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Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business and Global Affairs Canada release Adàwe: Export Experiences of Indigenous Entrepreneurs report

October 19, 2023, Toronto, ON – Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB) and Global Affairs Canada (GAC) have partnered for a two-part report to better understand the experiences of Indigenous exporters, the challenges they face, and the potential of prosperity and growth they can achieve through trade.

Released today, the first report, Adàwe: Export Experiences of Indigenous Entrepreneurs, provides valuable insights on Indigenous exporters to inform the development of initiatives and policies, empowering the full potential of Indigenous business in Canada.

“This report provides an in-depth examination ofan area of Indigenous growth and opportunity that is often overlooked,” says Matthew Foss, CCAB vice president of research and public policy. “This focus on Indigenous export characteristics and trends will help support the equitable inclusion of Indigenous businesses, and the Canadian economy as a whole.”

CCAB and GAC conducted a national survey of 2,603 Indigenous businesses and case studies in three Indigenous communities. The findings revealed that only 7.2 per cent of Indigenous small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are engaged in export, compared to the Canadian SME average of 12.1 per cent.

Other Findings:

  • Indigenous SMEs that do export are more likely to be women-owned. Majority women-owned Indigenous businesses represent 39.3% of all Indigenous exporters, which is over double the percentage of women-owned exporters among all Canadian SMEs (14.5%).
  • Remoteness is a major factor that is negatively associated with exporting. Firms in remote areas are associated with having a 65% reduction in their odds of exporting.
  • Virtual sales are a prominent factor empowering firms to export: firms that offer virtual sales have six times higher odds of exporting compared to firms without virtual sales.

“Indigenous entrepreneurs make incredible contributions every day to Canada’s diverse export landscape,” said Mary Ng, Minister of Export Promotion, International Trade and Economic Development. “Our dedication to inclusive trade, and this report will help to better understand the experiences of Indigenous-led businesses as we continue to support and promote their success on the international stage.”

While the first report identifies the exporting activity, business characteristics, and trends of Indigenous businesses, the second report will identify the barriers and challenges that Indigenous businesses and exporters experience.

This report written, and surveys were conducted by CCAB and the Office of the Chief Economist of Global Affairs Canada and funded by GAC.

Adàwe is an Algonquin word that means “to trade” or “exchange”. Within Canada there are many Indigenous languages, and one word cannot capture it all, though we use the Algonquin word to honour that Indigenous trade has existed from time immemorial.

Read the full report here.


About Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business:

CCAB is committed to the full participation of Indigenous peoples in Canada’s economy. As a national, non-partisan association, its mission is to promote, strengthen and enhance a prosperous Indigenous economy through the fostering of business relationships, opportunities, and awareness. CCAB offers knowledge, resources, and programs to its members to cultivate economic opportunities for Indigenous peoples and businesses across Canada. For more information, visit www.ccab.com

About Global Affairs Canada:

The Office of the Chief Economist at Global Affairs Canada (GAC) is comprised of a team of economists who research and advise on international commerce topics for the benefit of Canadians. The team provides advice to policymakers and research on current issues such as:

  • Supply chains
  • Inclusive trade
  • Impacts of trade agreements
  • Foreign direct investment
  • Performance of Canadian exporting firms

The Office of the Chief Economist supports GAC’s inclusive trade mandate to ensure that the benefits of trade flow to all segments of society. Our inclusive trade research evaluates impacts of trade on traditionally underrepresented groups such as women, Indigenous Peoples, and racialized people. This includes understanding the export activities of Indigenous entrepreneurs and the challenges they face. Our work informs GAC trade policies, including the negotiations of free trade agreements, as well as our Trade Commissioner Service programs which help Canadian businesses succeed in international markets.

Media contacts:

Alannah Jabokwoam
Sr. Associate, Communications
Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business
ajabokwoam@ccab.com | 416-961-8663 ext. 227