Indigenous Economic Development

Last updated on June 29, 2020

 Indigenous organizations and communities are finding unique partnerships around B.C. to grow their economies. Creativity and collaboration are key to their success. This section shares stories and resources to support First Nations and Indigenous communities reach their economic development goals. 

Indigenous Partnerships and Local Investors Key to Helping Grow a New Coastal Industry

Starting a new business can be hard and risky. Vancouver Island-based Cascadia Seaweed Corporation is leveraging some of B.C.’s valuable natural resources to overcome common obstacles that face start-ups. Beyond accessing a great renewable resource, they are establishing partnerships with Indigenous peoples, local investors, and the B.C. Government’s investor incentive program —the Small Business Venture Capital Tax Credit.

Working Within Community and Place to Grow a Small Business  –  Bella Bella

Cliff and Ramona Starr returned to Bella Bella after 11 years away to open a business and have found success through hard work and the support of their community.  

Growing Economic Opportunity Through Native Plant Restoration – Moberly Lake

This joint venture between the West Moberly First Nations and Saulteau First Nations is creating employment and transforming the way industrial sites are restored, by tapping into traditional ecological knowledge.

How the Gwa'sala-'Nakwaxda'xw are Determining their Economic Future – Tsulquate

Reflecting the will and strength of the Gwa’sala-’Nakwaxda’xw people, the establishment of the k̓awat̕si Economic Development Corporation reinvigorated the economic heartbeat of a community.

Boosting Businesses through the Aboriginal Canadian Entrepreneurship Program – Throughout B.C.

Indigenous people have been innovating and creating trade opportunities for thousands of years. Through the Northwest Aboriginal Canadian Entrepreneurs (ACE) programs, hundreds of Indigenous entrepreneurs are finding ways to put their entrepreneurial ideas into action to create successful businesses and drive economic growth in their communities. Since 2013, Aboriginal Canadian Entrepreneurs programs have graduated more than 275 students in 18 cohorts throughout the province.

Protecting Haida Values through Sustainable Forestry – Haida Gwaii

The Haida Nation is supporting the socioeconomic well-being of its citizens and protecting important ecosystems on Haida Gwaii through its nation-owned forestry company, Taan Forest.

Bringing a Local Harvest to an International Market – Klemtu

In B.C.'s remote Central Coast, the Kitasoo/Xai'xais Nation is supporting the local economy with its community-owned seafood company. 

Start-up Program Helps Entrepreneurs Take their Ideas to the Next Level – Westbank First Nation

Accelerate Okanagan collaborated with Westbank First Nation to provide the Startup Basics program to early-stage entrepreneurs. Customizing the program for Indigenous entrepreneurs created a unique learning opportunity for participants.

Government-to-Government Partnerships Create Industrial Development, Tax Revenue, and Jobs – Terrace    

Since 2006, the City of Terrace and local Kitselas and Kitsumkalum First Nations have signed a series of cooperation and economic development agreements, signalling a new era in building government to government relationships and paving the way for future collaborations. Benefits have included revenue sharing, and job opportunities for citizens.

Building on a Community's Assets to Create an Economic Development Strategy – Cormorant Island

A tiny island off northeast Vancouver Island, Cormorant Island is home to the Village of Alert Bay and the ‘Namgis First Nation. A shrinking, aging population and dwindling economy led the two governments to pull together to look hard at the barriers and opportunities for growth. Engaging the community in planning and implementation helped bring immediate success and benefits.    


Related Webinars
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Watch related BC Ideas Exchange webinars about Indigenous Economic Development.

Pathways to Collaboration
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Read the Pathways to Collaboration case studies to learn more about the many successful First Nations and local government economic development collaborations in B.C.