in 2022, are still higher than they were in the years prior to the pandemic. The more diversified economy of British Columbia means it is more likely to be growing at a pace closer to the Canadian average most of the time

Given the ongoing economic fluctuations, what strategies would you recommend Canadian small businesses adopt to navigate these uncertain times effectively?

In uncertain economic times such as these, small businesses should look to double down on productivity and improve efficiencies where they can, whether that be through digital adoption and the use of AI tools to streamline automation efforts or finding ways to make it easier for customers to engage with the business

Some of the active steps small business owners can take include encouraging prompt payments by having multiple payment options available and a “ pay now ” link on invoices, and encouraging loyal customers by using offers such as loyalty cards or weekly specials

Remember that Canadian small businesses don’t need to tackle the current challenging conditions alone. We always encourage owners to get expert advice from an accountant and bookkeeper about their specific business needs

Advancing Ind Economic Sove Insights from Jolain Foster

Managing Partner of Nation Building at Deloitte Canada

Jolain Foster, Managing Partner of Nation Building at Deloitte Canada, provides CanadianSME Small Business Magazine with insightful perspectives on fostering economic sovereignty for Indigenous Nations and the crucial steps toward reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities Economic sovereignty, as Jolain outlines, involves granting Indigenous Nations the power and resources to build self-sufficient infrastructures, education systems, and employment opportunities, paralleling the quality of life enjoyed by many Canadians. Through Deloitte Canada's Nation Building practice, Jolain and her team aim to empower Indigenous Peoples and Nations towards economic empowerment and selfgovernance by developing solutions in areas like jurisdiction, governance, and economic development. Jolain stresses the importance of reconciliation as a process of building respectful relationships, involving active listening, reparations, and tangible actions toward societal change. She emphasizes the role of corporate Canada in advancing reconciliation by encouraging Indigenous participation in the economy and supporting Indigenous sovereignty and economic development aspirations Jolain's personal journey, from witnessing the poverty amidst natural wealth in her Gitxsan Nation to leading transformational change, fuels her dedication to eliminating poverty through improved governance and economic opportunities for Indigenous communities Offering advice to young Indigenous individuals, Jolain encourages active community participation, volunteering, and a relentless pursuit of one's passions and purposes, highlighting that adversity can ultimately become a significant strength

As the Managing Partner of Nation Building, Jolain leads a multidisciplinary team of Indigenous and non-Indigenous professionals dedicated to building strong connections between Indigenous communities, non-Indigenous governments, and corporate Canada that will forge new pathways to economic empowerment. Jolain is Gitxsan and Wet'suet'en and belongs to Wilps Niisto. For more than two decades, she has been working with Indigenous Peoples across Canada in various private sector firms, educational institutions, and First Nation organizations With experience that ranges from leadership, strategic planning, governance, and operations to Indigenous engagement and financial management, Jolain is a natural facilitator


How do you define economic sovereignty for Indigenous Nations, and how has this shaped your work with Nation Building?

Even today, Indigenous Peoples and Nations continue to face systemic barriers which impact the ability to meaningfully participate in the labour market, regain financial autonomy, pursue opportunities for economic development to grow independent wealth, and live an equal quality of life that many Canadians are accustomed to

Economic sovereignty for Indigenous Nations means having decision-making powers and access to funding to develop adequate infrastructure, health care, education, employment opportunities, and child and family services

Our goal with the Nation Building practice is to bring together leaders and change-makers across corporate Canada and the public sector to support Indigenous Peoples and Nations on their journey to economic empowerment and selfgovernance As a firm, we want to support First Nations, Métis, and Inuit communities in developing innovative solutions focusing on the jurisdiction, governance, economic development, natural resources, and community infrastructure to ensure Indigenous Peoples and Nations have a leading role in the economy, propelling Indigenous businesses forward while advancing reconciliation efforts

What key steps should be taken to further reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities?

Reconciliation is an ongoing journey of establishing and maintaining respectful relationships with Indigenous communities A critical part of this process involves repairing damaged trust by listening and learning, providing individual and collective reparations, and following through with concrete actions that demonstrate real societal change. We must be deliberate in our actions to restore trust and repair relationships with Indigenous Peoples and Nations as it's through these relationships that we can drive transformational change both socially and economically

The possibilities for reconciliation across corporate Canada are endless if we work together Indigenous participation in our economy is fundamental to advance reconciliation and help Indigenous Peoples and Nations achieve sovereignty and economic development aspirations Ensuring that they have a leading role in the economy is the most impactful way forward for economic, business, and social reconciliation

By 2030, Indigenous workers will make up 7 per cent of the labour force, yet they are systematically underrepresented in Canadian businesses. Governments, businesses, and all Canadians can help fundamentally transform our economy and society by taking targeted action to address labour market barriers for underrepresented groups

How can corporate Canada support Nations and Peoples in their sovereignty and economic development aspirations?

Businesses that want to encourage Indigenous participation and support Nations and Peoples in their sovereignty and economic development aspirations can do it through Indigenous partnerships, reconciliation efforts, and adapting Indigenous solutions

Through our new Indigenous-led practice, we want to help businesses with navigating inter-Nation dynamics Partnering with Indigenous Peoples and Nations or requiring consent, buy-in, and/or social licence for major projects on traditional Indigenous territories is key Navigating complex governance constructs between different Nations presents unique challenges and opportunities, meaningful and effective engagement creates mutually beneficial outcomes

To advance the reconciliation journey, understanding customs specific to Indigenous Peoples and Nations with whom they are working, creating approaches and strategies that are authentic, or finding innovative ways to provide value beyond compliance is important.

Businesses also have the opportunity to innovate business models to reach environmental, social, and governance targets by drawing on centuries-old approaches and solutions to manage land sustainably by working with Indigenous Peoples and Nations to develop these


What ignited your life’s purpose? What are some of the challenges you faced as an Indigenous female?

