Indigenous Entrepreneurship


Indigenous Entrepreneurship logo

United College and the University of Waterloo are supporting economic reconciliation with new Indigenized academic programming that focuses on the unique needs and priorities of Indigenous entrepreneurs, captures the unique cultural elements of Indigenous ways of doing business, and uses Indigenous case studies as the cornerstone of its curriculum.

The Indigenous Entrepreneurship program is delivered as a Minor in Indigenous Entrepreneurship for students enrolled in any degree program at the University of Waterloo and as a stand-alone Diploma in Indigenous Entrepreneurship, delivered online for students with at least one year of completed successful postsecondary study. 

Our courses are taught by Indigenous instructors; supported by a community of mentors with deeply held expertise in entrepreneurship and social justice; and include technical content unique to Indigenous entrepreneurs, such as joint ventures, procurement policies, Indigenous economic development corporations, and tax issues. 

Why Indigenous Entrepreneurship?

Indigenous Peoples across Turtle Island have a long history of excellence in entrepreneurship. While many of their traditional ways of doing business were suppressed by colonization, Indigenous Peoples are now seeking to recover and extend their entrepreneurial excellence. 

The Post-Secondary Experience of Indigenous Students (Indspire, 2018) found that Indigenous learners experienced not only financial barriers to accessing post-secondary, but also cultural disconnect due to a lack of student/staff/faculty knowledge of Indigenous histories and contemporary realities, lack of Indigenous mentors, and lack of Indigenous content in the curriculum. Indigenous students often do not see themselves or their belief systems reflected in the materials that are studied in mainstream business programs. For example, the case studies that form the core of the curriculum are almost entirely drawn from the mainstream corporate experience and do not reflect the ethos, priorities, concerns, and challenges of Indigenous entrepreneurs.

Our new Indigenized academic programming that focuses on the unique needs and priorities of Indigenous entrepreneurs, captures the unique cultural elements of the Indigenous way of doing business, and uses Indigenous business case studies as the cornerstone of our curriculum.