Synergy of the Indigenous Women’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystem
On March 15, 2021, the First Nations of Quebec and Labrador Economic Development Commission (FNQLEDC) facilitated a roundtable entitled “Synergy of the Indigenous women’s entrepreneurial ecosystem” as part of the first virtual edition of the “Expo Entrepreneurs” gathering. Here is a portrait of this ecosystem and its interest to diversify the economic opportunities offered to women.
The roundtable was facilitated by Emmanuel Bertrand-Gauvin, Women Entrepreneurship Advisor at the FNQLEDC. It relied on the participation of six women members of the First Nations of Quebec, including representatives of Indigenous organizations and women entrepreneurs.
The objectives of this roundtable were to make the Indigenous entrepreneurial ecosystem known to encourage women to make greater use of it, as well as to invite non-Indigenous organizations to respect structures implemented by the First Nations by favouring their use.
Indigenous women’s entrepreneurship contributes directly and immediately to the well-being and the empowerment of Indigenous women, and more broadly, to the socio-economic development of the communities where they live. To support them in their efforts and to optimize the benefits, there is a dedicated entrepreneurial ecosystem, supported by and for First Nations members.
Indigenous entrepreneurial ecosystem
The First Nations entrepreneurial ecosystem relies on the expertise of different Indigenous organizations. Among them :
- Indigenous financing institutions, including the Native Commercial Credit Corporation (NCCC, several nations served), the Corporation de développement économique montagnaise (CDEM, Innu and Naskapi nations) and Tewatohnhi’saktha Business Loan Fund (TBLF, Mohawk nation) and Eeyou Economic Group (EEG, Cree nation)
- Regional commissions and organizations related to socio-economic development, including the FNQLEDC, the First Nations Human Resources Development Commission of Quebec (FNHRDCQ) and Indigenous Tourism Quebec (ITQ).
- Economic development officers and community economic development corporations, including Kanesatake Economic & Business Development.
Discover some of the organizations in this dedicated ecosystem and the services they offer to support women entrepreneurship:
|Organisation||Description||Soutien à l’entreprenariat féminin|
(Services to entrepreneurs)
|The FNQLEDC supports and accompanies community economic development agents and organizations as well as First Nations members, on or off community, in the realization of their private or collective socio-economic projects.||The FNQLEDC supports and accompanies community economic development agents and organizations as well as First Nations members, on or off community, in the realization of their private or collective socio-economic projects.|
|FNHRDCQ||The FNHRDCQ is responsible for administering the Indigenous Skills and Employment Training (ISET) Program and the Urban ISET Program. Through its 31 Employment and Training Service Centres (ETSCs), the FNHRDCQ helps clients enter the labour market by offering various employment and training measures.||The FNHRDCQ administers a financial support measure for people wishing to become self-employed. A collaboration was set up with the FNQLEDC to offer support for the project’s ideation, the business plan, the search for financing and the implementation of the business.|
|NCCC||NCCC is a non-profit that offers financing products and services in the form of non-refundable contributions, term loans and coaching to start, acquire or expand Indigenous businesses.||Its mission is to offer advice and adapted financial services meeting the needs and expectations of First Nations of Quebec. Some files are handled in collaboration with the FNQLEDC to allow women entrepreneurs to benefit from all available sources of financing and to accompany them in the development of their business plans.|
|ITQ||ITQ is a sectoral tourism association recognized by Quebec’s Ministry of Tourism as the province’s official representative of the Indigenous tourism industry and by the Assembly of First Nations of Québec a Labrador as a representative of a place of exchange and services in the field of development and promotion of Indigenous tourism.||ITQ is a representative body that aims to safeguard the interests, to stimulate and support the development of indigenous tourism businesses. To ensure access to the best resources available according to the situation of the entrepreneurs, the FNQLEDC refers some of them to ITQ and vice versa.|
|Kanesatake Economic & Business Development||The mission of the Kanesatake Economic & Business Development is to stimulate and strengthen the economic growth of the community through the support of businesses and socio-economic development projects in the community.||Pour mener à bien sa mission, cette organisation fait appel à la CDEPNQL et à d’autres organismes pour faciliter l’accès à l’expertise, aux sources de financement ou à de l’aide dans la médiation culturelle avec les ressources non-autochtone.|
Synergy and importance of this ecosystem for First Nations women entrepreneurs
As the entrepreneurs who participated in the round table testified, the entrepreneurial ecosystem from which they benefited enabled them to receive accompaniment from the ideation of their project to the launch of their business, support in the search for financing, as well as a network of contacts and organizations specific to First Nations. To do so, they called on different stakeholders in this ecosystem who collaborated closely according to the complexity of the dossiers and the specific needs.
The importance of this ecosystem lies in the fact that it was set up by First Nations members to contribute to the improvement of entrepreneurial capacities within First Nations (on or off community). It takes into account the context and realities of its members and communities in order to offer culturally adapted resources that meet the needs of women entrepreneurs in a targeted manner.
This ecosystem is also important for non-Indigenous organizations in that it can be a gateway for the establishment of new economic alliances. This synergy can be created through the use of front-line Indigenous services by these organizations and if they are open to collaborating in a secondary role.
Are you a First Nations woman? Do you have a business project in mind? Do not hesitate to use this entrepreneurial ecosystem to help you in your efforts. Teams of dedicated and passionate experts are at your disposal!
To find out more about Expo Entrepreneurs, visit the event’s website (in French only).
To consult other articles on First Nations economic development, we invite you to consult our blog.