entrepreneurship

Indigenous entrepreneurship: How Indigenous knowing, being and doing shapes entrepreneurial practice

Year

This chapter introduces the concept and practice of entrepreneurship from an Indigenous perspective. The focus is on understanding what Indigenous entrepreneurship is, where it comes from and how it is understood and practiced in different contexts by people of diverse cultures, languages, histories and circumstances. The goal of the chapter is to help you understand the uniqueness of Indigenous entrepreneurship, and from this understanding form your own views on what it is, how it has developed and how it can be achieved and supported in your region. The chapter argues that Indigenous entrepreneurship is part of a distinctive approach to engaging in enterprise and economic development that is present in many countries and all continents.

This approach involves integrating Indigenous and non-Indigenous worldviews, knowledge and practice to achieve Indigenous development aspirations. Indigenous entrepreneurship adheres to the Indigenous view that human beings and the natural environment share a common origin and are, therefore, interrelated—with one depending on the other for their survival and wellbeing. This view refers to the principle of social and ecological interdependency. This means that, in order to live well, natural resources must be managed sustainably, taking only what one needs.

An example of this is the replenishing of fish stocks and plant life through cultural practices of prohibition and regeneration, which are collective responsibilities. This principle has ancient origins and has helped Indigenous peoples live in harmony with their environments, satisfying their peoples’ need for food and materials for their livelihoods. This is a traditional view of socioecological balance that has evolved into sustainable development and has subsequently been given serious consideration internationally among Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. It is relevant to all aspects of our lives, at home, at work, in school, government, industry and community in order to cope with, and recover from, the effects of widespread pollution, environmental degradation and climate change.

The chapter introduces and explores Indigenous entrepreneurship in five sections: (1) Indigenous peoples; (2) Indigenous entrepreneurship theory; (4) Indigenous entrepreneurship practice and (5) enterprise assistance. The chapter includes five cases of Indigenous entrepreneurship—three M¯aori entrepreneurs from Aotearoa New Zealand and two Native American entrepreneurs from the United States of America.

Native Nations
Resource Type
Citation

Mika Jason, P. (2020). Indigenous entrepreneurship: How Indigenous knowing, being and doing shapes entrepreneurial practice. In D. Deakins & J. M. Scott (Eds.), Entrepreneurship: A contemporary & globla approach (pp. 1-32). Sage. https://study.sagepub.com/deakins/student-resources/e-chapter-on-indigenous-entrepreneurship

Ongoing growth in the number of Indigenous Australians in business

Year

In 2014, Boyd Hunter attempted to provide a consistent estimate of the growth in Indigenous self-employment between 1991 and 2011. Changes in the census questionnaire structure and sequencing means that projecting the growth trends back to 1991 is now problematic. This paper provides a more refined, consistent and transparent method for calculating the number of Indigenous owner–managers, including accounting for the growing prevalence of Indigenous owner–managers who are increasingly identifying themselves as Indigenous in the census, unlike in previous censuses where many did not identify. Using census data and estimated residential population statistics, we conservatively estimate that around 17 900 Indigenous business owner–managers operated in Australia in 2016. We estimate that the number of Indigenous business owner–managers grew by 30% between 2011 and 2016. The rate of Indigenous business ownership has grown marginally as a share of the Indigenous working-age population at a time when the non-Indigenous rate of business ownership has fallen. Yet the rate of Indigenous business ownership remains relatively low compared with the rate of business ownership among non-Indigenous Australians. The paper also provides insights about the characteristics of Indigenous owner–managers, including their number, geographic distribution, gender composition, industrial sectors, and whether they are running incorporated or unincorporated enterprises. The recent growth in Indigenous owner–managers is almost entirely in urban areas and cities where well-developed and diverse labour and product markets operate. The paper explores some of the key factors that are impacting on Indigenous business development, including issues about the economics of discrimination and remoteness. The paper also outlines policy implications that arise from the analysis. We reflect on further refinements of the Indigenous Procurement Policy, the recently announced Indigenous Business Sector Strategy and other policy options.

Citation

Ongoing Growth in the number of Indigenous Australians in business. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/328575842_Ongoing_Growth_in_the_number_of_Indigenous_Australians_in_business [accessed Dec 10 2018].

Healing Our Future: Indigenous Wealth Building for Seven Generations

Producer
Native Governance Center
Year

What does an Indigenous approach to wealth look like? How can Indigenous wealth concepts help us heal our future? What are examples of wealth building happening in Indigenous communities?

Native Governance Center's Indigenous Peoples' Day 2021 event, "Healing our future: Indigenous wealth building for seven generations," provides viewers with an overview of Indigenous wealth concepts and a deep dive into how Indigenous people are building wealth in their communities. It also explores how Indigenous ideas about wealth can help all of us heal for the next seven generations. The event features stories from three Indigenous wealth building leaders: Dallas Nelson, Tasha Peltier, and Dani Pieratos.

