Indigenous businesses throughout the province now have a dedicated Export Navigator advisor to help them grow by reaching new markets outside of B.C.
Daphane Nelson, a business consultant, will offer export planning services for Indigenous small businesses participating in the Export Navigator program. She will help Indigenous business owners determine their export readiness, identify new markets and navigate logistics, customs certifications and other export requirements.
“As we considered new ways to build on the success of the Export Navigator program, we saw an opportunity to directly support Indigenous businesses with exporting,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology. “Indigenous businesses are a critical part of our province’s success, and exporting is a key way to create more jobs and opportunities in communities around the province.”
George Chow, Minister of State for Trade, said, “Export activity is an important job creator, responsible for about four direct jobs for every $1 million exported internationally. Indigenous businesses that export are also more resilient, as they have a steady customer base that’s not impacted by seasonal downturns or local economic shifts.”
Nelson will be based out of the Community Futures Development Corporation of the Central Interior First Nations in Kamloops. She joins a team of nine advisors around the province who provide personalized approaches to help businesses become export ready.
“As a small business owner myself, I understand the importance of having the right support at the right time,” said Nelson. “What makes this program so unique is the personalized, step-by-step guidance we offer at no cost. This kind of support gives entrepreneurs the opportunity to grow in new ways. I look forward to contributing to export development in Indigenous businesses around the province."
In April 2019, the Export Navigator program was made permanent and expanded to include new export advisors dedicated to supporting businesses owned by Indigenous peoples, women and youth. The Province is contributing $2 million over two years toward the program, with a third year of funding to be confirmed following a review of program outcomes.
The Export Navigator program is managed by the Province and delivered through Small Business BC, Community Futures and Women’s Enterprise Centre. The program supports the B.C. government’s commitment to growing regional economic development and building a strong, sustainable economy that works for everyone.
George Casimir, general manager, Community Futures Development Corporation of Central Interior First Nations –
“As an economic development provider and advocate, and long-time small business owner, I understand how strong business advisory services can open doors for many Indigenous companies. It is an honour for the Community Futures Development Corporation of Central Interior First Nations to be a part of delivering the Export Navigator program.”
Tom Conway, CEO, Small Business BC –
“Every day, our staff see first-hand the impact a dedicated advisor can have on a small business’s success. Providing personalized information and connections will help Indigenous entrepreneurs gain a competitive advantage as they reach out to new markets in Canada and around the world.”
- 20.6% of Indigenous entrepreneurs in Canada are in B.C., according to the 2016 Canadian census.
- According to the Office of the Chief Economist of Global Affairs Canada and Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business and based on self-reported exporting activity:
- More than one-fifth of Indigenous exporters in Canada are located in B.C. (22.8%).
- Top industries in which small- and medium-sized Indigenous enterprises operate in B.C. include construction; transportation and warehousing; professional, scientific and technical services; and manufacturing.
- Export Navigator is available in the following six B.C. economic development regions: Vancouver Island/Coast, Cariboo, Thompson-Okanagan, Kootenay, North Coast and Nechako, Northeast.
- 342 B.C. businesses have participated in the program since 2016. The largest groups of participating businesses are from the agrifoods sector, followed by manufacturing, consumer goods and clean technology.
- It is estimated that four direct jobs and two indirect jobs are created for every $1 million in international exports.
- In 2018, total British Columbia goods exported worldwide were valued at about $46 billion.
For more information about Export Navigator, visit: http://www.exportnavigator.ca
A backgrounder follows.