Indigenous Business Worth $100B
Toronto – Indigenous businesses contribute over $30 billion annually to Canada’s economy, and that number is expected to more than triple over the next five years, according to a new report from the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Businesses (CCAB). In partnership with the federal government, the CCAB has just released the Business Reconciliation in Canada Guidebook. Director of Research and Government Relations Max Skudra said the purpose of the book is to act as a sort of a primer for people who don’t know how to engage Indigenous businesses.
“Maybe I’m from a city where there’s not a lot of Indigenous people, I don’t know any Indigenous people, how do I get started without accidently embarrassing myself,” Skruda said. “Sometimes not knowing is a barrier to getting something good started.”
One of the recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) was it is everyone’s responsibility to improve relationships between non-Indigenous and Indigenous communities. Skruda said Indigenous businesses have a proven track record and are future leaders of the Canadian economy.
“We see Indigenous people are starting companies at nine times the rate of average Canadians, and they are the fastest growing demographic in the country,” he said. “Suncor alone spends over $700 million [with Indigenous suppliers, yet] the federal government spends less than $100 million,” Skruda said, adding the federal government is the largest purchaser of goods and services in the country.
Skruda added he has data that suggests Aboriginal businesses already have the capacity to provide up to 24 per cent of what the federal government buys in a year.