This initiative aims to support Indigenous communities’ leadership and entrepreneurship in alternative energy development in culturally and spiritually suitable ways. By supporting Indigenous entrepreneurship in the energy sector, this initiative aims to advance three interrelated outcomes:
- Learning and Storytelling – a series of learning journeys documented by an Indigenous storyteller to learn from Indigenous leaders and business owners
Learning journeys will provide a foundation to allow the Fellows to work with each community to structure the programs and support needed to accelerate entrepreneurship in the energy transition. By working with an Indigenous storyteller, the team plans to document our experiences and learnings to raise the profile of the energy transitions already occurring within Alberta’s Indigenous communities.
- Business Incubation & Acceleration – support and mentorship to start, and accelerate energy businesses within Indigenous communities
Following the learning journey in community, the team will co-develop a program to support entrepreneurs and leaders in the community. In some cases, the team may act as mentors to individuals with ideas that simply need extra support to start. In other cases, we will bring our diverse technical expertise in developing a range of energy technologies.
- Entrepreneurs Network – emergence of an Indigenous leadership/entrepreneur network to share best practices across communities
The network will offer a platform for Indigenous leaders and emerging leaders to assist and inspire other communities to accelerate their successes, overcome challenges, and attract key investment for their energy transition initiatives. The team recognizes that this network does not currently exist in Alberta. It is a significant gap, preventing coordinated approaches to launching and accelerating Indigenous led innovations in the energy transition.
The initial pilot will begin with a Learning Journey to the Louis Bull First Nation. The team expects to learn about their Solar Initiative, and understand more about the many opportunities the community has identified for additional business development. The team will work with the Nation to structure an acceleration program aimed to launch 1-2 business ventures by early 2018. The journey will be documented with the help of an Indigenous filmmaker and storyteller.