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Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business releases Comprehesive Research Study on Aboriginal Business in Ontario



TORONTO, ON (04-08-14) The Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB) today released an extensive and comprehensive report conducted on Aboriginal Business, titled Promise and Prosperity: Ontario Aboriginal Business SurveyResearch Report Spring 2014 (ABS).

While there is considerable data available for Canadian – and Ontario – business owners generally, relatively little is known about Aboriginal entrepreneurs, in terms of who they are, what their experiences have been and what they need for future growth and success.

Aboriginal Peoples and communities are increasingly turning to economic development to improve quality of life and build a brighter future for their community members. In Ontario alone there are close to 9,000 First Nations, Inuit and Métis people who have their own businesses, according to the 2006 Census.

JP Gladu, CCAB President and CEO stated, “This survey is a vital link in our continuing commitment to building the bridge between Corporate Business Canada and Aboriginal Business.  We need to embrace our own statistics to serve our business community and accurately inform potential markets and partnerships.  This survey is the voice of our business community reflecting their challenges, successes and potential.”

Aboriginal business owners in Ontario are largely positive about what they have achieved to date and optimistic about their future. Aboriginal businesses in Ontario tend to be small, typically unincorporated and without employees, and most with sales revenues of $100,000 or less. Nonetheless, they demonstrate diversity in terms of the markets (local, other parts of Canada and even internationally) and clients (consumers, private sector and governments) that they access.

They are also achieving success, in terms of profitability and growth but also in light of the personal goals they have set for themselves. Three-quarters are confident they will still be running their business in five years’ time.

“We’re proud to have provided support to CCAB for this significant research project,” said David Zimmer, Ontario’s Minister of Aboriginal Affairs. “The Aboriginal Business Survey provides valuable insight that will guide our efforts to support First Nations, Inuit and Métis people in starting and growing their own business.”

Consistent with the findings of the 2011 national Aboriginal Business Survey, the Ontario results also suggest that having a business plan and introducing innovation into a business (through processes or products) is linked to success.  One in three Aboriginal businesses in Ontario creates jobs for others, and particularly for other Aboriginal people. Attracting and retaining skilled workers is identified as a top obstacle to growth, and the challenge of finding qualified Aboriginal employees increases as firms grow in size.

Larger businesses appear to benefit from greater access to loans or lines of credit from financial institutions, while lack of collateral is a barrier particularly for smaller businesses and younger entrepreneurs.

Consistent with the broader trend, younger Aboriginal entrepreneurs are more apt to be using the Internet and social media – meaning these tools will become increasingly important in the Aboriginal business landscape.

This report presents the results of a survey conducted with 329 First Nations (on- and off-reserve), Inuit and Métis business owners in Ontario, from September 30 to December 6, 2013. The research was undertaken as collaboration between CCAB and Environics Research Group, one of Canada’s leading public opinion research firms and the organization that conducted Promise and Prosperity: The Aboriginal Business Survey (published in 2011).

For further information please contact:

Paul-Emile McNab
Research Coordinator
Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business
1 (416) 961-8663 x 230


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