I grew up in Kispiox, B C , a member of the Gitxsan Nation, whose unceded territory is nestled in the middle of the most beautiful mountains, rivers, and boreal forests My Gitxsan name is Nagwit Sen and I belong to the House of Niist’o Growing up my three siblings and I were raised by a single mother I experienced poverty all around me, even though my Nation was rich with natural resources like forestry, water, fish, and critical minerals

Corporations came and went, extracting and developing resources with no benefit coming back to the Gitxsan in the form of employment, procurement, or royalties. The Gitxsan Nation and our peoples experience some of Canada’s highest levels of suicide, unemployment, poverty, and children in care There are many reasons for this a complex history between governments and my Nation that continues to impact our governance systems, culture, and economy

The Gitxsan have a hereditary system that has been in place since time immemorial and continues to this day Today our traditional governance system is deeply impacted because of the federal government’s Indian Act, intended to erase us as people through actions that devastated our culture, livelihood, spirit, health, and laws - forcing our people off our traditional territory and the traumatic impact of residential schools on our families, to name just two

All this ignited my passion for leading transformational change anywhere I work not just for my Nation, but for all Nations who share the same history of destruction My life’s purpose is working to eliminate poverty through improved governance and operations to create a new path for economic wealth for First Nation, Métis, and Inuit Peoples and Nations

It’s important to me that I make an impact that matters, in our communities and in our country, and I believe collaboration is key to build a stronger Canada

Today, I’m honoured to be serving as Managing Partner, Nation Building, a role that enables me to continue my personal journey and pave a new path for Deloitte Canada’s role in Truth and Reconciliation I believe this is an incredible opportunity to support Indigenous Peoples and Nations in Nation building, creating new pathways for economic empowerment and reinforcing selfgovernment - and I hope that non-Indigenous clients and corporate Canada are as motivated as I am, and will join us in our journey to building a stronger Canada, together

What advice do you have for young Indigenous individuals aiming to make a difference in their communities?

I am inspired by my fellow Indigenous women and men and the next generation of Indigenous youth who have the opportunity to play an integral role in Canada’s economy and contribute to the strength and leadership of their communities and nations in the face of diverse challenges.

My advice to the younger generation is to take on new professional and personal experiences wholeheartedly Those experiences will allow you to discover where your passions truly lie If you are passionate about your culture, learning your language and traditions, or want to make an impact in your community to make it a better place to live – start by participating and volunteering in your community

Our communities need volunteers to help with priorities such as youth programs, health care, elder programs, office administration, community events, and more Learning how your Nation and community is governed and operates plays a huge role in making a difference. By volunteering, gaining employment experience, and pursuing education and training programs, you will establish a better understanding of who you are and more importantly, who you want to become

Lastly, do not seek the perfect answer, condition, situation, or path Start somewhere and be persistent in finding your purpose and knowing your value, make modifications where necessary, and continue to move forward Your past does not define you and your adversity will eventually become your most significant strength


Imagine getting a free coffee from your favourite barista, then feeling compelled to leave a huge tip Or receiving helpful advice from a colleague, making you eager to assist them with their next project. This instinct to return favours is known as the Reciprocity Effect.

The Reciprocity Effectis rooted in our deep-seated social norm of returning favours When someone does something nice for us, we feel an internal obligation to reciprocate This isn't just about grand gestures– even small acts of kindness or generosity triggerthis response surprisingly effectively

Imagecourtesy-istockpho 27-IndigenousSMEMay-June2024

Savvy persuaders understand this From building relationships to closing deals, the Reciprocity Effect is a tool to influence choices and create a sense of positive obligation.

Details & Examples:

Let's explore three ways you can strategically apply the reciprocity effect:

Freebies with Benefits: Don't jump straight into your pitch Offer something valuable upfront This could be a helpful content download, a trial period, or even a small, personalized gesture (handwritten notes never go out of fashion). This primes the recipient for reciprocation when you present your actual offer.

Concessions Breed Compromise: In negotiation, be willing to make the first concession, even if it’s a minor one This makes the other party ready to reciprocate, and signals yourdesire to cooperate, moving the process forward.

Emotional Reciprocity: So much of persuasion is about building an emotional connection and gathering information If your counterpart is hesitant to share, take the lead and open up to them This builds trust and encourages the other person to do the same.

Understanding the Reciprocity Effect is a superpower for anyone who wants to be more persuasive Masterful marketers, negotiators, and networkers utilize reciprocity to build goodwill, influencedecisions, and createlasting, mutually beneficial relationships. Think strategically, not manipulatively. Focuson providing genuine value, and the returns will follow.

Be the person known for generosity and valuethat’s when reciprocity truly pays off.

28-IndigenousSMEMay-June2024 Exclusive Article
1) 2) 3)

Monthly Challenge

Ready to put this into action? Here's your challenge:

Pick a Goal: Do you want a potential client to agree to a meeting, a coworker to support your project, or to improve a business relationship?

The "Give": Figure out something valuableyou can offer upfront This could be a resource, a small favour, or simply taking time for a genuinely helpful conversation.

Don't Push: The key is sincerity, not manipulation. Give without an immediate expectation of return

Observe: Notice what happens Did the other person seem more receptive? Was there a shift in your dynamic?

About Authors:

Want to Learn More? Check out these great resources:

The websiteVeryWellMind has a great overview of the Reciprocity Effect,including many real life examples.

For a more in-depthreview, the classictome, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini, has an entire chapter devotedto Reciprocity

Ben Wise and Darren Chiu are the co-founders of Captivate, providing tactical tools to help you increase your powers of persuasion They are sought after speakers on the psychology of persuasion and have appeared at industry events, conferences and corporate training programs Beyond Captivate, Ben Wise is a 15 year advertising industry veteran who has held successive sales and leadership roles at Google, where he is currently the Head of Programmatic Media working with the largest agencies and brands in Canada Ben is active in his community where he serves on the Board of the Daily Bread Food Bank and recently completed a two year term as the board chair. Ben also advises multiple startups on sales and go to market strategy and volunteers in various mentorship programs helping students and young professionals. Darren is a Strategy Lead at Google, helping brands across all industries develop best in class marketing strategies. With over 12 years of industry experience, Darren’s passion for communication doesn’t stop at the world of business and sales In his spare time, Darren moonlights as a comedic storyteller, stretching his creativity and perspectives beyond the boundaries of his professional life As a recognition of his dedication and expertise, Darren was selected as an Emerging Leader in Advertising & Sales by The Peak in 2023 If you are interested in connecting with Ben and Darren to learn more about Captivate or to book a speaking engagement, you can contact them on LinkedIn (profile links)

Exclusive Article

Carvel Electric's Jordan Jolicoeur:

A Visionary Leader Empowering Communities

A shining example of Indigenous entrepreneurship in the bustling Albertan business scene, Jordan Jolicoeur has been the steadfast engine that has propelled Carvel Electric to great heights As President and CEO, Jordan's journey exemplifies the tenacity and creativity of contemporary Métis leadership In this context, he has been recognized as the Indigenous Founder Spotlight in the Indigenous SME Magazine for the combined edition of May and June Let's look at Carvel Electric's incredible development under Jordan Jolicoeur's innovative leadership.

