To bolster First Nations, Inuit, and Métis businesses by encouraging consumers to invest in Indigenous goods and services, and supporting such businesses in the digital economy while honouring Truth & Reconciliation.
Our goal through the Shop First Nations initiative is to spur consumer support for Indigenous businesses across Canada.
Data from the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business indicates that “over 99% of Aboriginal businesses are SMEs” [small- or medium- enterprises]. Because of this entrepreneurial mindset, Indigenous businesses rely on you – the consumer – to help them survive. Regardless of your ancestry, whether you’re Indigenous or a new citizen to Canada, please do what you can to show your support for Indigenous businesses!
Our purpose is to:
- Appeal to you – the consumer – to choose First Nations products and services
- Encourage First Nations businesses to leverage the digital economy to improve their business
Our first step in fulfilling this purpose is the creation of an Indigenous business directory to promote Indigenous business near you.
All my relations,
Rob S., Shop First Nations team
Note on COVID-19 Impact
During these difficult times, all businesses will be challenged to continue operations.
First Nations businesses, however, face added challenges:
- A Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses study estimates 25% of small- and medium-sized enterprises will not be able to sustain a closure of 30 days. Due to the high number of small- and medium-enterprises in the Indigenous business sector, Covid-19 will significantly impact those businesses
- Lack of digital infrastructure – Indigenous businesses based on reserve or in remote communities often lack the digital capacity (e.g. broadband internet, e-commerce, technical skills) that is commonplace in urban centres making it more difficult for them to “pivot” online in the digital age
- Funding for Indigenous businesses is unique; largely originating from individuals or community-based groups, NOT traditional lenders
If you can afford to, please support an Indigenous business in your community and – most importantly – stay safe, healthy, and take care of your loved ones.
For additional information on the Covid-19 Impact on Indigenous businesses:
Rob Schulz - Founder
Rob is Chipewyan on his mother’s side and German on his father’s side. He was born and raised in Greater Vancouver (unceded, traditional territories of the Squamish, Musqeum, and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations) and currently resides in New Westminster (includes traditional territory of Qayqayt First Nation). He graduated from BCIT with a Diploma (Honours) in Computer Systems Technology.
Professionally, Rob is well versed in providing strategic technology solutions with expertise as an Enterprise and Integration Architect in the retail and commercial real estate sectors. A team player, he enjoys creating collaborative relationships and shared goals to deliver impactful technical solutions in today’s digital economy.
When not geeking out, he enjoys watching and playing football (soccer) as well as traveling.
James Delorme - Volunteer/Advisor
James Delorme is a Director with the First Nations Internet Exchange, President of Indigeknow and is an established social media innovator and producer in First Nations communities with economic development and social impact projects.
James has served as the elected Chief of Klahoose First Nation for three consecutive terms. In this role he guided economic development for his nation with a focus on innovation as a wellspring of reconciliation. Economic development projects he has been involved with include Jimmy Creek, the largest green, run-of-river hydro project in Western Canada over the last decade, and the creation of cultural tourism businesses.
James has also served on the board of the BC Assembly of First Nations and currently serves as a director with the Powell River Education Services Society and the BC Small Business Roundtable.
James has an extensive background in the tourism, construction and the forest industries. His focus has been to build capacity within his own community and strengthen strategic economic opportunities for Klahoose and other First Peoples.