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CCAB Empowers Indigenous Businesses to Lead the Way in Canada’s Digital Economy

Group of indigenous businesswomen
Group of indigenous businesswomen

Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB) supports Indigenous businesses in leveraging digital tools and opportunities to grow and thrive, offering programs such as Tools and Financing for Aboriginal Business (TFAB), engaging in strategic partnerships and empowering Indigenous entrepreneurs to become leaders in digitization. 

Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB) helps Indigenous business leaders leverage every tool, talent and opportunity possible to grow into powerhouse employers and innovators that impact their communities, country and world.

Indigenous peoples today contribute more than $31 billion to Canada’s GDP, and that number is expected to triple by 2025, according to a 2020 RBC report.  This is predicted to result in a $100 billion Indigenous economy by the middle of this decade.

CCAB is committed to helping Indigenous businesses get there.

CCAB’s Tools and Financing for Aboriginal Business (TFAB) program, for example, provides business expertise, services, and development across key areas, including in finance, operations, human resource management, and with legal and regulatory functions, as well as in the areas of marketing, communications and technology.

Technology and e-commerce, of course, is top of mind for all business leaders, and no more so than among Indigenous-owned organizations.

“Tools for Aboriginal Business addresses important issues around digital marketing, such as why it’s important and the value of various strategies,” says Philip Ducharme, vice president of entrepreneurship and procurement at CCAB. “We have many Indigenous business members with impressive digital marketing expertise who can provide Indigenous entrepreneurs with significant mentorship opportunities. It’s all about working and connecting with other businesses.”

Indigenous businesses are taking a leadership role in digitization, and 58 per cent of Indigenous businesses self-report as early adopters of new technology, compared with just 25 per cent of businesses as a whole, according to a recent e-commerce survey by CCAB.

The Indigenous businesses surveyed by CCAB also report using online tools more frequently than the average Canadian business, selling products or services online at a rate of 66 per cent and taking payments digitally at a rate of 77 per cent. In both cases, this is at about a 10 per cent higher rate than businesses across the country overall.

The TFAB initiative, however, is just one of many programs at CCAB that member businesses can access to strengthen and scale their companies.

CCAB has engaged in a number of strategic partnerships to provide funding or expertise on the digital side of business. Mostly recently, the Canada Digital Adoption Program (CDAP) partnered with CCAB to deliver the Grow Your Business Online grant to Indigenous businesses.
Eligible Indigenous businesses receive micro-grants of up to $2,400 to assist with the costs related to adopting e-commerce. The businesses are also supported by a network of e-commerce advisors.

CCAB has also partnered with BestAuction to help its Certified Aboriginal Businesses and business members leverage export opportunities. The BestAuction app lets members explore new private and public opportunities and government tenders to increase their exports through its digital collaboration platform.

Whether it’s through equipping young entrepreneurs, empowering small businesses with e-commerce strategies or assisting fast-growing Indigenous businesses with the tools needed to scale, CCAB helps Indigenous businesses position themselves for success.

When Indigenous businesses grow and thrive, it strengthens communities, promotes progressive and prosperous relations, and contributes to a new economy based on mutual respect and shared prosperity. 

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