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Can Entrepreneurship Play a Role in Social Justice?
from Bridge Magazine, Winter 2023 Edition

Entrepreneurship 12 and Social Justice 12 students collaborate to explore how Indigenous enterprises can contribute to Truth and Reconciliation.

Last fall, Entrepreneurship 12 students engaged in an innovative, real-world project that focused on Indigenous enterprises. 

Students had the opportunity to choose from one of two Indigenous organization cases to address a specific business issue discussed during a client briefing. The first case involved developing strategies to increase sales for artistic mason bee refuges made by Indigenous young adults through a joint project between North Vancouver-based Spirit Works and the Squamish Nation Trades and Training Centre. The second case focussed on developing a marketing strategy for Indigenous medicinal salves and teas made by Splitrock Environmental in Lillooet. Both organizations were adamant that potential business strategies must align with their Indigenous values and contribute positively to Truth and Reconciliation efforts. 

These unique business challenges led to some critical questions. What role does Indigenous enterprise play in redressing historical injustice? What role does entrepreneurship play in Indigenous resurgence? To help work through these questions, Social Justice 12 students were engaged to collaborate with teams as consultants and help provide a social justice lens to their work and try to ensure the business strategies reflected an understanding of our history, laws and current social justice thinking.

We wanted to explore whether Indigenous economic sovereignty could be a force for amending historical injustice. We looked at the benefits and limitations of official apologies, reparations and financial settlements. Indigenous entrepreneurship offers a path toward economic independence separate from the government and links with self-governance as an expression of personal, financial and political sovereignty.
- Student Reflection

This innovative, real-world project culminated with the top five strategies being presented to a panel of judges. These judges included Geena Jackson, a member of the Frog Clan of the Sechelt Nation with 20 years of experience in business development and the creator and producer of the Bears’ Lair and Kristin Kozubak, a business consultant and communications manager. The panel also included Collingwood’s Martin Jones, Chris Jacoby and Morgan McLaughlin.

Read the full Bridge, Winter 2023 edition here

  • Business
  • Social Studies