Business entrepreneurship ideas and teachings will be flowing all week at the First Nations University of Canada (FNUniv) during its annual youth entrepreneurship camp.
Jason Bird is a business and administration lecturer at FNUniv and the co-ordinator of the program.
He says the camp has students between 15 and 19 years of age learning the concepts and ideas of entrepreneurship and business as a potential career choice and area of study.
“We want to give this idea to students that you can do business in a kinder, friendly, gentler way. You can do business in an Indigenous way,” Bird says. “You don’t have to be cutthroat.”
Bird says students from across Canada will learn how to work on their career while also keeping their traditional and personal values in mind for their ideas and businesses. Over the next week, the camp will go over things like planning, marketing, finance and accounting.
“We’re just trying to give the youth exposure. This is an avenue for them and a lot of students will go for social work, health, nursing,” he says.
“They’ll go for areas where [they’re] directly helping people, and that’s where Indigenous people are at our heart. That’s where we generally fall in.”
Aiden Akan-Kinistino, 18, is from Ochapowace First Nation and is living in Regina. This is his second year in the camp as he prepares for his studies at FNUniv in business administration in the fall.
“A lot of the stuff we’re doing is going to be going toward what I want to do in business,” Akan-Kinistino says.
As for his business idea, he says over the last few years he has been developing an idea about a fashion design company.
His idea is based around clothing, like shirts, pants, hats and sweaters, that feature and showcase the work of Indigenous designers.
“I definitely would make things that aren’t just screen-printed logos,” Akan-Kinisitino