Citation

Native Governance Center. Healing Our Future: Indigenous Wealth Building for Seven Generations. Oct. 12, 2021. Youtube video. Accessed Apr. 28, 2023. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mMswM6rzo84

Transcripts for all videos are available by request. Please email us: nni@arizona.edu.

Business Enterprises Toolbox

Year

What do successful businesses and economic development look like in a Native nation? Find out with case studies and research reports on successful and awarded efforts from around the world. Understand how to build and implement business codes, launch your own Limited Liability Company (LLC) and a Federally-Chartered Section 17 Corporation. Read step-by-step examples of codes, charters and by-laws that various Native nations have used to structure their businesses. Explore the breadth and diversity of award winning and internationally recognized programs built and managed by Native nations. Bring lessons to life with beautiful and innovative examples curated through Google Cultural Institute online exhibits. This easy-to-use tool supplies narrated videos, viewing notes, maps, and carefully selected online exhibitions to share the stories of successful business enterprise and programs.

Resource Type
Citation

Business Enterprises Toolbox. 2020. The Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development and Native Nations Institute. https://sites.google.com/view/businessenterprisestoolbox. The Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development. Retrieved on March 14, 2023.

Model Tribal Secured Transactions Act

Year

The Model Tribal Secured Transactions Act (MTSTA) is based on the Uniform Commercial Code's (UCC) Article 9 and provides a legal framework for promotion of private business via secured transactions. A secured transaction occurs when a loan is issued and personal property, not real estate, is used as collateral.  The MTSTA is an important and infuential piece of legislation which supports the growth of entrepreneurship by providing an effective method for financing and securing business transactions.

Citation

National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (2005).  Model Tribal Secured Transactions Act. National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws. Chicago, IL.

Jason Mika: Maori Governance and Maori Economy

Producer
Native Nations Institute
Year

Jason is a Fulbright scholar in the US from August 2019 to January 2020 visiting the Native Nations Institute (Aug-Oct) at the University of Arizona and the Woods Institute for Environmental Policy at Stanford University (Oct-Jan). Jason is an Indigenous entrepreneurship researcher from Massey University’s School of Management in Aotearoa New Zealand. Jason completed his PhD in Māori entrepreneurship in 2015. Jason’s research interest centers on how Indigenous entrepreneurs balance cultural and commercial imperatives in multiple sites, sectors and scales, including marine economies, agribusiness, tourism, regional and national economies. In this short NNI interview he gave his insights on the ways Māori Governance works with their economies and the differences he noticed between the Native nations making economies work in the United States and Māori economies.

People
Native Nations
Resource Type
Citation

Native Nations Institute. "Jason Mika: Maori Governance and Maori Economy" Native Nations Instititue, University of Arizona. Tucson, Arizona. August 7, 2020.

Transcript available upon request. Please email: nni@email.arizona.edu

Borrego Springs Bank of the Viejas Band

Year

The first American Indian-owned bank in California, the Borrego Springs Bank (BSB) offers a full range of services to tribal governments and Native-owned businesses in order to facilitate the entrepreneurial growth of American Indian tribes. With more than $74 million in assets and two full service branches, BSB’s services include credit counseling, funds management assistance, Indian gaming services, and business loans. The bank also works with other financial and governmental entities to improve Indians’ access to financial services.

Resource Type
Citation

"Bringing Financial and Business Expertise to Tribes". Honoring Nations: 2002 Honoree. The Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Cambridge, Massachusetts. 2003. Report. 

Permissions

This Honoring Nations report is featured on the Indigenous Governance Database with the permission of the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development.

ONABEN: A Native American Business and Entrepreneurial Network

Year

Founded by a consortium of Native nations in the Pacific Northwest, ONABEN's mission is to increase self-reliance by promoting the development of tribal-citizen-owned small businesses and the diversification of reservation economies. ONABEN's programs provide financial counseling, business mentoring, links to tribal efforts, referrals to start-up financing, and access to a network of experienced teachers and business people. As the ONABEN network continues to grow, its enormous value to both tribal citizens and its member nations grows as well.

Resource Type
Citation

"ONABEN: A Native American Business and Entrepreneurial Network." Honoring Nations: 2005 Honoree. Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Cambridge, Massachusetts. 2006. Report.

Permissions

This Honoring Nations report is featured on the Indigenous Governance Database with the permission of the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development.

Good Native Governance Plenary 2: The Cutting Edge of Economic Development in Indian Country

Producer
UCLA School of Law
Year

UCLA School of Law "Good Native Governance" conference presenters, panelists and participants Miriam Jorgensen, Robert Miller, and Sherry Salway Black discuss economic research in Indian Country.

