FUTURPRENEUR AND YOUTH BUSINESS INTERNATIONAL ANNOUNCE NEW PROGRAM TO SUPPORT YOUNG INDIGENOUS ENTREPRENEURS, SUPPORTED BY ACCENTURE
In collaboration with Indigenous community leaders and entrepreneurs, The OHPIKIWIN SERIES: Journey to financial empowerment will foster economic inclusion and resilience nationwide
Toronto, Canada – September 8, 2022 – Futurpreneur is pleased to announce the launch of an all-new informative series dedicated to the financial empowerment of young Indigenous aspiring entrepreneurs. Futurpreneur is a member of the Youth Business International (YBI) global network and the program is part of Accenture’s investment in a more equitable future through its Skills to Succeed initiative. On behalf of Futurpreneur, Indigenuity Consulting Group Inc., an Indigenous-owned company, will complete community engagement round-tables, surveys, and interviews to help guide Futurpreneur’s collaboration and work alongside various Indigenous communities, community members, elders, knowledge keepers, entrepreneurs and Indigenous led organizations to co-create the Ohpikiwin Series: Journey to financial empowerment. The Series will focus on Indigenous economic inclusion and resilience to assist aspiring entrepreneurs in developing their business financial capacity and entrepreneurship skills through an Indigenous worldview to foster Indigenous economic empowerment and prosperity.
“As part of our work helping diverse young entrepreneurs start and succeed, we are committed to creating inclusive resources that are empowering, informative, and community-focused. Ohpikiwin Series will be co-designed in collaboration with Indigenous community leaders and entrepreneurs and delivered in partnership with Youth Business International and Accenture as part of our Indigenous Entrepreneur Startup Program (IESP) to further drive economic inclusion and resilience of Indigenous communities,” said Karen Greve Young, CEO of Futurpreneur.
Greve Young added, “We recognize that young, Indigenous aspiring business owners disproportionally face systemic socio-economic barriers to success when seeking to start and grow a business. The Ohpikiwin Series will offer programming that is co-created with Indigenous subject matter experts in the community and led by a team with lived experience, so Indigenous youth can see themselves as entrepreneurs helping drive the economy and achieving economic self-determination.”
Commenting on the name of the series, Holly Atjecoutay, Director of Futurpreneur’s Indigenous Entrepreneur Startup Program explained that “Ohpikiwin means ‘growth’ in Cree,” which is one of many First Nation groups in Canada and she added, “it resonated with us for its meaning, which aligns with my team’s overarching goal to continue to grow the number of Indigenous-owned businesses started, and to foster Indigenous economic growth and resilience nationwide.”
Designed to guide entrepreneurs through the challenging startup process, Futurpreneur’s Indigenous Entrepreneur Startup Program provides qualifying participants with financing (up to $60,000), access to resources and workshops, and matches them with an experienced mentor for up to two years. Since Futurpreneur’s IESP team establishment in 2019, and in collaboration with National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association (NACCA) and their member Aboriginal Financial Institutions (AFIs), they have helped more than 100 young Indigenous entrepreneurs pursue their entrepreneurial dreams and launch businesses.
Indigenous youth are one of the largest demographic youth segments in Canada and an integral part of the nation’s economic development and growth. “Ensuring they are equipped with the skills and knowledge needed to identify a gap in the market, develop a viable business plan, and establish their small business is essential to the health and wellness of our future economies in myriad ways, including creating new jobs and providing services honouring Indigenous culture, history, values, and much more,” said Greve Young.
On a mission to strengthen the community of Indigenous entrepreneurs by arranging consultations with Indigenous leaders and entrepreneurs throughout the summer, Atjecoutay said, “The main goal of the Ohpikiwin Series: Journey to financial empowerment is to empower young Indigenous entrepreneurs and provide supports to foster the success and growth of Indigenous small businesses across the country, which we believe are the foundation of a strong Indigenous economy and will greatly bolster Indigenous economic development.”
“Accenture is passionate about advancing inclusion for Indigenous communities,” said Jeffrey Russell, president of Accenture in Canada. “The Indigenous business economy in Canada is highly entrepreneurial, but faces disproportionate barriers to entry. The Ohpikiwin Series will help address these hurdles and create pathways to success for Indigenous youth, supporting a more equitable future.”
With a commitment to further invest in Indigenous entrepreneurship, Youth Business International has pledged to share learnings with the wider YBI Network and youth entrepreneurship ecosystem to enhance diversity, equity and inclusion and improve outcomes for Indigenous entrepreneurs. “Inclusive entrepreneurship is at the forefront of YBI’s mission,” added Anita Tiessen, CEO of Youth Business International. “We are extremely proud to launch our first program specifically targeted at supporting young Indigenous entrepreneurs. We’re looking forward to working closely with our member Futurpreneur and our long-standing partner Accenture on this important program and will share learnings to drive cross-cutting benefits to our wider network, promoting resources, learnings and methods.”
If you’re an Indigenous aspiring entrepreneur in Canada, visit Futurpreneur’s website to learn more about the Ohpikiwin Series, our Indigenous Entrepreneur Startup Program and register for upcoming events: www.futurpreneur.ca/indigenous
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Youth Business International
Youth Business International is the global network for organisations supporting youth entrepreneurship. YBI supports young people around the world to start, grow and sustain businesses, leveraging entrepreneurship to create decent work and drive inclusive economic growth, whilst transforming livelihoods and strengthening communities. Our global network acts as a platform for members to exchange ideas, knowledge and insights, and to collaborate in a way that catalyzes entrepreneurs’ success and multiplies impact. When young people become entrepreneurs, they unlock income generation, job creation and economic growth. Yet for too many young people, starting a business feels out of reach, exclusive and unavailable to them. Our efforts are focused on disadvantaged young people, equipping them to build the skills, confidence and connections they need to beat the odds and become successful business owners. By operating at the crossroads of business and social development, we support the entrepreneurs that are shaping the future, working to solve some of the greatest challenges of our time, and creating opportunities – not just for themselves but for us all.
Founded in 1996, Futurpreneur drives inclusive prosperity by helping diverse, young entrepreneurs (ages 18-39) start and succeed. Futurpreneur is Canada’s only national, non-profit organization that offers financing, one-to-one mentorship and business resources to support aspiring founders launching and growing main street businesses across the country. Over its 26-year span, Futurpreneur has supported more than 16,500 diverse young entrepreneurs in launching over 13,000 businesses in every province and territory. These entrepreneurs are supported by a national network of 2,400 volunteer mentors. Diversity and Inclusion are core Futurpreneur values: More than 40% of Futurpreneur’s clients are women-led businesses and Futurpreneur has tailored programs for Black and Indigenous entrepreneurs, representing more than 20% of its supported entrepreneurs and led by teams with lived experience. Futurpreneur is headquartered in Toronto, with regional offices in nine of ten provinces. For more information, please visit Futurpreneur.ca.