The opportunity to create joint venture partnerships with Indigenous businesses and communities across Canada is growing exponentially as Indigenous communities invest in economic development initiatives that not only bring benefit to their people and communities, but also to companies and corporations that work near Indigenous land, or want access to Indigenous land.
The provision of a social license to access Indigenous resources is dependent upon plans and agreements, which result in long-term job and business opportunities for Indigenous groups or communities. Companies look to Indigenous communities as a viable workforce and they encourage local purchasing for a variety of reasons such as cost savings, good will and a belief that supplier diversity is in their best interest to mitigate business risks.
Knowing how to maximize these opportunities and build positive relationships with Indigenous communities is critical for long-term reward and win-win financial and social outcomes.
Major development projects are multi-staged, involve significant investment of financial resources, and operate over an extended period of time with significant economic returns. Many Indigenous companies and communities do not have the knowledge or expertise to understand and act on the range of opportunities presented by major projects. As a potential business partner and developer you need to navigate through the complexities of Indigenous issues in Canada to build win-win partnerships.
There are close to 700 Indigenous communities across Canada that can offer potential partnership opportunities. According to the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business, there were over 37,000 self-employed Indigenous people in Canada in 2006, representing an increase of 27,000 since 2001, which out performs the self-employed of non-Indigenous Canadians by seven per cent. This upward trend in Indigenous business upstarts continues to grow.
In 2010, 61 per cent of Indigenous businesses reported profits and 35 per cent reported that they increased revenues since 2009.