Indigenous Entrepreneurship

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Being an Indigenous entrepreneur opens up a world of possibilities for talented students that like to think outside the box and are also looking to positively impact the economic environment.

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United College and the University of Waterloo are proud to announce our new Indigenized academic programming, designed to promote economic reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. Our program is specifically tailored to meet the unique needs and priorities of Indigenous entrepreneurs, and incorporates cultural elements that are essential to Indigenous ways of doing business.

At the heart of our curriculum are Indigenous case studies that showcase the innovative and successful businesses of Indigenous peoples. By highlighting these success stories, we aim to inspire and empower our Indigenous students to create their own thriving enterprises.

We recognize the importance of economic reconciliation and the role that education can play in achieving it. That's why our program is committed to fostering an inclusive and supportive learning environment that values and respects Indigenous cultures and traditions.

We invite all Indigenous peoples who are interested in pursuing a career in business to join us in this exciting new venture. Our goal is to help you develop the skills, knowledge, and confidence you need to achieve your entrepreneurial dreams and make a positive impact in your communities.

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 rich and storied history of entrepreneurship that spans thousands of years. Despite facing numerous obstacles and setbacks due to colonization, Indigenous Peoples have persevered and are now reclaiming their place as leaders in the world of business.

By embracing their traditional ways of doing business and incorporating modern innovation and technology, Indigenous entrepreneurs are transforming their communities and making a positive impact on the world. From sustainable agriculture to renewable energy to digital media, Indigenous businesses are breaking new ground and setting new standards for excellence in entrepreneurship.

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.