Feeding the Spirit of Indigenous Business
& ReconciliACTION

OUR VISION: Inspire ReconciliACTION
Our vision is that every individual is inspired into ReconciliACTION – that they make compassionate decisions and then take meaningful actions that move our nation towards Reconciliation.

Within a business context, ReconciliACTION means that every leadership decision – from buying to hiring, training to mentoring, and marketing to investing – creates opportunities to build mutually-beneficial relationships and to elevate Indigenous businesses, communities, knowledge and values.

OUR MISSION: To Feed the Spirit of Indigenous Business
To work towards inspiring ReconcilACTION, we embrace this mission: “To Feed the Spirit of Indigenous Business in everyone, we will create and nourish relationships that shape a dynamic, community-driven network of people, programs and resources to support Indigenous entrepreneurs at every stage of their business lifecycle.”

OUR VALUES: Honour Indigenous Teachings
We seek to honour and build on common threads of values woven into many Indigenous teachings – integrity, respect, equity, inclusiveness, openness, reciprocity, transparency, and accountability to the community and whole ecosystem – to work towards economic Reconciliation. entrepreneurs at every stage of their business lifecycle.”

We will create collaborative, empowering and safe spaces for education and mentorship opportunities to inform and inspire Indigenous entrepreneurs.

We will honour the diversity and strengths of Indigenous entrepreneurs, business owners and our allies in inclusion who are striving to find a balance between honouring PEOPLE, respecting the PLANET and making a PROFIT to achieve a PURPOSE.

We believe that the cultural strengths, expertise and knowledge held within many Indigenous entrepreneurs and community members can help to shape a more inclusive and sustainability-focused world.

What is the Spirit of Indigenous Business?

We enjoy discussions exploring WHY Indigenous people start their own business, their key motivators/drivers & values or goals that take priority.

This graphic captures common ideas we hear like self-reliance, healthier communities & sustainability.

— Scroll down to learn how this shaped our Guiding Principles

This work begins by comparing business models.

Value-Driven Work Begins By Acknowledging Differences & Opportunities to Align or Shift Attitudes

Identifiying common themeswithout overgeneralizing
The team at Spiritlink Communications created this Venn diagram to compare how cultural teachings and generations of trade experiences shape common themes that are often woven into Indigenous (Community-Based) business models and Western (Capitalist) business models.
Yet we must be aware of the risk of overgeneralizing or stereotyping the values and belief systems of either group.

To work towards Economic Reconciliation, the Bears’ Lair team used this model to develop four Guiding Principles.

Indigenous community engagement experts at Spiritlink Communications provided our team with the Venn diagram graphic (above) that they use in many of their Indigenous FUNdamentals workshops.

What we typically find when comparing business models” serves a starting point to pave the way to discuss how the Bears’ Lair team approaches our value-driven work and path towards Reconciliation.

Diving Deeper into Differences: The 4 P's of the Bottom Line

Recognizing Differences: Approach to PROFIT

This section provides a brief summary of differences we often notice or hear when entrepreneurs are asked about each aspect of the centre column of the diagram “What we typically find when comparing business models.
When asked how they chose their business structure, approached their operations plannings or identified their business goals, they often discussed these questions that shaped their business model and business planning.

How do you set profit goals or assess your business value?

  • Non-Indigenous: How can I increase my own wealth through this business? How can we increase our company’s assets and value?
  • Indigenous:: How can I share or redistribute our profits? How can we build community capacity and wealth?


Recognizing Differences: Approach to PEOPLE

Who do you look to for Leadership?
  • Non-Indigenous: What do the executives or industry experts advise? How can those at the top lead others below them?
  • Indigenous: What knowledge can each community member contribute to benefit others? How can we lead together?

Who are you accountable to in your business?

    • Non-Indigenous: What do my individual shareholders expect for a return on their investment?
    • Indigenous: What do my community stakeholders expect for a return on our engagement?

How do you shape your HR Plan / Human Resource Planning?

  • Non-Indigenous: How can I get the most from my team & business relationships?
  • Indigenous: How can I nurture my team & community relationships?

Recognizing Differences: Approach to PLANET

How do you approach sustainability/strategic thinking?
  • Non-Indigenous: How can I use natural resources today to support our business growth?
  • Indigenous: How can we protect natural resources to support future generations?
How do you assess value of your organization’s internal departments and external relationships?
  • Non-Indigenous: How are our independent departments functioning?  How do our divisions compare to those of our competitors? Can we leverage any relationships to gan an advantage?
  • Indigenous: How are the interconnected parts of our organization functioning as a whole? What can our organization learn or share with others? How can we build relationships that support the whole community?

