4 Indigenous-Owned Brands to Watch in 2024

June is National Indigenous History Month in Canada, a time dedicated to reflecting on and celebrating the unique cultures, traditions, and experiences of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities across Canada. This month encourages us to honour the stories, achievements, and enduring resilience of Indigenous Peoples who have shaped this land for generations.  

In Canada, over 50,000 Indigenous-owned businesses contribute an impressive $48.9 billion annually to the nation’s economy. Despite this significant impact, Indigenous entrepreneurs  continue to face systemic barriers, including difficulties in scaling and accessing capital with 65% relying on personal savings to start a new business. The Indigenomics Institute estimates that with enhanced support from governments and corporations through more inclusive policies and business practices, the economic impact ofIndigenous entrepreneurs could skyrocket up to $100 billion annually. Let’s continue championing and supporting Indigenous-owned businesses–this month and all-year long.        

Our commitment 

Our commitment at Venture for Canada is to promote entrepreneurial skills and support businesses from underrepresented backgrounds so they can succeed in the entrepreneurial ecosystem and beyond. Here, we spotlight four Indigenous-owned businesses within the VFC community making significant impacts in 2024. These businesses embody the innovation, determination, and community spirit that characterize Canada’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. 

1. The Yukon Soaps Company 

About: The Yukon Soaps Company’s mission is to empower, nurture, and elevate Northern Indigenous cultures, communities, and people. They specialize in handcrafted soaps and bath products. Aptly named, this company is based in the Yukon Territory in Canada, using natural ingredients, sustainable practices, and Indigenous traditions. Founded by Joella Hogan, a member of the Northern Tutchone First Nation, Yukon Soaps creates beautiful products that reflect the cultural heritage and natural beauty of the region (e.g. rose petals and juniper berries). Beyond soaps, they also make bath bombs, body oils, and shampoo bars.  

Impact: Joella crafted her business as a community-building, language-learning, Earth-connecting hub in the heart of the Yukon. She does so by elevating Indigenous cultures, offering soap workshops, and has a business development program. They also hired entrepreneurial youth through our Intrapreneurship Program. 

Connect: Check out their handcrafted products and make sure to follow them on social media: 

IG: @yukonsoapscompany

FB: @theyukonsoapscompany

2. Racerocks 3D

About: RaceRocks 3D is a woman-led, Indigenous-owned, Canadian company whose mission is to change the face of the defence and aerospace training sectors. They specialize in creating immersive and interactive training solutions using advanced technologies such as virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and XR simulations (e.g. helicopter cockpit). By leveraging cutting-edge technology, RaceRocks 3D aims to provide realistic and effective training experiences that improve learning outcomes and operational efficiency. 

Impact: In 2020, they became a Certified Aboriginal Business by the Canadian Council of Aboriginal Business and in 2023, they created 8 Indigenous community support opportunities.  With our Intrapreneurship Program, students got to work on a part-time project for this innovative business. 

Connect: Check out their social impact and follow them on social media: 

IG: @racerocks3d

LI: RaceRocks

X: @racerocks3d

3. Spinning Forward 

About: Spinning Forward is an independent local news company that publishes a newsletter every two weeks. They focus on telling unique stories about the online economy from the perspective of racialized creators and communities in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). They provide in-depth, actionable news and insights, highlighting how Black, Indigenous, and people of colour (BIPOC) creators and communities impact the online space through their lived experiences. Key topics include the online racial pay gap, mental health, urban social issues, financial literacy and success, career paths, brand partnerships, and more. 📧

Impact: They’re tackling issues like burnout for content creators and how people of colour and marginalized creators can cope with negativity and online hate. They’ve also helped our students develop real-world entrepreneurial skills through our Intrapreneurship Program.    

Connect: Sign up for their newsletter and follow them on social media: 

IG: @spinningforward

LI: Spinning Forward

FB: @SpinningForward

X: @SpinningForw

4. Craft Council of Newfoundland & Labrador 

About: The Craft Council of Newfoundland and Labrador is a member-based organization dedicated to promoting and supporting the craft sector in…you guessed it Newfoundland and Labrador. The Council supports and promotes a high standard of excellence in craft products and services to members and the public. Their mission is to advance the understanding of excellence in craft for the cultural and economic benefit of Newfoundland and Labrador through various initiatives. These include providing professional development opportunities for artisans, hosting exhibitions, offering educational programs, and facilitating marketing and sales platforms for crafts people. 🎨🧵🖍️

Impact: They have over 300 Council members across the province, including craft makers, educators, agents, and resource people. Through our Internship Program, they’ve played a crucial role in developing practical entrepreneurial skills among our students.    

Connect: Check out their upcoming events and follow them on social media: 

IG: @craftcouncilnl

LI: Craft Council of NL

FB: @CraftCouncilNL

X: @CraftCouncilNL

Why support Indigenous-owned businesses? 

Supporting Indigenous-owned businesses is a crucial step towards economic equity, social justice, truth and reconciliation, and a richer, more diverse and inclusive entrepreneurial Canadian landscape. 

Economic Empowerment: Indigenous-owned businesses significantly contribute to the Canadian economy. By supporting these businesses, we help create jobs, stimulate local economies, and foster economic self-sufficiency within Indigenous communities. 

Cultural Preservation: Many Indigenous-owned businesses incorporate traditional knowledge, practices, and cultural heritage into their products and services. Supporting these businesses helps preserve and promote Indigenous cultures, languages, and traditions for years to come. 

Social Equity: Indigenous entrepreneurs often face unique barriers, including limited access to capital, discrimination, and historical marginalization. Supporting Indigenous-owned businesses helps address these inequalities and promotes a more inclusive and equitable society.

Community Development: Indigenous-owned businesses often invest in their communities, funding local initiatives, and providing essential services. This support helps improve the quality of life in Indigenous communities and fosters a sense of community pride and resilience.

Innovation and Sustainability: Indigenous entrepreneurs bring unique perspectives and innovative solutions to the market, often emphasizing sustainability and environmental stewardship. Supporting these businesses encourages the development of sustainable practices that benefit everyone. 

Reconciliation: Supporting Indigenous-owned businesses is a tangible way to contribute to the reconciliation process. It acknowledges the historical injustices faced by Indigenous Peoples and helps build respectful and mutually beneficial relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities.

By supporting Indigenous-owned businesses, we contribute to a more diverse, equitable, and prosperous society for all. ❤️

Rebecca Scott