From Humble Beginnings to Industry Leader:

Jordan assumed control of Carvel Electric in 2013, spearheading an entrepreneurial endeavour that entailed a mere toolbox, pickup vehicle, and aspiration for expansion. Through collaboration with his brother Joel, Jordan revolutionized Carvel Electric from a modest residential service provider to a formidable entity that catered to the largest railroad, pipeline, and energy corporations in North America Jordans "handshake approach" to business, which is firmly rooted in the principles of integrity and community, has solidified Carvel Electric's standing as a dependable industry partner This approach fosters connections and propels sustainable growth

m a g e C o u r t e s y : J o r d a n J o i c o e u r ImageCourtesy:JordanJolicoeur

Championing Indigenous Employment and Skills Development:

Carvel Electric, a distinguished Métis-owned enterprise, is extremely dedicated to promoting Indigenous employment and skill development Jordan's leadership transcends the confines of the boardroom by devoting time and resources to fostering an environment that encourages opportunity and inclusivity Carvel Electric offers Indigenous individuals opportunities for rewarding employment and professional growth through strategic alliances and pioneering training initiatives Jordan's commitment to diversity and inclusion serves to fortify communities while also contributing to the prosperity and long-term viability of Carvel Electric as an industry frontrunner


Safety and Sustainability:

At Carvel Electric, safety comes first, which is why Jordan places great emphasis on ensuring a secure and environmentally sustainable workplace that permeates all facets of the organization's activities. By implementing stringent safety protocols and taking proactive measures to mitigate risks, Carvel Electric guarantees the welfare of its employees, the surrounding environment, and the wider public Through his unwavering commitment to safety, Jordan bolsters Carvel Electric's standing as a dependable and conscientious collaborator within the sector, thereby establishing an industry benchmark for excellence that extends well beyond the borders of Alberta

The leadership of Carvel Electric's Jordan Jolicoeur is a perfect example of how Indigenous entrepreneurs can make a difference Jordan has not only enabled Indigenous inclusion and empowerment in Alberta's corporate scene via his vision, devotion, and commitment to the community, but he has also catapulted Carvel Electric to new heights As he persists in advocating for Indigenous employment, safety, and sustainability, Jordan motivates the next generation of leaders to follow in his footsteps by embracing honesty, creativity, and inclusion as they strive for corporate greatness and social effect

For more information on Carvel Electric’s safety and health management, visit their official website here.

The Indigenous-SME Magazine is an invaluable resource for Canada's small Indigenous companies, both nascent and established. To view our magazine, please visit the following website here To remain up to date on the latest news, please consider following our X account by clicking here We encourage you to join our community of people who are enthusiastic about business


In an unprecedented initiative to combine tradition and technology, OneFeather has introduced a novel tool to help First Nations administrators and leaders manage their elections The Elections Estimator, which powerful AI drives, promises to expedite the election process while providing specialized solutions to Indigenous communities' particular requirements This article delves into the capabilities and advantages of this revolutionary platform, emphasizing its potential to change election administration for First Nations across the board.

Simplifying GovernanceTraditions:

Advanced Features Focused on Indigenous Nations

The Elections Estimator is based on the principle of honouring Indigenous peoples’ autonomy and cultural practices The tool provides detailed information on government and personalized election schedules by analyzing and organizing data using stateof-the-art AI technology The program anticipates the stages of critical voting events and provides customized electoral solutions by learning the unique needs of each First Nation community OneFeather’s commitment to using technology to empower Indigenous people while honouring their traditional history is evident in this

The Method with Fewer Steps

Beginning with their First Nation number, customers are guided step-by-step through the process using the Elections Estimator, which is accessible via both mobile and desktop platforms. Next, customers choose the vote type they need, and the program creates a preliminary plan outlining the event’s schedule and tactics An email with a proposed budget is also available to users, who can then begin the process of managing the elections By giving consumers clear instructions and assistance at every stage, this simplified method removes the uncertainty and complexity normally linked with arranging elections

“As CEO of OneFeather, I’m thrilled to unveil our Elections Estimator Tool, crafted to streamline election planning for First Nations. By harnessing innovative technologies informed by Indigenous knowledge, this tool swiftly offers essential insights, including timelines, cost projections, and strategies. It’s designed to ease the initial steps of electoral organization, providing a detailed proposal. This fusion of modern innovation and ancestral wisdom underscores our commitment to empowering our communities through technologically advanced, culturally respectful solutions.”

Elections and Voting Management Made Simpler and Quicker

The management of elections and voting events may provide significant challenges, especially for nations of greater scale Even the most experienced administrators might be overwhelmed by the immense magnitude of the undertaking Nevertheless, the Elections Estimator expedites and streamlines the process to an unprecedented degree Through the use of automation, individuals are able to conveniently receive personalized responses and commence the process of managing elections with no effort Not only does this practice result in time savings, but it also mitigates stress, enabling administrators to allocate their attention to other crucial facets of governance Lawrence Lewis, the Founder of OneFeather and a member of the We Wai Kai Nation highlights the advantages of the tool by emphasizing its capacity to provide expedient, effortless, and cost-free support in the preparation of budget estimates for Chief & Council voting events.

The Elections Estimator developed by OneFeather is a notable innovation in the administration of elections for First Nations It combines traditional methods with advanced technology to provide a smooth and effective process The tool offers customized solutions that address the distinct requirements of each community by giving priority to Indigenous sovereignty and cultural values The Elections Estimator, with its intuitive interface and extensive capabilities, has the capacity to transform the process of conducting elections in First Nations This has the potential to establish a government system that is more transparent, accessible, and democratic

Learn more about this tech innovation by visiting the official webpage of OneFeather’s press release here.

The Indigenous SME Magazine is a great resource for Canada’s small Indigenous businesses, new and seasoned Visit the website below to view our magazine. Click here to follow our X (Twitter) account for news updates. So what are you waiting for? Join our business-loving community for inspiration, motivation and growth.

First Nations’ Culture

Alberta’s Blood Tribe restores traditional agriculture roots

In the middle of a hot and dry summer in Western Canada, Kainai Forage in Stand Off, Alta., reports a single-day harvest of 8,000 bales of premium timothy hay.

However, the scale of success for the business is no isolated phenomenon The joint venture between Indigena Capital, a private equity firm, and the KainaiBlood Tribe (or Blood Tribe, a First Nation in southern Alberta) has skilfully navigated uncharted territories of both challenge and achievement since its establishment in 2019

Growth and sovereignty

Anchored by 25,000 acres of irrigated land, Kainai Forage exports premium timothy hay internationally A processing plant and state-ofthe-art hay press means Kainai Forage can process over 125,000 metric tonnes of hay per year and keep them on pace to continue to grow their export business

For the Blood Tribe, the business’s success extends far beyond the boardroom.