How does your PURPOSE shape your priorities?


Our Four Guiding Principles


Keeping our Mission & Vision in Mind...

To guide us on the journey to address our mission to ‘Feed the Spirit of Indigenous Business‘ as we and work toward the vision of Economic Reconciliation, we will follow these four guiding principles to ‘recognize differences yet seek common ground, respect and celebrate diversity, promote what we call ‘co-opetition’ and incite ReconciliACTION.’

1. Recognize differences, yet seek common ground.

We recognize that each business owner places different priorities on how they balance the 4 P’s of their own bottom line: ‘People, Planet, Profits and Purpose,‘ yet we’ll seek to create common ground by nurtuirng relationships within their community and with others who could support their success.

We’ll work to create common ground… so that everyone can benefit from the ‘edu-tainment’ opportunities we’ll provide through Bears’ Lair.

We know it’s important to create and strengthen relationships between:

  • The diverse community of Indigenous entrepreneurs, businesses, social enterprises and corporations;
  • The growing number of allies and activators from all Nations working to ‘make shift happen’ for Indigenous businesses, and;
  • All service providers at every level (local, regional and national) who can support their business success.

2. Respect & Celebrate Diversity

We know it’s important to create and strengthen relationships between:

  • The diverse community of Indigenous entrepreneurs, businesses, social enterprises and corporations;
  • The growing number of allies and activators from all Nations working to ‘make shift happen’ for Indigenous businesses, and;
  • All service providers at every level (local, regional and national) who can support their business success.

Indigenous knowledge often creates space to share and learn from others – regardless of their age, race, gender, beliefs or social status.

We all benefit when we recognize there are diverse perspectives, gifts and resources held within EACH person and EACH Nation.

We all benefit when space is created to nurture, celebrate and share this diverse body of knowledge.

We all benefit when Indigenous businesses bring unique goods and services to market, strengthen supply chains and create local jobs..

3. Promote Co-opetition

Although we’ll host an exciting business competition, one of our Guiding Principles is to embrace and promote something we call ‘the Spirit of CO-OPETITION‘.

Co-opetition is a combination of: Co-operation + Competition.  Much like ‘a rising tide rising tide lifts all boats,’ we will work to elevate, amplify and celebrate all Indigenous entrepreneurs. 

Everyone benefits when we co-operate, collaborate and contribute ideas, resources and insights that can help others on their journey to launch, stabilize and grow a successful business.

When people share resources and connections that matter, EVERY Indigenous entrepreneur can compete with more confidence with ‘others’ in the business world.

Embrace the Spirit of Co-opetition! Let’s work together to create a culturally-safe, collaborative yet empowering business development platform that ‘makes shift’ happen on the path to Reconciliation and shared prosperity… so that everyone benefits.

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Learn more about our goal to INCITE Reconciliaction – and consider ways we could help YOU to turn ideas into action.

4. Incite ReconciliACTION

The world is watching as many people across what’s know known as Canada are awakening to acknowledge and address past injustices, racist actions of too many people and the on-going oppression of colonial policies and systems that continue to dampen our ‘glowing hearts.’

Individuals are rethinking their own relationships with Indigenous people and the territories where they live, work and play…

Organizations are also rethinking how their past and current decisions impact Indigenous people, businesses and communities.

From hiring, training and leadership activities to buying, partnering and investing decisions… every business, industry, non-profit and government organization working to create more mutually beneficial relationships is looking for ways to turn the spirit of Reconciliation into ReconciliACTION.

Let's make some FUNdamental 'shift happen'!

We plan to have a lot of fun creating a reality TV series with REAL IMPACT

Yes, it’s exciting to host an amazing new reality TV series to showcase the diversity, resilience and stories of Indigenous entrepreneurs and the communities they represent.

Yes, we know the Judges and contestants will give us some interesting ‘edu-tainment

Yes, we’re eager to award $180,000 in prize money directly to emerging and established Indigenous contestants and provide the community with valuable connections to people and resources to move their plans own forward…

But we intend to do more than just amplify Indigenous businesses and perspectives…

We want to promote the benefits of EVERYONE working towards Reconciliation by embracing the values & spirit of Indigenous business.’

We will showcase the economic, environmental and social benefits of making inclusive, purpose-driven decisions that can still earn people profits.

We want all decision-makers to ask, "Who benefits most from my choices? Who may harmed or excluded?"