The City of Toronto is working with local Indigenous community to develop the Indigenous Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (ICIE).

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 cooperatives. The overall vision is to provide a home for Indigenous entrepreneurs looking to access resources, advisory support and workspace for building their ventures.

The ICIE will be located at a city-owned commercial space located at 200 Dundas Street East. The building is currently under construction and the City will take possession at the end of 2019 of 16,000 square foot of commercial space that will be dedicated to serving Indigenous entrepreneurs.

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To develop the proposed ICIE and its services, the city has retained The Pontiac Group, an Indigenous-led consulting firm, to undertake community consultation to develop a vision for the ICIE and a business plan for its operations.

To develop these deliverables, the following consultations will be undertaken:

  • Leadership Advisory Council – a leadership group of key Indigenous community and business leaders will be established, reflecting the diversity of the Indigenous community in Toronto, to provide input, ideas and approve the eventual vision and business model for the ICIE.
  • One-on-One Consultations – engagement with key leaders in the Indigenous community, including Indigenous entrepreneurs to gather insights and ideas on the proposed ICIE.
  • Design-Thinking Workshop – delivery of a design-thinking workshop to better define, ideate and test potential approaches to the proposed ICIE.
  • Entrepreneur Community Survey – working with key stakeholders in the Indigenous community, such as community organizations and professional associations, deliver a broad community survey to gather feedback on the proposed ICIE.
  • Broader Community Engagement – deliver two broader community consultation sessions in an open house style that would involve the broader Indigenous community, not just entrepreneurs, focused on sharing the idea of the ICIE and gathering feedback on the concept.

A City of Toronto document detailing the plans, noted, “Aboriginal-owned and operated businesses are increasingly recognized as fundamental to improving the prospects of Aboriginal peoples and their communities,” as quoted from the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business.

The city has launched a survey for Indigenous entrepreneurs in the City of Toronto to garner ideas on how the ICIE can support Indigenous entrepreneurs via this link.

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