Skip to main content

Aboriginal Business Increasingly Embracing Innovation

Brian DePratto, Senior Economist | 416-944-5069

June 19, 2017 |


  • An increasingly dynamic small business sector will be critical to supporting future gains in living standards of Aboriginal Peoples in Canada. 
  • The 2016 Promise and Prosperity survey of Aboriginal businesses provides some good news on this front. The results point to an Aboriginal business sector that on balance is feeling optimistic about future growth prospects, and are achieving success through adopting new products/processes and expanding into new export markets. 
  • Aboriginal businesses operate across a wide gamut of industries as well as on- and off reserve. While still important, the resource sector directly comprises only one in ten Aboriginal businesses.
  • However, significant barriers remain holding back rates of entrepreneurship below the national average. Finding the right talent can be difficult, business plans are less common, and infrastructure issues persist.
  • Some government policies, together with favourable demographics, should help to address challenges in finding skilled labour, while changes in education, processes, and infrastructure spending should help ameliorate other impediments. Procurement policies can also help foster success.
  • There are always bumps in the road, but the success and innovativeness of Aboriginal businesses speaks not only to their resilience, but a brighter future as well. 

 Full report in PDF format is available here.