“One of the most important principles our ancestors had was that we need to provide for our own as much as we can.”

Grassroots agriculture

Situated south of Calgary, the Blood Tribe has the largest reserve in Canada, encompassing over 350,000 acres, and a membership of over 12,000 They were early agriculturalists, but their initial success in the industry was constricted

“Sovereignty means different things to different people, different groups, and different nations, but true sovereignty can only be accomplished by greater financial sovereignty, so this is the direction that we are going with Kainai Forage,” explains Chief Roy Fox

Ensuring a sustainable future for his community has always been at the core of Chief Fox’s career Also known as Makiinima, he has been in a leadership role with the Blood Tribe for most of his adult life

“One of the most important principles our ancestors had was that we need to provide for our own as much as we can – we have to be prepared to work and engage in partnerships with others and in that way, those endeavours will become more meaningful and we’ll be able to provide more, ” he explains.

“When big farming came about, they could not access the necessary capital to be engaged fully,” Chief Fox says “But they continued –they did not give up, even though sometimes it seemed insurmountable barriers were in their way ”

In the 1980s, the tribe negotiated the irrigation project with Canada and Alberta and reached an agreement in the 1990s. However, in their forage business's early days, they faced challenges.

“We knew that there were crops we could develop on our lands and be successful We saw the opportunity to really expand but we couldn’t do it ourselves ”

ImageCourtesy:FarmCreditCanada Agriculture

World-class partnership

By partnering with Indigena Capital, which specializes in partnerships with Indigenous Nations, the Blood Tribe has taken that world-class opportunity and built a world-class business.

And that business growth is more than just business for the Blood Tribe “It’s the degree of financial sovereignty a nation has that determines the true growth and promise of a nation,” Chief Fox explains “The Kainai tribal government does not have the same resources as other governments – they have a tax base, we don’t We have to strive much higher to provide different resources and services for our membership, so the most logical way to achieve that is to have long-term economic and business sustainability ”

“Wehavegreatopportunities withinourlandandthrough ourresourcesanditisso importantthatwefindgood businesspartnerswhoprovide thosethingsthatwedon’t have,”hesays.“Privateequity

providesthedollarsandthe expertise;weprovidethe opportunity.Weneedeach other.”

After a year and a half of collaboration with FCC, Indigena Capital and the Alberta government, the Blood Tribe turned the dream of Kainai Forage into reality and created one of the biggest ventures for their nation For FCC and our Indigenous Finance team, this experience provided valuable lessons in understanding legal requirements and continues to guide us in amending policies and procedures for financing projects on-reserve land

For more information and insights, visit

FCC is Canada’s leading agriculture and food lender, dedicated to the industry that feeds the world. FCC employees are committed to the long-standing success of those who produce and process Canadian food by providing flexible financing, AgExpert business management software, information and knowledge. FCC provides a complement of expertise and services designed to support the complex and evolving needs of food businesses As a financial Crown corporation, FCC is a stable partner that reinvests profits back into the industry and communities it serves For more information, visit fcc ca

This article is reprinted by permission of the author Emily Leeson and Farm Credit Canada. It was originally published in the March 2022 issue of FCC's magazine, AgriSuccess For subscription information about AgriSuccess, see

Agriculture 36-IndigenousSMEMay-June2024

Agriculture's Revolution:

The Emergence of AgriTech North

Amidst the immense expanse of Northwestern Ontario, where food security challenges loom large, AgriTech North is emerging as a beacon of innovation This innovative social enterprise, with its main office located in Dryden, Ontario, is at the forefront of a paradigm shift in the agricultural sector by utilizing technological advancements to consistently produce nutritious, highquality produce throughout the year AgriTech North, driven by an unwavering dedication to mitigating food insecurity and advancing sustainability, is positioned to bring about an unprecedented shift in the agricultural domain

Fostering Food Security in Indigenous Communities of the Far North

Central to the overarching objective of AgriTech North is a deep-seated dedication to promoting food security among the Indigenous communities of the Far North where food costs in small Northern communities are typically between two to eight times higher than in urban centres When a population is thinly spread across a region, the costs to establish a distribution network are extraordinary Access to fresh produce is even more challenging for communities without road access, requiring people to eat what’s available out of necessity rather than choice. AgriTech North’s social mission is to reduce the costs associated with fresh produce by a remarkable 25%


Beyond farming, AgriTech North operates as a Research and Development centre and living lab, recognizing that innovative technologies are necessary to enhance sustainability, food security and affordability in Canada’s northern and remote communities Through the implementation of cutting-edge innovations in their vertical farming systems, the company seek sustainability solutions not only internally but for other communities with a focus on achieving year-round growing that has net-zero emissions and is energy-independent This revolutionary strategy not only tackles the urgent matter of food affordability but also enables communities to assume authority over their food provision, assuring the availability of nourishing components that are vital for overall health and wellness




Through Technological Innovation

AgriTech North is dedicated to promoting environmentally friendly farming practices that reduce resource consumption and minimize ecological impact, capitalizing on the space gained by growing vertically without using soil whilst achieving impressive efficiency gains, using significantly less water and nutrients compared to traditional farming methods. In addition, AgriTech North prioritizes the use of no chemical pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides which not only promotes healthier produce but also contributes to a more sustainable environment through their use of combined aeroponic and hydroponic methodologies that results in a threefold increase in produce compared to traditional farming practices This approach also minimizes land use and helps preserve natural habitats

Embracing Social Enterprise for Positive Impact

AgriTech North, a certified Beneficial-Corp (BCorp), embodies the principles of social entrepreneurship, utilizing business as a positive force Committed to the idea that making a profit and making a positive impact can go hand in hand, the company is dedicated to addressing food insecurity in Northwestern Ontario while running its business operations AgriTech North showcases the incredible impact of socially conscious business models through reinvesting profits into community initiatives, supporting local employment, and collaborating with Indigenous communities With its unique approach to agriculture, the enterprise not only creates economic opportunities but also promotes social cohesion and resilience, empowering communities to flourish in challenging times

ImageCourtesy:AgriTechNorth Sustainability 38-IndigenousSMEMay-June2024

In a time where the importance of food security and environmental sustainability is increasingly recognized, AgriTech North emerges as a promising force, providing a forward-thinking model for the future of agriculture. Partnership with OMAFRA’s Grassroots Growth Initiative resulted in a customized portable classroom grow system complete with user-friendly automations for lights, water and nutrient management that brings hands on learning about sustainable agriculture into the classroom As a pilot project 10 units were manufactured to trial in local schools

With a strong dedication to tackling food insecurity, promoting sustainability, and embracing social entrepreneurship, the enterprise exemplifies the power of technology-driven innovation to bring about positive change

Agri Food Canada has recently approved AgriTech North’s application to the Agriculture Clean Technology (ACT) Program – Research and Innovation Stream to develop a thermal management system designed to make green energy more efficient and sustainable, enabling year-round production of a variety of crops, by combining established technologies to work in collaboration to yield a net-zero energy -independent system. The $2-million project scope is funded by ACT of up to more than $1 18 million (announced on March 7). Once the concept is demonstrated, AgriTech North plans to work with Indigenous governments to help them establishfood sovereignty in their own communities so that other regions can implement the same successes With its expanding reach and impact across Northwestern Ontario, AgriTech North brings forth a new era for agriculture. Here, innovation, sustainability, and social responsibility come together to shape a brighter and more equitable future for everyone involved

Learn more about AgriTech North’s innovative ideas and projects by visiting their website here.

