Defining Indigenous Businesses in Canada

“Defining Indigenous Businesses in Canada” is a report commissioned by the National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association (NACCA) on behalf of national Indigenous organizations who comprise the National Indigenous Procurement Working Group (NIPWG). It presents proposed definitions of Indigenous Businesses for use in Canada.

Drawing on various national and international descriptions, the definitions are comprised of three core elements:

  1. The requirement for Indigenous business owners, directors of Indigenous companies, and in the case of cooperatives – voting members, to provide evidence of Indigenous identity as demonstrated through a legitimate Indigenous identity?issuing organization or entity.
  2. Entrepreneurs and small business owners should also demonstrate that they possess the relevant expertise and credentials to own the business and the capacity to actively engage in operating the business.
  3. A minimum of 51% Indigenous ownership. While it is recognized that there are many businesses that have Indigenous ownership or which provide social returns such as employment, the intent of the definitions presented is to provide competitive advantages to majority owned Indigenous businesses.

More than 50,000 Indigenous owned businesses in Canada contribute $31 billion to Canada’s gross domestic product annually.”

These definitions are consistent with comparator definitions of Indigenous businesses sourced from a review of Canadian and international entities. A literature review contained within the report discusses the critical need for the ethical and effective engagement of governments and industry with Indigenous owned and operated businesses. Indigenous businesses create jobs, improve local communities, fuel innovation, and contribute to social and economic wellbeing.

Read the full report here