The City of Toronto today began the first in a series of consultations that will inform and guide the creation of an Indigenous Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (ICIE).

“These consultations are essential for creating a sustainable and successful centre,” said Mayor John Tory. “I'm proud to support this ongoing partnership between the Indigenous community and the City of Toronto.”

“To be effective and as meaningful as possible this must be a broad engagement process. I look forward to hearing the voices of the young Indigenous entrepreneurs,” said Chief R. Stacey Laforme of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation.

The purpose of the ICIE is to provide a space and support for Indigenous entrepreneurs looking to build businesses, social enterprises, not-for-profits, collectives or co-operatives by providing access to resources, advisory support and workspace for their ventures.  

To develop a relevant vision and business plan for the ICIE and its services, the City of Toronto has retained The Pontiac Group, an Indigenous-led consulting firm, to undertake consultations with the Indigenous community in the greater Toronto area.

Elements of the consultations will include:

  • creation of a Leadership Advisory Council of Indigenous community and business leaders to provide input, ideas and approve the vision and business model for ICIE
  • one-on-one engagement with leaders in the Indigenous community, including Indigenous entrepreneurs, to gather insights and ideas on the proposed ICIE
  • collaborative effort with key Indigenous community stakeholders and professional organizations to produce a City-delivered broad community survey (in the works) to gather input on the proposed centre
  • community consultation sessions with Indigenous entrepreneurs, focused on identifying their needs and interests, and
  • an online survey (via http://www.toronto.ca/indigenousincubator) enabling Indigenous entrepreneurs from across Toronto and Canada to share their insights and ideas on how the ICIE can support Indigenous entrepreneurs.

“The ICIE will become a foundation and cornerstone for future Indigenous entrepreneurship in Toronto,” said Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam (Ward 27 Toronto Centre-Rosedale). “I am pleased to champion this innovative initiative.”

“The City's collaborative approach to creating this innovation and business centre is an important part of the City's ongoing efforts to form enduring relationships with Indigenous communities and businesses,” said Selina Young, Manager of the City's Indigenous Affairs Office.

The centre will be located at a City-owned commercial space at 200 Dundas St. E. in a building that is currently under construction. The City will take possession of the space at the end of 2019.

The consultations will occur throughout the coming fall and winter and consultation findings and recommendations will be presented to Toronto City Council next spring.

More information about the ICIE and the consultations is available at http://www.toronto.ca/indigenousincubator.