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Director, Research & Government Relations
Aboriginal self-employment is on the rise. According to the 2006 Census, there are more than 37,000 First Nations, Métis and Inuit persons in Canada who have their own businesses, a significant increase of 85 percent since 1996.
Ninety-eight percent of all businesses in Canada are classified as small businesses (under 100 employees), and these small businesses employ half of the total labour force in the private sector. Like other small businesses across Canada, Aboriginal businesses create employment, economic prosperity and social well-being. The development of viable business opportunities is essential to the future prosperity of Aboriginal peoples, and for improving Aboriginal employment prospects, especially for the growing number of young Aboriginal job-seekers entering the labour market.
Yet, there is relatively little current information available on Aboriginal business owners.The last comprehensive study of Aboriginal businesses was conducted by Statistics Canada and Aboriginal Business Canada nearly a decade ago (2002).
The Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB) embarked upon the 2011 Aboriginal Business Survey (ABS) to address this knowledge gap and contribute to the understanding of the opportunities and challenges faced by Aboriginal businesses.
The ABS is a timely exploration of this growing business community. Our research seeks to deepen our understanding of privately-owned Aboriginal businesses, their goals and strategies, and to identify the key factors that contribute to growth. The CCAB’s goal is to widely communicate the research findings, so they can be used by Aboriginal people, businesses and communities, as well as by the mainstream business community and governments, to develop new tools and practices that fully realize the potential of Aboriginal small business in Canada.
The 2011 ABS provides both demographic information, as well as insights into corporate governance, markets, competitive advantage and size of business (including number of employees and the number of Aboriginal employees). The research also examines trends in business growth (profitability, business income growth, financing, and obstacles to growth), use of private capital and government programs and Aboriginal business owners’ perceptions of federal government Procurement Strategy for Aboriginal Business (PSAB) criteria.