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What accessing capital looks like for Indigenous entrepreneurs – and how we can do better – Indigenomics Institute

From left to right: Chelsee Pettit, president and founder, aaniin retail inc.; Carol Anne Hilton, founder and CEO, Indigenomics Institute and the Global Centre of Indigenomics; Shannin Metatawabin, CEO, National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association; Zechariah James, social enterprises manager, Native Canadian Centre of Toronto; Dan Adams, vice-president, Indigenous Banking, BMO; Rebecca Tabobondung, director, Spirit of Health. ALYSON HARDWICK

One year after Chelsee Pettit launched aaniin retail inc., a brick-and-mortar Indigenous department store in downtown Toronto, she ran out of funds and had to close her physical location.

“We’ve been so hyper excluded from that [physical retail] market,” Pettit says. Her dream of maintaining a physical storefront full of Indigenous-owned brands was stopped short when more capital was needed, and aaniin was forced to pivot to an online-only model.

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