The Indigenous-SME Magazine is an invaluable resource for Canada's small Indigenous companies, both nascent and established To view our magazine, please visit the following website here To remain up to date on the latest news, please consider following our X account by clicking here We encourage you to join our community of people who are enthusiastic about business

ImageCourtesy:AgriTechNorth Sustainability

Bringing Inuit Healing Traditions to Skincare

In her interview with Indigenous-SME Business Magazine, Bernice Kuutuu Clarke, founder of Uasau Soap Inc , revealed that the company ' s inception was rooted in her personal battle with dry skin and the need for effective traditional Inuit healing remedies

This need led Bernice to connect with Meeka Mike, an Inuk woman from Pangnirtung, who shared her family's traditional soap-making methods These traditions, coupled with Bernice's drive to create culturally resonant skincare solutions, laid the foundation for Uasau Soap Inc , transforming it into a business that not only addresses skincare needs but also honors and preserves Inuit healing practices Bernice's journey underscores the importance of integrating traditional knowledge into entrepreneurial ventures to create impactful, culturally meaningful products that resonate with the broader community.


Bernice, raised in Iqaluit, Nunavut, immersed herself in her Inuit heritage, speaking Inuktitut fluently before learning English Married with four children, she founded Uasau Soap Inc in 2012, specializing in allnatural bath and body products infused with Inuit teachings. Her products, rooted in traditional knowledge, provide relief for various skin conditions in the Arctic and Canada. In 2022, Bernice established Kuutuu Cultural Consulting Inc. to safeguard her mother tongue, Inuktitut, and Inuit customs, ensuring their preservation for future generations. Apart from her entrepreneurial pursuits, Bernice actively collaborates with Indigenous entrepreneurs and recently completed the Indigenous Beauty Bootcamp, earning recognition and a $13,000 CAD grant for her Capstone project With diplomas in Inuit Studies and Indigenous Language Proficiency, she is an enthusiastic participant in EntrepreNorth, a program empowering Northern Indigenous entrepreneurs Bernice's unwavering dedication to preserving her cultural heritage and fostering sustainable businesses underscores her commitment to personal and professional growth


Can you walk us through the inception of Uasau Soap Inc, and how your initial solution for dry skin evolved into a thriving business committed to incorporating traditional Inuit healing practices?

"The inception of Uasau Soap Inc is deeply rooted in both personal necessity and a culturally significant encounter, ultimately blossoming into a thriving business that seamlessly merges traditional Inuit healing practices with modern skincare solutions Our journey began in 2012 when the harsh Arctic winters exposed me to the persistent and painful issue of dry skin

Faced with this challenge, I turned to natural remedies, and it was during this search for relief that I encountered a transformative gift from Meeka Mike, an Inuk woman hailing from Pangnirtung Meeka shared her family's timehonored practice of crafting soap using ash and Minky whale oil, a tradition passed down through generations Witnessing the remarkable healing effects of Uasau Soap on my brother's eczema, Meeka suggested expanding the use of Bowhead oil into a broader range of natural body care products

Though initially uncertain, I recognized the profound significance of honoring this traditional gift With trepidation, we began experimenting with incorporating Bowhead oil into our formulations, and to our delight, found that it harmonized seamlessly, dispelling any concerns about separation This successful integration marked the beginning of our journey towards embracing the healing potential of traditional Inuit practices.

As we evolved, we realized the importance of masking the natural scent of Bowhead oil with essential oils, which not only elevated our products but also allowed us to transcend from a simple natural body care line to a vessel for traditional healing This transition not only addressed my personal skincare needs but also ignited a broader mission to reclaim and revitalize Inuit healing practices that had been overshadowed by historical injustices, such as overhunting by whalers

UasauSoapInc.standsasatestamenttothe resilienceandingenuityoftheInuit.Byembracingour culturalheritageandtappingintothewisdomofour ancestors,wenotonlyoffereffectiveskincaresolutions butalsoprovideapathwaytohealingthathonors tradition,fostersempowerment,andreclaimsavital aspectofInuitidentity.Throughourproducts,we aspiretosharetherichnessofourculture,promote holisticwell-being,andcontributetothepreservation ofourheritageforgenerationstocome."

How do you integrate Inuit traditions and healing knowledge into your products, and why do you believe its important to share these aspects of your culture through entrepreneurship?

"Integrating Inuit traditions and healing knowledge into our products through entrepreneurship holds multifaceted significance beyond mere economic endeavors At the core, it serves as a powerful vehicle for cultural preservation, education, and fostering cross-cultural understanding, enriching society as a whole.

By infusing our products with Inuit traditions and healing knowledge, we honor the wisdom passed down through generations within our community Each product becomes a vessel, carrying stories, techniques, and values intrinsic to our culture This act of preservation is crucial in ensuring that our traditions endure and thrive amidst the currents of modernization

Skincare 41-IndigenousSMEMay-June2024

Moreover, entrepreneurship provides a platform for education Through our products, we share not only tangible goods but also narratives and insights into our heritage. This educational aspect not only enlightens consumers about Inuit traditions but also instills a sense of respect and appreciation for cultural diversity

Furthermore, entrepreneurship acts as a bridge for cross-cultural understanding By showcasing Inuit traditions in the marketplace, we invite individuals from diverse backgrounds to engage with our culture in a meaningful way This interaction cultivates empathy, breaks down stereotypes, and fosters connections that transcend geographical and cultural boundaries

In essence, our commitment to integrating Inuit traditions and healing knowledge into entrepreneurship extends far beyond profit margins It's about preserving our identity, educating others, and fostering a more inclusive and empathetic society. Through this endeavor, we believe we contribute not only to the economic prosperity of our community but also to the enrichment of humanity's collective tapestry of cultures "

With significant background in Inuktitut language and culture education, both through your academic achievements and teaching roles at Pirurvik Centre Inc., how do your education endeavors complement your business activities?