This video resource is featured on the Indigenous Governance Database with the permission of the UCLA American Indian Studies Center.

Native Nations
Resource Type
Citation

Jorgensen, Miriam. "The Cutting Edge of Economic Development in Indian Country." Good Native Governance: Innovative Research in Law, Education, and Economic Development Conference. University of California Los Angeles School of Law, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, March 7, 2014. Presentation.

Miller, Robert. "The Cutting Edge of Economic Development in Indian Country." Good Native Governance: Innovative Research in Law, Education, and Economic Development Conference. University of California Los Angeles School of Law, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, March 7, 2014. Presentation.

Salway Black, Sherry. "The Cutting Edge of Economic Development in Indian Country." Good Native Governance: Innovative Research in Law, Education, and Economic Development Conference. University of California Los Angeles School of Law, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, March 7, 2014. Presentation.

Honoring Nations: Lee Sprague: Migizi Business Camp

Producer
Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development
Year

Lee Sprague (Little River Band of Ottawa Indians) presents an overview of the Migizi Business Camp to the Honoring Nations Board of Governors in conjunction with the 2005 Honoring Nations Awards.

People
Resource Type
Citation

Sprague, Lee. "Migizi Business Camp." Honoring Nations Awards event. Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Tulsa, Oklahoma. November 1, 2005. Presentation.

Lee Sprague:

"[Native language]. My name is Lee Sprague. I'm the [Native language] for the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians and we're deeply honored to be here before you today and I want to thank the board for being one of the finalists. And I want to thank everyone in the audience for honoring all the program finalists by your presence here today.

One of the things that's been very important -- we've been fractured as a community for over 150 years. The federal government said that we were not a nation of people. In 1994, we got positive affirmation by the U.S. Congress that they reaffirmed that relationship. And so we've been left with the task of developing our whole tribal nation as a community almost from scratch. In many ways, there were strong elements of our community that existed but one of the things that our tribal council and our elders knew that was important was the investment in our tribal youth, because they're the ones that have probably suffered the most in terms of being in a world that was new to them in terms of this new relationship with the federal government, but having also being the end-recipients of this long fractured relationship and the fracturing of our nation. And in bringing us back together, we knew it was critically important that we focus on our tribal youth and on economic skills, because that's the fluency that we know that we needed to have in addition to our cultural fluency, our language; that the economic fluency that our young children needed to have to be a part of that growing of our nation, the strength of our nation was critical. And the tribal council has been very generous with their support in funding this program. And we have a tribal council member here, Norbert Kelsey, and also one of our tribal elders, Marge Lutz, right back here taking photographs for us. So without their continued support and understanding of the things that we needed to do, it would be very hard to be here today before you. We've had...basically the Migizi Business Camp is teaching entrepreneurial skills to our youth and when I realize what I know that they know now and what I didn't know until I was into my late 20s, it's amazing. And that's how I know as leaders that we're doing something positive when our children know about stuff that we didn't know until we were older. And so each one of these young people up here is fluent in entrepreneurial language, and they are going to be the future leaders, not only of our nation but of our part of the world in the Great Lakes. And I'm looking forward to that day, because I will know that the hard work the council and elders and I've put into this and just being supportive and planting that seed. And in planting that seed there's three critical people that were essential to making this program highly effective. We have Yvonne Parson, who is our Education Program Coordinator, Yvonne. We also have Bridgette Cole who's our Education and Youth Services Director. And Florence Stickney, who is the faculty for the Business School at San Francisco State University and also the Director for the Center for Small Business, and who I first started my own self, I was in my 30s, learning the skills that these young kids know now, at San Francisco State, not that long ago, so I know what she's capable of. So with that we have a small video we'd like to share with you just to give you a taste of what we're talking about..."

"...I just have one more comment to state about just my own personal satisfaction is that I grew up as a...I used to be a little Indian kid a long time ago and I'm a small businessman or a tall businessman, but to see...the most impressive thing to me was to see these kids, maybe the first day of camp a little slow, second day they're getting with it but by the third day every single one of them is self-motivated to move forward with their business projects. And to see a group of young Indian people have an internal motivation to excel and keeping us awake late at nighttime because they want the information and they're asking us the kind of tough questions that we have to get the answers to or at least work with them so they can find the answers themselves. That's been the most satisfying, is to see these young kids develop that internal motivation and move forward, and it's something I didn't see a lot as a young kid growing up, something I'm very proud of being able to achieve with this Migizi Business Camp. Thanks."

Amy Besaw:

"Questions from the board?"

Brian C. McK. Henderson:

"Can I please get an invitation to go to camp? I would..."

