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CCAB Releases Results of a Targeted Analysis of Phase II of COVID-19 Indigenous Business Survey

CCAB Releases Results of a Targeted Analysis of Phase II of COVID-19 Indigenous Business Survey

TORONTO, ON – NOVEMBER 9, 2021 – In further effort to ensure an inclusive post-pandemic economic recovery, the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB) and Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED), are releasing two reports based on the impacts of COVID-19 to Indigenous Women Entrepreneurs and First Nation, Inuit, and Métis Businesses.

Much of the available research on Indigenous communities focuses on the group as a whole. However, CCAB understands that there is incredible diversity within Indigenous communities and that there is a need for more granular research to inform targeted supports for all kinds of Indigenous businesses. Data from CCAB’s COVID-19 Indigenous Business Survey Phase II (conducted in partnership with ISC, NACCA and NIEDB) was analyzed to produce a report on the unique experiences of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis businesses, as well as a report on the experiences of Indigenous women-owned businesses. CCAB’s online survey included 825 Indigenous business owners and professionals, collected between December 18, 2020, to February 1, 2021.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a unique impact on Indigenous women-owned businesses and specific Indigenous identities,” says CCAB President and CEO, Tabatha Bull. “The pandemic has illustrated distinctions in how First Nation, Métis and Inuit businesses have been impacted, so it is crucial that we continue to work to close the gap on data with respect to gender and Indigenous identity. CCAB has been working to address this gap to inform impactful solutions for an equitable recovery.”

Women-Owned Indigenous Business – Findings

  • Indigenous women-owned businesses continue to face greater barriers in accessing appropriate financing: close to half (47%) of women-owned Indigenous businesses report no current lending relationships with any financial institutions, compared to three in ten (30%) men-owned businesses.
  • Nearly half (49%) say the financial requirements were a barrier to accessing government support. Three in ten (31%) say they had difficulty with the application requirements, more so than their men-owned counterparts (21%).
  • Women-owned businesses expressed the greatest interest (compared to men-owned businesses) in social media/digital marketing training (53%) and grant proposal or application writing (49%) to help them navigate business challenges because of the pandemic.

Identity Report

  • One area of continued disparity is that First Nations entrepreneurs appear to face greater barriers to accessing financial support than do Métis-owned businesses. They remain more likely than Métis businesses to have no relationships with financial institutions (40% First Nations vs. 29% Métis)
  • First Nations-owned businesses are slightly more likely than Métis-owned businesses to say that financial requirements (48% vs. 44%) and application requirements (28% vs. 22%) are a barrier to accessing government financial support.
  • Indigenous businesses see value in continuing to build their skill sets. First Nations businesses express somewhat greater interest than Metis-owned businesses in improving their digital skills, such as by learning how to engage with clients remotely (33% vs. 25%), to operate virtual platforms (31% vs. 25%) and incorporate e-commerce platforms to generate online sales (31% vs. 22%). Métis businesses are slightly more likely to be interested in long term planning (38% vs 25%).

“The findings of this project have clearly demonstrated the need to provide inclusive and targeted programming so that no Indigenous business is left behind during our shared recovery from the pandemic. Our government is committed to continuing on the road to reconciliation by providing effective supports for Indigenous businesses and communities.” said the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development.

Continued development of data-driven policies, programming, and other supports is necessary to address the barriers for Indigenous businesses throughout the pandemic and expected recovery phase. Further research will help to understand the impacts and needs of Indigenous businesses as they continue to evolve throughout the COVID-19 recovery period.



Marissa Baecker
Sr. Associate, Communications
Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business
Cell – 250-470-7779

About Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business:

CCAB is committed to the full participation of Indigenous peoples in Canada’s economy. As a national, non-partisan association, its mission is to promote, strengthen and enhance a prosperous Indigenous economy through the fostering of business relationships, opportunities, and awareness. CCAB offers knowledge, resources, and programs to its members to cultivate economic opportunities for Indigenous peoples and businesses across Canada. For more information, visit


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