"My extensive background in Inuktitut language and culture education, acquired through both academic achievements and teaching roles at Pirurvik Centre Inc , plays a pivotal role in complementing my business activities

First and foremost, my deep understanding of Inuktitut language and culture informs every aspect of my business endeavors It allows me to infuse authenticity into the products and services we offer, ensuring that they resonate with the values and traditions of the Inuit community This authenticity not only enhances the quality of our offerings but also fosters a deeper connection with our target audience

Moreover, my education endeavors have equipped me with invaluable communication skills and cultural sensitivity, which are essential for building meaningful relationships with customers, suppliers, and collaborators These skills enable me to navigate cultural nuances effectively, facilitating smoother business transactions and partnerships.

Additionally, my experience in education has honed my ability to convey complex concepts in a clear and engaging manner This skill is invaluable when developing marketing strategies, creating educational content about our products, and conducting workshops or presentations to promote cultural awareness and appreciation

Furthermore,myinvolvementineducationhashelpedme cultivateastrongsenseofcommunityandsocial responsibility.Thiscommitmenttocommunityengagement andempowermentisreflectedinourbusinesspractices,as westrivetocreateopportunitiesforlocalartisans,support culturalinitiatives,andcontributetotheoverallwell-beingof theInuitcommunity Inessence,myeducationendeavors serveasasolidfoundationuponwhichmybusiness activitiesarebuilt.Theyprovidemewiththeknowledge, skills,andperspectivenecessarytocreateabusinessthat notonlythrivescommerciallybutalsoembodiesthevalues andaspirationsoftheInuitpeople."


As a member of the Theatre group Takannaaluk, you play multiple roles in telling an Inuit story that emphasizes the importance of maintaining traditional ways. How does your involvment in theatre and the arts inform your approach to business and advocacy for Indigenous culture and language?

"My involvement in the theatre group Takannaaluk has profoundly shaped my approach to both business and advocacy for Indigenous culture and language. Through playing roles that embody the powerful narratives of our Inuit Culture, such as the story of Takannaaluk, the sea goddess, and the simple yet profound tale of how the Inuit came to be, I have gained invaluable insights into the importance of maintaining traditional ways and the responsibilities we hold as Inuit

These theatrical experiences have instilled in me a deep sense of stability, confidence, and self-awareness By delving into the essence of our cultural narratives, I have come to understand more fully who I am as an Inuk Woman and the significance of standing firmly grounded in my Inukness This newfound understanding has bolstered my pride in my cultural identity and strengthened my resolve to advocate for the preservation and celebration of Indigenous culture and language

Moreover, my involvement in theatre and the arts has enhanced my ability to communicate complex ideas and emotions effectively This skill is invaluable in both business and advocacy settings, as it allows me to articulate the importance of Indigenous culture and language with clarity and passion Whether I'm developing marketing strategies for my business or advocating for policy changes that support Indigenous communities, my experience in theatre informs my approach, infusing my efforts with authenticity and depth

In essence, my involvement in theatre and the arts has been transformative, providing me with the tools and perspective needed to navigate the worlds of business and advocacy while remaining steadfastly committed to upholding the rich tapestry of Indigenous culture and language "

ImageCourtesy:UasauSoap Skincare

Drawing from your diverse experiences as an entreprenuear, educator, and artist deeply rooted in your Inuk Culture, what advice would you offer to other Indigenous individuals aspiring to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams or artistic passions, especially those looking to make a positive impact on their communities and preserve their culture?

"Drawing from my diverse experiences as an entrepreneur, educator, and artist deeply rooted in my Inuk culture, I would offer the following advice to other Indigenous individuals aspiring to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams or artistic passions, especially those seeking to make a positive impact on their communities and preserve their cultural heritage:

Take up spaces as Inuit and hold them We are the next in line and must be brave to show other Indigenous and Inuit they can too Embrace your identity and Culture unapologetically as you navigate the entrepreneurial and artistic landscapes Your unique perspective and cultural background are assets that set you apart and enrich your endeavors

We can do business differently using our Indigenous societal values and incorporate them into business where people come first Let your cultural values guide your business practices, placing emphasis on community, collaboration, and reciprocity By prioritizing people over profit, you can foster a more inclusive and compassionate business environment

Cultureandlanguagearethe verychangeweneedinthe businessworld.Celebrateand integrateyourcultureand languageintoyour entrepreneurialventuresand artisticpursuits.Bypreserving andpromotingIndigenous languagesandtraditions,you notonlyhonoryourancestors butalsocontributetothe culturalrevitalizationand empowermentofyour community.

It would feel a lot less cold and cutthroat Adding love, compassion, and understanding while doing business helps everyone Infuse your business dealings with love, compassion, and empathy, fostering genuine connections and mutual respect By prioritizing relationships and well-being, you create a more nurturing and supportive business ecosystem that benefits everyone involved

In summary, my advice is to embrace your identity, leverage your cultural values, and prioritize compassion and understanding in your entrepreneurial and artistic endeavors By doing so, you can not only realize your dreams but also make a meaningful and positive impact on your community while preserving and celebrating your culture"

ImageCourtesy:UasauSoap Skincare

Fostering Collaborative Strategies for Enhanced Workplace Well-being

In today's break-neck corporate environment, the significance of employee well-being cannot be overstated Companies are forced to rethink their approaches as employee stress levels climb and discontent grows In only the last two years, research shows that 58% of people have dealt with some kind of mental or physical stress at work In response to this critical need, companies are investigating potential partnerships to improve morale and wellness on the job In this article, we will delve into fostering workplace well-being

Enhancing Empowerment via Work Control:

Granting employees a degree of autonomy in their work can have a substantial positive impact on their overall welfare In addition to boosting morale, granting autonomy in task management and decision-making fosters a sense of ownership and accountability Promoting employee autonomy in project management facilitates self-assurance and mitigates sentiments of powerlessness By delegating decision-making authority to individuals regarding their work processes, organizations can improve a culture of empowerment that enhances overall welfare


Making Mental

Recognizing the and physical hea holistic wellness to give preceden comprehensively reducing strain a implementation ergonomic works schedules can im Concurrently, the atmosphere that associated with provides avenue can efficiently at welfare Through health initiatives dedication to fos well-being of the

Cultivating a Positive Work Environment:

Establishing a positive work culture is fundamental in cultivating the well-being and contentment of employees Establishing an atmosphere that is distinguished by trust, respect, and camaraderie enables personnel to develop a profound sense of inclusion and direction By cultivating diversity and inclusion, encouraging open communication, and celebrating accomplishments, businesses can cultivate this culture Promoting cooperation and collaboration not only serves to increase efficiency but also fosters the development of solid interpersonal connections and alleviates sentiments of seclusion Organizations cultivate a positive work culture in order to establish a supportive environment that promotes the professional and personal growth of their employees.

