Indigenous Entrepreneurship Case Studies

In North America, business education is typically delivered through a case-study method. Students learn to understand the dynamics of business activity and the consequences of different business decisions by reflecting on examples drawn from real-life business situations.

For Indigenous learners, the problem is that none of the thousands of case studies used in Canadian business programs depict challenges faced by Indigenous entrepreneurs. The existing inventory of business case studies focuses exclusively on mainstream business actors. Yet it can be hard for an Indigenous learner to see how decisions made by corporate leaders on Bay St. are applicable to a small tourism business in a remote community or a clothing co-op being launched by Urban Indigenous youth.

Perhaps more importantly, the complete absence of Indigenous actors in existing inventories of business case studies plants the suggestion that business isn’t really something that Indigenous people do; that it’s fundamentally a mainstream and white-collar activity.

One of the key features of our INDENT programming is that we are committed to the goal of having Indigenous students learn about entrepreneurship through the study of Indigenous case studies. We want Indigenous learners to see themselves in the material they study.  And we want them to learn for the experiences of Indigenous entrepreneurs who do business in the Indigenous way.

Now  because those case-studies did not yet exist, we have undertaken to research and write them ourselves. With a generous grant from the Lyle S. Hallman Foundation, we have been able to commission an initial set of twenty such case-studies and it is our intention to add to this initial set on an ongoing basis.

  • A6N: Six Nations Joint Venture with Aecon
  • Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business: Identity and Leadership in Indigenous Business
  • Cheekbone Beauty: Reforming the Beauty Industry
  • Creative Fire’s Creative Approach
  • dänä Näye Ventures
  • Det’on Cho Management LP: A Thriving Business Prepares for Tomorrow
  • First Nations Bank of Canada: The Indigenous Peoples’ Bank
  • First Nations Major Projects Coalition: A National Platform for Indigenous Cooperation and Business Development
  • First Peoples Law: Reforming the Legal Landscape in Canada
  • Five Nations Energy Inc. Connects Communities through Hydro
  • Haisla First Nations and LNG Canada
  • Kihew FabCo
  • Membertou Corporate Division as an Economic Engine for Indigenous Peoples
  • Mikisew Group finds Guidance through Tradition
  • Myera Group’s Ecological and Social Innovations
  • Points Athabasca: Building Local Capacity and Regional Identity
  • Primco Dene: A Livelihood for a Livelihood
  • Sea Wolf Adventures’ Sustainable Tourism
  • Spirit Bear Lodge: Reforming the Ecotourism Industry in the Global North
  • Tuccaro Group of Companies 
  • West Baffin Eskimo Co-operative