Bobbie Racette Q&A
What do you find most interesting, exciting, or surprising about the future of economic partnerships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous businesses or organizations?
It’s exciting to think about the power of combining Indigenous approaches with best practices from businesses in a range of sectors. I think it’s something as a society that we are only now ready to start exploring and that we’ll continue to do more of as we move along the path of reconciliation.
What role do organizations like yours play in empowering Indigenous economies? What other support or changes (outside of your organization)?
We need to create safe and welcoming communities for aspiring Indigenous entrepreneurs. There are so many people from our communities who have incredible ideas and untapped potential but don’t know how to monetize their ideas. Sometimes all they need is someone to believe in them, give them a bit of guidance or point them in the right direction.
When we achieve a certain level of success, I think it’s our duty and privilege to make time to encourage the next generation, whether that’s through mentoring directly or sharing our lessons learned through larger communities and media platforms with broader reach.
If there was any advice you could provide Canadian businesses interested in (or in the beginning stages of) partnering with Indigenous communities, what would it be?
Learn about the culture to go in prepared to have the most productive and respectful experience. There are free courses about reconciliation you can take advantage of. And be open-minded. You’d be surprised at what you might get out of the meetings. Be open to learning, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Fast forward to the future, what would a successful Indigenous Economy look like?
True success would be seeing diversity and representation across all sectors. We’ll never have to stop talking about it in our lifetimes because we have a long way to go on diversity. But I can see movement, supported by initiatives like the Fireweed Fellowship accelerator program. We need to keep building more support infrastructure to fuel the momentum.