The first in-depth research in a decade shows Aboriginal small business owners across Canada are growing in numbers and experiencing widespread success in terms of profitability and growth but also in ways that go beyond the bottom line. A project of the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB), the research was conducted by Environics and supported by CERIC.
The number of Aboriginal business owners and entrepreneurs is growing at five times the rate of self-employed Canadians overall. According to CCAB’s research, titled Promise and Prosperity: The Aboriginal Business Survey, Aboriginal businesses are diverse, and are not limited to any one region, industry sector or market.
With the last comprehensive study of Aboriginal businesses conducted by Statistics Canada and Aboriginal Business Canada in 2002, CCAB embarked upon the 2011 Aboriginal Business Survey (ABS) to close this knowledge gap, and contribute to the understanding of the opportunities and challenges faced by Aboriginal businesses. The report is a timely exploration – based on telephone interviews with 1,095 First Nations, Métis and Inuit small business owners (defined as those with 100 employees or less) – of their goals and strategies, and the key factors that contribute to their growth.
The report’s key findings include:
- The number of Aboriginal business owners and entrepreneurs is growing at a rate that far exceeds that of self-employed Canadians overall.
- Aboriginal businesses are diverse, and are not limited to any one region, industry sector, or market.
- Aboriginal small business owners are succeeding, in terms of profitability and growth but also in ways that go beyond the bottom line.
- Successful Aboriginal small businesses are distinguished by their use of annual business plans and innovation.
- Aboriginal small businesses create jobs for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people alike.
- Aboriginal entrepreneurs rely primarily on their own resources for both start-up and ongoing financing, and access to financing is considered one obstacle to growth.
- Despite the challenges of small business ownership, there is widespread confidence about the future.