Lee Sprague:

"You're invited next year. We're always bringing in outside experts from business fields."

Brian C. McK. Henderson:

"Okay. I wish I had had that opportunity, but financial and economic literacy, business literacy is very important and it's one of those things that is really lacking across Indian Country, so congratulations on the effort. And if I may, I'm going to break a little bit probably with our time constraint, Amy, if you allow me. I'm really curious to hear from each of the students, each of the youngsters up there who are very courageous and have done a tremendous job and have traveled a long way maybe to just give us a sense of what, after you've had this experience what do you want to do, what do you see next as, just a very brief statement of your own interest, what sparked your interest in the camp, and what do you want to each look forward to doing in the future?"

Raquel Cole:

"Hi, I'm Raquel Cole. Well, like camp, it helps me with a lot of things like I said in the video. It helps me with classes. In math class there's certain things you can do better. I did forensics which is public speaking this year and the camp, like I did sales, and doing the sales in the camp, it helped me out a lot because I had to write a whole speech and I had to memorize it and it was kind of, made you nervous but I kind of had more of a sense of what I was looking for to do, like what people and judges would look for. And I did fairly well in forensics and it helped me out a lot."

Buddy:

"Good morning. My name is Buddy...The past business camps I've been to for the past three years helped me out a lot in school. I have an Introduction to Business class this year and the program has helped me a lot in school with the programs like we did for the past three years have helped me in school with my schoolwork and just every day life watching people do their businesses and what I've learned. It just helped me out a lot and I plan to go on with this business career and school and just business helped me out a lot. That's something I actually do, so the program has been great. And that's all, thank you."

Amber Shepherd:

"My name is Amber Shepherd and I think the business camp is really helpful because it really advances you because when you go to college you know a lot more than most other people and you get a glimpse at what you might want to do, if you want to be your own business owner or work for another employer. And since I've been to business camp I think I want to start my own business and now I know more of what I need to do and how to start it. Thanks."

Brett:

"I'm Brett and this was my second year and I'm looking forward to go for a third one. It's hard, but it's fun."

Lee Sprague:

"One of the most fascinating parts we get to observe is when the kids start this process they start sort of negotiating with each other, partnerships are formed, corporations are formed, single business people might do business with another, and we try and stay out of that because they'll figure it out, and so just to watch them go through that process alone understanding that you need other people and the negotiating skills that we play where they're each given a bag of items and they have to negotiate prices and not just monetary prices. So that human interaction which really business is, it's so neat to watch that play out. And one of the things that they're not telling you is that they are...the kids that have been through this program, it's nice to see that some of the kids that have been two and three years now really working with the younger ones there. They're almost stepping into the role of being the teachers and it's almost self-perpetuating on its own terms at that point. And I really...we're looking at some future leaders here in the business world."

JoAnn Chase:

"I have one additional question. First of all, congratulations on a really fantastic program and I was excited in reading about your program that there are some discussions underway now of expanding the program to at least initially some of the other Great Lakes area tribes, and I was wondering if you might just comment or update us a bit if you've moved forward, if the plans have been formalized in any way or where you might be in terms of providing some services to other tribal communities and areas."

Lee Sprague:

"Well, our kids of course live and go to school with other kids from other tribes in the area and some people are aware of this and we've been looking at this, a way of doing this, and this actually goes back to Florence who had actually done this program as a stand-alone in Haskell and Browning, Montana, and up in Alaska and I was involved on a very small part at that point. So I knew that, what the potential this had, and that with the support of our tribal council at Little River Band we were able to find a home for it and to kind of tweak it over the years. We'd actually like to expand it. We're looking at maybe taking it on the road. We're looking for a permanent facility possibly and we have some negotiations going on with an old Forest Service nursery campsite that might serve as a good location for an ongoing camp two or three different sessions. And actually we'd need to get some adults in there, too, because I tell you these guys can run circles around me as a 35-year-old and probably me as a person here real, real quick. So we want to look at ways that we can fine-tune this program with other tribes. We've included a language component in the past in our program, we've included cultural components and we think that we can work with another tribe in putting together those kinds of elements and then bringing in not only their local tribal leaders, but also local business leaders in that community. The judges in our...at our business plan competition are the local bankers, the local service corps of retired executives, the local Chamber of Commerce people, the Junior Achievement people. They're the ones that come in and evaluate these plans and so we think that by bringing those elements together in another community and working with that local community to...'Here's what you need to do basically. Here's how we did it at Little River Band and here's how you can do it at your place.' Put it into kind of like a booklet to that extent and bring all those elements together and it really does foster positive relationships between the tribe and the local communities we think, knowing that we have the same interest and are going to be successful in business opportunities."