Indigenous-owned businesses booming, Statistics Canada reports

Indigenous-owned businesses booming, Statistics Canada reports


A report showing that in 2020, gross domestic product created by Indigenous people in the country was $48.9 billion was just released by Statistics Canada and Indigenous Services Canada.

This represents a $7 billion increase since 2012.

“It’s a real shift in business,” said Kitsaki Management CEO Ron Hyggen. “I think people are really recognizing the importance of Indigenous and inclusive ownership overall.”

Kitsaki is making a breakthrough in the Canadian business industry.

An Indigenous-based Saskatoon company operating since 1981, Kitsaki has invested in the Canadian tech company Plato, the only majority-owned Indigenous software technology and service provider in the country.

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“A lot of First Nation groups like us, Indigenous groups like us, we’ve been regionally focused for a long time. So, this is now a step into the national focus, the national picture where we’ve wanted to move for the last 41 years,” said Hyggen.

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The report also showed that 6.5 per cent of businesses with majority Indigenous ownership plan to expand in the next year.

Despite the past year’s challenges with inflation and labour shortages, many in the private business sector reported that they have an optimistic outlook for the next 12 months.

Saskatoon Indigenous artist Terri Lavalee of Northern Lights Beadwork and Clothing is looking to expand her business in 2023.

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She says she started beading 13 years ago to support her family.

“After I had my third child, she is disabled, I was no longer able to work,” said Lavalee. “I needed to supplement our income because we weren’t making it.”

Her specialty is modernizing traditional Indigenous jewelry.

“If I couldn’t do this, I don’t think I would be doing as well as I am,” she said. “I’m not loaded or anything,” she laughed,” but I can pay my bills and get my car fixed and stuff like that.”

She said that someday she would like to own her own storefront.

“I have a little support network,” Lavalee explained, saying that she has many Indigenous friends who are starting their small business entrepreneur journey.

“It’s so nice to go to vendor events and have like-minded people there. I am not the only one,” she said.

The full report can be found at Indigenous-owned businesses in Canada: confronting challenges, forecasting growth – Statistics Canada (

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