Amidst an era characterized by increasing levels of tension and discontentment in the professional environment, collaborative approaches emerge as a promising means of promoting the welfare of employees Businesses can cultivate a prospering environment by placing employee empowerment at the forefront, prioritizing holistic health, and cultivating a positive work culture In the current dynamic business environment, it is not only judicious but also critical for the long-term viability and prosperity of organizations to allocate resources toward collaborative initiatives that promote employee wellness

The CanadianSME community consists of readers who have high regard for current enterprises and entrepreneurial initiatives Entrepreneurs can remain connected and active with this group by following @canadian sme on X. Please click here to subscribe to CanadianSME magazine and stay up to date on all current business trends and developments.

m a g e C o u r t e s y : C a n v a Workplace Well-being 46-IndigenousSMEMay-June2024

Bead N Butter: Weaving Stories of Resilience and Connection

Indigenous beading jewellery carefully weaves together tales of legacy and tradition, with each bead reflecting the cultural depth and creative expression of the creator's ancestors Indigenous beading jewellery, with its brilliant colours and elaborate patterns, is a powerful symbol of identity, perseverance, and respect for the land Thus, in the heart of Winnipeg, Manitoba, a beautiful tapestry of culture and creativity emerges through Jessie Pruden's complex beading, the genius behind “Bead N Butter” Jessie's path as a Métis beader personifies tenacity, community, and the transformational power of creative expression Jessie's designs, which are inspired by her ancestry, nature, and the colourful fabric of life, go beyond simple ornamentation to weave tales of connection and belonging.

Connections in Crafting

During the isolation of lockdown in 2020, Jessie Pruden found solace in the craft of beading Faced with the obstacles of quarantine, Jessie found refuge in creation, entering into the realm of beading to bridge the physical barrier between her and her loved ones Armed with a Cedarlilie Beads beading kit, Jessie set out on a voyage of discovery, investing many hours in improving her technique, thanks to internet tutorials and the essential advice of other beaders and family members During this period, Jessie discovered not just a new passion but also a vibrant community of like-minded craftsmen, establishing ties that cross geographical bounds.


Inspirations for Life's Canvas

Jessie mixes her beadwork with a kaleidoscope of colours and designs inspired by her personal experiences, expressing the many parts of her existence Jessie draws inspiration from the rich tapestry of her communities, incorporating their strength and vitality into her modern designs Each bead serves as a conduit for storytelling, weaving together stories of empowerment, acceptance, and celebration. Jessie's designs, which range from the vibrant colours of nature to the complex patterns of Métis culture, demonstrate the beauty of embracing one ' s genuine self

A Journey to Resilience

Today, Bead N Butter is more than just a business; it represents Jessie's path of perseverance and selfdiscovery With her brother, Noel, and her devoted friend, Bella, at her side, Jessie begins a daily creative routine, infusing each bead with love and meaning Beyond business, Bead N Butter acts as a conduit for community development and empowerment, enabling people from all walks of life to experience the transformational power of creative expression. Jessie's art not only honours her Métis background but also promotes inclusiveness and belonging, one bead at a time

As life's threads intersect, Bead N Butter develops as a monument to the everlasting strength of the human spirit. Jessie Pruden's vivid beading leads us on a journey of self-discovery, connection, and celebration. In a world filled with division and uncertainty, Bead N Butter shines as a light of hope, bringing together tales of perseverance and togetherness. As Jessie continues to leave her mark, her beads serve as reminders of the transformational power of creativity and community, encouraging us all to discover beauty in life's unique tapestry.

Browse through their website here to check out their jewellery and artwork.

The Indigenous-SME Magazine is an invaluable resource for Canada's small Indigenous companies, both nascent and established To view our magazine, please visit the following website here To remain up to date on the latest news, please consider following our X account by clicking here. We encourage you to join our community of people who are enthusiastic about business

Indigenous Beading 48-IndigenousSMEMay-June2024


In his interview with Indigenous-SME Business Magazine, Cadmus Delorme, CEO & Founder of OneHoop, described how his leadership as Chief of Cowessess First Nation focused on fostering economic self-sustainability through renewable energy, agriculture, and land efficiency initiatives Cadmus explained that First Nations in Canada are not just stakeholders but rights holders, with reconciliation involving both quasi-jurisdiction and economic empowerment During his tenure as Chief, Cadmus emphasized the need for cultural rejuvenation and political sovereignty alongside economic growth, ensuring that the First Nation's business development considered future generations while maintaining pride in Indigenous heritage. This approach allowed Cowessess to excel in renewable energy, revive agriculture, and improve property management. Cadmus's experiences inspired him to create OneHoop, where he aims to help Indigenous people reclaim control over their economic and political future. Through OneHoop, Cadmus advocates for a stronger presence of Indigenous voices in economic opportunities and calls for true partnerships with non-Indigenous businesses that support equity and decision-making power for Indigenous leaders

Cadmus Delorme, a Cree and Saulteaux, is the former Chief of Cowessess First Nation in Southern Saskatchewan Cadmus graduated from Cowessess Community Education Centre in 2000 He later moved to Regina to pursue a Bachelor of Business Administration and a Certificate in Hospitality, Tourism and Gaming Entertainment Management from the First Nations University of Canada (FNUniv), and a Master of Public Administration from the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy He has also received an ICD D designation from the Institute of Corporate Directors and its affiliate institution, Kenneth Levene Graduate School of Business.


Cadmus, during your tenure as Chief of Cowessess First Nation, you prioritized economic self-sustainability along with renewable energy, agriculture, and land efficiency initiatives. Could you share how these priorities have shaped the development and future business opportunities for Cowessess First Nation?

First Nations are rights holders in Canada, not shareholders or stakeholders. When reconciliation is truly implemented First Nation’s will have two main relationships with Canada, quasijurisdiction and economics. When I was Chief, economic-self sustainability meant we must assess current business and find new markets This could not be efficient without balancing cultural rejuvenation and political sovereignty As Indigenous people our economic growth must complement our pride, heritage, and keep in mind seven generations ahead Our governance structure must create consistency, low-risk, and confidence Once all is implemented, this will shape the development and business growth for a First Nation We became a powerhouse in renewable energy, re-established agriculture, created property management, and more once we aligned all mentioned above

After significant achievements and facing hard moments as Chief, what inspired you to found OneHoop, and how do you envision leveraging your experiences to guide the mission and objectives of this new venture?

