Economic Development

Jul 28, 2022
Shining The Spotlight Issue9 WEBSITE 10

With the arrival of the summer solstice and National Indigenous Peoples Day, this time of year we have much to cherish, be thankful for, and celebrate—including the work of the Economic Development Department. Our goal is to improve the economic condition of Indigenous women, girls, and gender-diverse people.

To this end, the department launched phase two of the ESDC-funded project “CRGBA Capacity Building for Investment Readiness Partners.” We are also organizing three engagement sessions (originally titled “Commerce and Culture from an Indigenous Perspective: Empowering through Equitable Entrepreneurship”) with over 45 Indigenous women, Two-Spirit, and gender-diverse people on entrepreneurship and small business ownership.

Through this work, the department is developing an in-depth understanding of our client’s funding needs and the barriers they face in starting or expanding their business.

These sessions will also:

  • help NWAC and other social purpose organizations develop a better understanding of the connection that exists between small business owners and entrepreneurs and their indigenous values, family, and culture
  • make social purpose organizations more responsive to the needs of Indigenous entrepreneurs and small business owners, to better match their programs and services to the needs of the Indigenous women, Two-Spirit, and gender-diverse people’s business community

Our department houses another exciting program called #BeTheDrum. This incubator program is funded by Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions. It was developed to build the skills of Indigenous women entering the sphere of business, management, and entrepreneurship.

To date, we have over 250 members and over 900 participants signed up for our business workshops in 2021. Sessions this year include the following:

  • May 30 – over 30 Indigenous women signed up for the growth mindset workshop “Sharing strategies to raise your confidence and find your happiness and step into your potential” with Jasmine Seeley, an Ojibwe woman from Hiawatha First Nation
  • July 6 - business branding workshop “Shared modern and innovative ways to build brand value and increase visibility of our unique and traditional business projects” with marketing expert Ayla Coltman
  • July 27 – business workshop on small business and wholesale management and ecommerce strategies with distinguished entrepreneur Michalee Lazoe, CEO/Founder of Sequia Soaps