Shopify believes in making commerce better for everyone, including reducing the barriers to starting a business and supporting more voices in entrepreneurship. For centuries, Indigenous peoples have confronted systemic racism and injustices, institutionally and otherwise.
Over the last year, the company has been developing plans to build a global support system for Indigenous entrepreneurs, with the goal of enabling more Indigenous businesses to move online in 2020.
To realize this mission, Shopify has partnered with Indigenous-led organizations in Turtle Island (Canada) and Aotearoa (New Zealand), including Raven Indigenous Capital Partners, EntrepreNorth, Te Whare Hukahuka, and Rise2025.
Together with its partners, Shopify will co-create locally and culturally relevant ecommerce education and provide participants in their communities with free access to its platform for 6-months.
Shopify To Provide Financial Contribution To Support Indigenous Programs
In addition, Shopify will provide partners with financial contributions to support the scale of their programs. Each organization will also receive ongoing support from Shopify’s Global Indigenous Ambassador, Inez White, Te Arawa.
The company will unite these organizations to share knowledge and explore different approaches to Indigenous entrepreneurship education, while also learning how its platform can better meet the needs of Indigenous entrepreneurs globally.
“Through our Indigenous entrepreneurship partners, we believe we can support economic independence and well-being of Indigenous communities,” said Jace Meyer, Lead for Indigenous Entrepreneurs at Shopify, Métis. “We understand the responsibility of our role in helping create a more equitable future for Indigenous people, and that starts by partnering with Indigenous-led organizations to co-create a support system for Indigenous entrepreneurs worldwide.”
Shopify Indigenous Partners Reactions
All of Shopify’s partners have demonstrated a longstanding impact in their respective communities.
EntrepreNorth empowers Indigenous and community-based entrepreneurs to build sustainable businesses and livelihoods across Northern Canada. EntrepreNorth delivers culturally-grounded business programming to early-stage entrepreneurs in the Northwest Territories, Nunavut and the Yukon who are ready to elevate their business and community impact.
“This is a significant and timely partnership that will support our efforts to empower entrepreneurs in Northern communities to grow online business startups and sales. Taking a business online offers a powerful opportunity to connect with customers from around the world who care about supporting locally-made products with meaningful origin stories.” – Benjamin Scott, Project Director, EntrepreNorth
Rise2025 is a New Zealand based global coaching and leadership movement with a vision to positively impact 100,000 Indigenous women by 2025. Their HIWA programme for Māori and Pacific women focuses on coaching and mentoring participants through a journey of self-development and self-discovery to an online ecommerce store presence.
“Rise2025 is an Indigenous Women-owned and led business. Wāhine or women are the magic ingredient in our HIWA program. We know when Indigenous Wāhine work together for the betterment of each other and their families we transform lives and business. Coaching from internationally trained women who all have businesses, combined with Shopify’s ecommerce expertise is our secret recipe for success. HIWA is for all Indigenous women, join us!” – Rachel Petero, Founder, Rise2025
Te Whare Hukahuka is a group of New Zealand-based social entrepreneurs passionate about using innovation as a way to positively impact the lives of Indigenous people. Te Whare Hukahuka is helping their Indigenous community leaders to develop their capability and grow world-class enterprises, with a vision to improve the lives of 10 million Indigenous people.
“Our partnership with Shopify empowers our social enterprise to achieve our dream of improving the lives of 10 million Indigenous people. It enables rebellious thinkers to overcome the barriers Indigenous entrepreneurs face when starting in ecommerce. This is an incredible example of an innovative company doing the right thing around the globe and walking their talk! The world needs more of this right now!” – Travis O’Keefe, CEO & Co-Founder, Te Whare Hukahuka
Raven Indigenous Capital Partners is Canada’s first Indigenous-led and -owned social finance intermediary. Raven focuses on facilitating the flow of capital through impact investing to support the ongoing revitalization of the Indigenous economy. Raven builds relationships with Indigenous communities and entrepreneurs to drive sustainable change.
“Raven Capital is excited to have Shopify as a partner through its hub support model. We appreciate Shopify’s vision in seeing Raven’s Fireweed Fellowship, an Indigenous enterprise accelerator, as a key vehicle for building on the innovation of Indigenous people in Canada and helping to scale it. It’s great to see Shopify supporting Indigenous-led organizations and we hope our relationship continues to grow as ecommerce continues to grow, so we can continue to support more Indigenous entrepreneurs.” – Jeff Cyr, Managing Partner, Raven Indigenous Capital Partners
Shopify is headquartered in Ottawa, on unceded and still-occupied territory of the Algonquin Anishinaabe Nation. The company’s Sustainability Report explains Shopify’s long-term approach to supporting groups that face systemic barriers, including Indigenous peoples.
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