October 11, 2019

CapU Indigenous Digital Accelerator (IDA)

In partnership with Indigenext, Capilano University has announced a 1.93-million-dollar contribution from Western Economic Diversification Canada to build a first-of-its-kind Indigenous Digital Accelerator (IDA). More recently TD has added an additional 450k in funding to further support this initiative.

The IDA provides resources to nurture Indigenous business growth in BC’s tech, digital-creative and cultural sectors. The project scales up early stage Indigenous companies with high growth, commercialization, and innovation potential within a framework that emphasizes community development and low environmental impact. The IDA also assists in addressing Indigenous participation gaps.

The vision of the IDA is to grow a cluster of digital-creative businesses/organizations. The project aims to:

● Scale/grow 10-20 businesses/organizations in the next 3 years

● Create 100 new Indigenous jobs in the next 5 years

● Create hundreds of student employment and research opportunities

The IDA addresses significant gaps in the participation of Indigenous peoples in the high technology, digital-creative and cultural sectors including, for example, film, TV, games, and digital media. It will contribute to the development of hundreds of low-carbon jobs. This project will grow Indigenous digital intellectual property (IP) and technology development as well as digital/cultural products/services. As the IDA matures, it will include new sectors (e.g., tourism, hospitality).

Nawalakw Cultural Revitalization 

We welcome you to the territory of the Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw, in the Great Bear rainforest, on the Pacific Coast of British Columbia. This is one of the richest and most diverse biospheres on earth, and is the geography that cradles our origin stories that trace back more than 10,000 years. We are a people of the land who both harvest from and protect what is also one of the world’s most fragile ecosystems. We share our territory with Orca and grizzlies, salmon, sea lions, eagles, deer, and sea otter. The Nawalakw Project is our catalyst that offers us the ability to choose the road of sustainable economic development woven with the wellbeing from the fiber of our culture.  

In the next decade Nawalakw will:

  • Deliver more than 300,000 hours of language and cultural programming to our youth
  • Provide over 200,000 hours of wellness programming to our larger indigenous community
  • Provide the hub for a Guardian program which will protect our salmon, whales, and bears
  • Employee up to 100 people each year in full or part-time work
  • Protect the fragile ecosystem of Salmon and Grizzly bears in the Hada River estuary

The fuel to support this sustainable revitalized ecosystem, is a world class eco-tourism resort. The 9 room Nawalakw Lodge, will operate from June until September, while operating as a wellness programming centre for the remainder of the year. The Lodge will offer the experience of an insider’s view to our traditions through the eyes of our elders, and a contemporary and one-of-a-kind culinary experience rooted in our local and ancient harvesting techniques. After its 3rd year of operation the ecotourism business will generate more than $800,000 in contribution, enough to sustain the wellness..for the next century.

Global Study of Indigenous Accelerators and Incubators

In Partnership with UBC Sauder School of Business we conducted the first global study of Indigenous Incubators and Accelerators in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the US. The investigation, which was the first such global assessment,  identified 14 Accelerators in 4 countries.

Based on the study findings, we believe that there is lack of business and economic development opportunities for Indigenous entrepreneurs in British Columbia and Canada as a whole. More emphasis should be given to the area of business acceleration and incubation for Indigenous entrepreneurs. 

Interestingly, our findings in gender inclusion and diversity suggest the importance of support for women entrepreneurs in Indigenous accelerator and incubator programs. Specifically, we found a high rate of female participants among several Indigenous business accelerators and incubators. The exceptionally high rate of women entrepreneurs in Indigenous programs suggests a point of differentiation from non-Indigenous organizations.  

Kingcome Raven Adventures

Kingcome Raven Adventures is a First Nations’ owned tourism business, operated by Thomas Peter Moon and He’ma Deedames Willie from the Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw Territory. Kingcome Raven Adventures was founded to help the people, the land, and the preservation of the historical and cultural knowledge of the Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw. KIngcome Inlet is a community which has been continuously inhabited for more than 10,000 years. We Assisted founders in starting their river adventure business which currently hold a 5 star ranking on Trip Advisor.  

B4 Vancouver

Indigenext planned and executed a summer youth camp for youth aged 15 and older. This free/ no charge program ran in two separate sessions. Using 3D modelling software students with no experience were able to re-build VR( Virtual reality) worlds of Traditional Territory of Vancouver and use tools like the Oculus Go, SketchUp 3D, GitHub, and Unity to decontextualize and experience what was here before Vancouver. The skillsets acquired by the students also served as a soft-skills training or crash-course suitable to an intro into Game design and development, or careers in the burgeoning field VR/AR and mixed reality. Funding was provided by The Discovery Foundation and Cira.

The results of the program and resources are available on Github here.

Seawolf Adventures

Sea Wolf Adventures connects travellers to the beauty of the Musgamakw Dzawada’enuxw, the Great Bear Rainforest, through grizzly bear viewing and cultural tours with local First Nation guides. Safe. True. Educational. Located on Northern Vancouver Island. Indigenext worked with Mike Willie, founder of Seawolf Adventures to assist him with growing and scaling his business. During the period we had the privilege of working with Seawolf, we assisted with financing and the business doubled.

Web page here: