The Indigenous Innovation Initiative was designed to address the gendered and racialized barriers to economic participation. This includes:
- Access to capital: In partnership with donors, philanthropists and impact investors, we address the resource gaps and investment needs of innovators
- Building capacity: Together with a network of collaborative partners, we support innovators with the Knowledges, skills and tools they need to succeed
- Cultivating networks: As they are ready, we connect innovators to a meaningful ecosystem of relationships and opportunities that increase their social capital
- Driving interest: Successes are celebrated as we share innovators’ stories of hope, possibility and impact, which model and inspire the next generation of Indigenous innovation
Indigenous innovators can apply for seed funding of $100,000 to $250,000 to support the development and testing of their bold ideas. Applications from all sectors and industries are considered, including but not limited to: health, social, arts and fashion, technology, science, business, industry, food security, hospitality and tourism, education, justice, environment and clean energy.
Indigenous innovators are businesses, organizations, social enterprises, or groups that are developing innovative products, programs, or services. Indigenous social innovators offer sustainable solutions to address the challenges they see in their communities.
To apply for this funding, applicants must:
Be culturally safe and inspire their ongoing use
Have a strong likelihood of achieving a long-term and sustainable impact in urban, rural, remote and Northern First Nation, Inuit and/or Metis communities
Have the potential to be scalable or adaptable to other Indigenous community settings
Be open to monitoring, measuring, and evaluating their innovation projects to create knowledge and learnings that can be applied within the Indigenous innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem
Statement on Indigenous identity
The purpose of the Indigenous Innovation Initiative is to support innovation and social impact that is led by and/or created by Indigenous Peoples. We believe in an inclusive approach to Indigenous identity, and that things like past and ongoing colonial policies and the impact of racism have contributed to many Indigenous Peoples, communities and groups being exclusively targeted or outright excluded by various programs.
It is our intention to be thoughtful about access to our programs and opportunities and to make sure we demonstrate accountability to our communities. This includes being transparent about where each project is from and how it will make a positive impact for Indigenous groups, inclusive of First Nations, Inuit and Metis Peoples. We recognize that not everyone is “registered” with their respective Indigenous governance organization. We will work to support innovation by and for status and non-status First Nations, registered and unregistered Metis and those who are and are not beneficiaries of their Inuit Land Claims Organization, no matter their gender, sexuality, experiences or gifts, and respecting the variety of ways an Indigenous community might be identified.
Successful applicants to our programs and opportunities will be asked to demonstrate their connections to Indigenous identity and community. This could include a copy of your “registration” and/or a letter of support from your governance organization (e.g., Band office) and/or a letter of nomination from an Indigenous community organization or group, and/or other relevant evidence of your connection.
We support innovative and scalable Indigenous-led ideas for impact. We realize that supporting Indigenous innovation development is about more than just increasing access to capital – it is also about wrapping knowledge, networks and supports around innovators and entrepreneurs so they have the best chance possible to reach their full potential. Supporting outcomes that matter most to First Nation, Inuit and Metis peoples in Canada, we align our work with the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals.
Indigenous innovation has the potential to catalyze and transform Indigenous economic and social realities, and supporting First Nation, Inuit and Metis Peoples and communities who are closest to the most complex challenges in society today to develop and test Bold Ideas for Big Impact® will be a game changer. Together we will be able to take action towards creating a more inclusive economic ecosystem for First Nation, Inuit and Metis innovators and entrepreneurs – for today and our future.