When Reconciliation is truly implemented Canada and First Nation will have two main relationships: quasi-jurisdiction and economics When I was Chief, I found economics had a ceiling The ceiling was internal as majority of First Nation did not lack talent but lacked resources to lift to talented levels Secondly, many First Nation leadership have gotten strong in social impact but struggled in economic impact Externally, many non-Indigenous business wanted partnership and alliances, but many have ceiling when it comes to true equity ownership, decision making, and sharing of the profit There are a lot of strategic alliances where there is a fixed payment and percentage per project and normally are one-off projects First Nation deserve to be at all equity ownership levels and alliances should be true partnership with dual decision-making responsibilities Also, some Indigenous governing bodies (Chief and Council, Tribal Council, Metis Leadership, Inuit Leadership) seek advisors to help and non-Indigenous business, corporations, and government require Indigenous advisory services These advisory services is why OneHoop was created We will provide advisory and expertise services to assure Indigenous world view is provided equality in business growth and empower #92 Business and Reconciliation in the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action

ImageCourtesy:OneHoop Economic Development

The historic agreement returning jurisdiction over children in care to Cowessess First Nation marked a significant milestone. From your perspective, what are the key components needed in community-based solutions to effectively address Indigenous child welfare?

First Nation did not relinquish rights when it comes to assuring families can succeed Since 1951 the provinces and territories have driven jurisdiction when it comes to child/family services First Nation know what is needed to help strengthen/heal the family clusters and to drive this began with asserting jurisdiction Once jurisdiction was established, highlighting what institutions are needed was next to assure jurisdiction is supported This includes where the First Nation sees the province/territory governments and federal government help, what judicial system will be used, who will drive the organization and more Once these are identified, the strategies, policies, and implementation stages will create effective Indigenous world-view driven child/family services. This is not an easy journey as many have opinions and changing of lead drivers from government to First Nation can only happen with uncomfortable conversations

With your extensive involvement in sports and receiving numerous awards, including the First Nation Sport Award and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, how have your achievements and role as an athlete influenced your leadership style and community engagement?

When it comes to leadership one has one enemy and that is the thoughts between the ears I have gained confidence and built trust in my own strengths and weaknesses through experience in sports, education, and pushing myself to limits I sometimes find uncomfortable Through my immediate family’s lived experience, I give gratitude to all around me My wife, children, and parents are my motivation to walk a life built on values and integrity I understand I am somewhat a publicly known person and assure the pattern of decisions I make would help heal residential school witnesses and youth. That is my style of leadership and through listening/reading many self-discipline books, I created an ability to understand what influences people I find areas we agree on and use that to build motivation and patterns when it comes to community engagement I lead with showing my heart before I ask for their hand

Looking forward, how do you see the role of Indigenous leaders like yourself evolving in promoting economic development and selfsustainability? What advice would you offer to young Indigenous individuals aspiring to make an impact in their communities?

I see the end goal of reconciliation; it will have two main relationships between Indigenous people and Canadians and that is quasijurisdiction and economics We all must adjust our compass when it comes to understanding truth Truth comes from the brain and reconciliation comes from the heart I believe I can walk in both world views, the westernCanadian world view, and the Indigenous world view They are both beautiful and the more we understand both world views and how they can co-exist is when we make an impact in the Canadian social and economic opportunities It also will provide the resources to lift indigenous people to talented places we all strive for when it comes to reconciliation

Economic Development 51-IndigenousSMEMay-June2024

Has Changed My Life

I remember the year I turned 40 - I reflected a lot on what I’d done in my life and all the people that had an impact on me. I want to use CCAB’s 40th Anniversary as an opportunity to express the ways in which CCAB has impacted my life and that of those around me.

Providing Introductions to Amazing Indigenous Leaders

This may be my favorite thing about the work CCAB does I remember sitting in a hotel lobby with Colby Delorme – looking at him and simply being around him, made me feel stronger I also remember meeting Jenn Harper – as I listened to her speak, I thought, “ weve got this”. I could go on with so many more instances like these, and it’s all thanks to CCAB’s events


I truly love having opportunities to meet people who are sharper, smarter, and doing incredible things in business – especially those who are also Indigenous Just being around other Indigenous professionals reminds me that hey – we can break down doors, we can smash glass ceilings, we can show up in rooms (and not just show up, but also be the leaders) It was through CCAB that I met my first fellow Indigenous business owners, entrepreneurs. CCAB didn’t just tell me I wasn’t alone, they showed me.

Helping Me Understand Procurement

The word itself is a funny one It’s a silly dance, but in order to grow in business, it’s an important one to learn As much as I’ve pushed back on ever doing that dance, it was the CCAB procurement meetings that helped me move from sitting on the sidelines and criticizing the process, to learning how to engage and be a part of projects bigger than I could have imagined

It was thanks to these meetings that I got connected to people like John Johnson, who patiently showed me the way and shone a light on all the procurement is. John called out patience and diligence in me, pushing me to keep working hard – he showed me how to remain humble and work hard to prove to others what we are capable of and helped make the government processes less intimidating


Good News & Who We Are

I loved the Cheekbone Beauty campaign “Right the Story” – the commercial is a rallying cry CCAB is the place where good news is told –success stories, stories of triumph and awesomeness, stories of us showing up and being who we are, unashamedly and without excuse

In the midst of companies looking to engage with Indigenous businesses (and good for them), they are looking for a trusted source for identifying with these businesses. CCAB has put together an incredible vetting system, providing a directory that companies and the government can trust. This directory has opened doors and allowed nonIndigenous and Indigenous businesses to know who they’re working with.

Someone told me recently they heard someone ask why it wasn’t 50% – and sure, that’s a great question –heck, we could also ask why we don’t have 10%, or even 7%. However, I think that as our work, skills, super powers at storytellers, and connections above, below, and all around us become recognized, that 5% will grow into much more than that 5%

The tireless work of CCAB has opened a door for us to walk through in a pretty significant way – I imagine Tabatha powerfully kicking down doors that have been sealed shut for ages We’re now being invited into the room, we ’ re being asked to have a seat at the table, we have 5%

It may seem small and trivial to know how just one small business has been impacted, but that impact also affects my children –four Metis kids growing up to be who knows what in the landscape and ecosystem of this world CCAB has allowed my company and myself to grow so I can house, feed, and be there for my kids – so thank you.

And hey, Happy Birthday CCAB – and just like others told me when I turned 40, you’re just getting started!
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