Shopify has partnered with four Indigenous-led organizations to explore approaches to Indigenous entrepreneurship education and learn how Shopify’s platform can better meet the needs of Indigenous entrepreneurs globally.
Shopify said this is part of the company’s plans to build a “global support system” for Indigenous entrepreneurs.
Two of the partner organizations are from Canada, while the other two are from New Zealand. Through this new initiative, Shopify plans to co-create “locally and culturally relevant” e-commerce education and provide participants in their communities with free access to its platform for six-months. Shopify will also provide its partners with financial contributions to support their programs, the e-commerce company did not disclose the amount of capital it plans to commit to the program.
Shopify noted in a statement that this latest initiative is part of the company’s plans to build a “global support system” for Indigenous entrepreneurs, and aims to help more Indigenous businesses move online.
EntrepreNorth, one of the Canadian organizations participating in the new initiative, assists Indigenous and community-based entrepreneurs in building businesses across Northern Canada, serving early-stage entrepreneurs in Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and Yukon.
“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,” said Benjamin Scott, project director of EntrepreNorth. “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.”
Raven Indigenous Capital Partners, the other Canadian partner, is an Indigenous-led and -owned social finance intermediary. The firm, based in Vancouver, focuses on impact investing to support the Indigenous economy. Raven Indigenous Capital participated in Calgary-based Virtual Gurus’ $1.2 million financing round in February.
“Raven Capital is excited to have Shopify as a partner through its hub support model,” said Jeff Cyr, managing partner of Raven Indigenous Capital Partners. “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.”
The two other Indigenous organizations Shopify is partnering with are Rise2025, a New Zealand-based coaching and leadership movement focused on Indigenous women, and Te Whare Hukahuka, a group of New Zealand-based social entrepreneurs.
Image source EntrepreNorth via Facebook.