OMX recently signed an agreement with the Canadian Council of Aboriginal Businesses.
Our goal is to drive more business to Aboriginal owned businesses in Canada by sending out opportunities for Aboriginal owned businesses to respond to, and to work with large Corporations to manage, track and report on impacts to Aboriginal owned businesses.
I grew up in a Canadian manufacturing business, which was selling primarily to the US market. The majority of our sales were to the US Government and the US Department of Defense. The US have strict set asides, a good portion of which were/are to Native American owned businesses.
As a result, we often partnered with local Native American companies, transferred our knowledge and some necessary background IP and then worked along side those companies (one of our factories was in North Dakota - I remember a lot of cold winters spent there).
Instead of giving funding to those communities, the US government was able to help drive increased business to the capable people and businesses to serve as a catalyst and "shot in the arm" to help them either establish or grow. IP transfers and working with experienced partners can set companies up for the long term.
I believe this is something we should be seeing more of in Canada. I believe this is something that can be woven right into the fabric of Government procurements, energy agreements and infrastructure spending. We have the people, the resources and the tools available, we just need the will, the direction and some more capacity building efforts.
Check out more on thoughts in the Globe and Mail Op Ed we assisted with alongside Chief Isadore Day.