Indigenous entrepreneurs are ready to embrace a bold new future together, thanks to a successful partnership exploring Cultural Entrepreneurship and how it can contribute to building sustainable jobs for local communities.
The Creativity for Entrepreneurship course, which launched this January was supported by US National Science Foundation-funded digital incubator research with the University of Minnesota Duluth Cultural Entrepreneurship Program and is an example of Canada-US and international science and economic development cooperation.
The Creativity for Cultural Entrepreneurship project has been actively working since 2020 develop meaningful early-career work, training and mentorship experiences for urban and northern Indigenous learners, based partly out of Winnipeg, Manitoba.
This year, more than 30 youth and their families from places including Winnipeg, Manitoba; Borups Corners, Northwestern Ontario; Duluth, Minnesota; Rankin Inlet, Nunavut and even as far away as India took part in this exciting international research and virtual entrepreneurial collaboration. For some Indigenous youth and their families, it was their first experience with a post secondary or online course.
This innovative, five-week pilot project was supported by a $1,500 Wellness Grant from the City of Winnipeg, and with support from St. James ward councillor Scott Gillingham. We thank Dr. Olaf Kuhlke, Dr. Aparna Katre from the University of Minnesota Cultural Entrepreneurship Program and the Arctic Buying Company for their support.
A variety of initiatives have been put in place to support growth in Indigenous business but there is still a lot of ground to make up. There are still many significant systemic and inter-jurisdictional barriers and challenges to navigating and equitably accessing programs and services which may be able to support their continued work. These difficulties have been exacerbated by the impacts of Covid-19.
The project was featured in Nunavut News North: