According to JP Gladu, President and CEO of the Canadian Council of Aboriginal Business (CCAB), Indigenous business is thriving with more than $12B being contributed by Indigenous businesses to Canada’s economy in 2016. There are currently over 60,000 Indigenous entrepreneurs across the country with businesses in areas like IT, construction, engineering, architecture and printing – some communities even have community development corporations. Gladu noted, “There’s lots of focus on the struggles and challenges of Indigenous peoples, less on our victories and even less on the local, national and international success of everyday Indigenous business people.”
This is something we (Sakatay Global) see as well and is why our Daily Indigenous News service and these blog posts include positive stories showcasing the success and beauty of Indigenous communities across the country (you can sign up for our news clippings here).
Gladu says that there are still misconceptions about Indigenous peoples and a lot of racism and bias against Indigenous peoples and that Canadians need to open their eyes to the growing Indigenous economic engine. Gladu also says, “I like to remind people that Canada’s first economic engine was powered by our people… And before that, we were trading plants, animals, land and more, long before contact.” For Gladu, business development and entrepreneurship is one pathway to Indigenous self-empowerment. Gladu also discusses this idea of ‘economic reconciliation’ and defines it as, “When our communities are no longer managing poverty but start managing wealth.”