The Canadian Federal Government through the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) has recently awarded a ground-breaking grant to researchers from the University of Regina and The First Nations University of Canada. The grant is entitled Natural resource sector strategic alliances and new venture creation in an Indigenous context. The full expenditures related to the grant exceed $300,000 dollars, with a these monies coming from Indigenous communities themselves. The grant is the largest ever provided by jump4love.com elena for the support of Indigenous entrepreneurship and is of critical importance for the development of both the research and practice in this field. There are four ground-breaking aspects of the study.
a) The team is composed of five non-Indigenous scholars and three Indigenous scholars, one of whom is the co-principal investigator.
b) The successful study design is based on the work of Professor Kevin Hindle. Hindle has been a pioneer scholar in the field of Indigenous entrepreneurship and the broader areas of entrepreneurial process and entrepreneurial context. The research design that won the grant employs the system presented in his paper entitled How Community Factors Affect Entrepreneurial Process: A Diagnostic Framework (published in The Journal of Entrepreneurship and Regional Development). Colloquially known as ‘Hindle’s Bridge’ or the ‘Community Bridge Model (CBM)’, Hindle’s diagnostic framework is gaining increasing usage as a comprehensive, systematic regime for matching well planned economic initiatives to the deep-seated social, cultural and wider needs of the community or region where the activity will take place.
c) One of the main capacity building elements of the grant involves the mentorship of four Aboriginal graduates who will gain their PhDs as part of the investigation.
d) Work covered by the grant will be completed in 2017. The follow-up will involve a larger partnership grant, which will be developed using the findings of this research. That will take the research team through to 2022.
Principle topic: the research problem
There are an estimated $500 billion dollars spent in resource and energy initiatives in Canada alone that involve traditional or reserve based lands (Calla, 2012). Unfortunately, the field is characterised more by contentious litigation than harmonious partnership. Since the mid 1980’s, Indigenous peoples have recorded victories in over 175 lawsuits that concern the development on their lands (Gallagher, 2012). These legal victories are costly, time consuming and often end up extending First Nations empowerment onto traditional lands and territories. More importantly, legal processes ultimately culminate in revenue-sharing agreements prescribed by the courts that have the unintended outcome of further dividing First Nations communities, governments and corporate resource developers – especially in the absence of any guidelines for providing constructive strategic alliances. Recognizing the futility and waste involved in a confrontational approach, many natural resource corporations have begun to move proactively to secure strategic alliances and partnership agreements. ask mr robot wow . They realise that alliances with Indigenous peoples are absolutely crucial to their long-term success (Anderson, 1997). Indigenous communities are also aware of the need to confront the issue of alliances in order to prosper in a competitive and global marketplace, protect their distinctive and varied heritages and maintain autonomy and cultural integrity (Anderson, et al., 2006). So, there is scope for harmony rather than discord but Indigenous peoples and economic leaders throughout the world remain, justifiably, very wary of so-called ‘strategic alliances’ because, in the past the phrase ‘strategic alliance’ has been a euphemism for ‘us getting ripped off by them’. So there is an urgent need to understand and develop strategic alliances in the Indigenous context.
Many examples of working strategic alliances between Indigenous and non-Indigenous controlled organizations may be observed. However, until the advent of this study and its use of the systematic approach created by Hindle (2010), the process of strategic alliance and partnering between mainstream organisations and Indigenous communities has never been well designed or structured. Both research and practice suffer from an abundance of conflicting definitions of fundamental terms and a wide variety of implementation approaches. Hitherto, the process has been guided – more often misguided – by a diffuse range of theories and frameworks derived from mainstream social science but wildly inadequate for sensitive application in Indigenous contexts. Theory on strategic alliance development has only recently been introduced into an Indigenous context with respect to multinational strategic alliance creation in developing countries. Yet large gaps persist. In particular, there is little knowledge on how strategic alliances may best simultaneously serve the supply chain needs of corporations and the culturally-sensitive economic development needs of Indigenous communities through the direct or indirect creation of new ventures. Issues of sustainability and social responsibility must also receive greater attention. Both are of increasing important to communities and corporations. So, the intellectual and practical territory covered by the grant is an important area for research and practice in the fields of entrepreneurship, economic development and regional development. The creation of new ventures by Indigenous peoples is fundamental to achieving their twin objectives of sustainable self-determination and self-reliance (Peredo et al. 2004).
Research question and key objectives
The focus of the study that won the grant is to provide a specifically focused framework to extend and align existing theory that is specific to new venture creation within an Indigenous context. The overarching research question we seek to answer is:
“What are the necessary and sufficient processes for entering into successful partnerships, joint ventures or strategic alliances between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal organizations operating in to the natural resource sector?”
Several specific objectives arise from this question.
- Objective 1. The study seeks to inform upon and enhance the ability of natural resource development and energy sector corporations to form effective partnerships with First Nations communities that maximize joint benefits while aligning the cultural and organizational goals of both parties.
- Objective 2. The study will develop knowledge on the best processes for leveraging these partnerships toward successful development of profitable and socially acceptable and sustainable new ventures that are originated within First Nations communities and/or serve the economic and social objectives of First Nations communities.
- Objective 3. The study will create awareness and understanding through the development of tools, models and capacity building programs to inform upon and enhance the effectiveness of these processes. These may include but are not limited to: teaching cases, curriculum, capacity building materials, governance models and specific project components such as the establishment of a unique business model for a virtual incubator for First Nations entrepreneurial individuals and teams.
Method and desired outcome
The way to achieve the objectives of the research is to meld what is known about strategic alliances in the mainstream context (Pasco et al. 2006) with what is known about Indigenous entrepreneurship (Hindle and Moroz 2010) and the need for entrepreneurial initiatives in Indigenous communities. The key is to take systematic account of the community factors that may affect proposed entrepreneurial projects – in this case, strategic alliances (Hindle 2010). The Canadian research team hopes to emerge with the design of a focused structural framework that concentrates specifically on the creation of new ventures from successful strategic alliance between Indigenous and non-Indigenous organizations in the natural resources sector.
Implications, applications and (temporary!) conclusion
The outcome of this study will have profound implications for research – in both the Strategic Alliance field and the Indigenous Entrepreneurship field – and, most importantly, profound applicability to improve the practice of building successful strategic alliances between Indigenous and non-Indigenous partners. The researchers will distil and position mainstream strategic alliance literature research in an Indigenous context and also aligns it with the literature on strategic alliances in third world and developing countries and the issues of sustainability and social responsibility.
The focus of course is on the natural resources sector but the benefits of the findings will extend beyond that specific industry sector to the wider areas of Indigenous and non-Indigenous economic and social relationship development. For too long so-called ‘strategic alliances’ between mainstream organisations and Indigenous communities have been more about one-sided exploitation than genuinely two-sided partnership and benefit sharing. This study will show the way to genuine and mutually beneficial economic engagement between mainstream economic players and entrepreneurial Indigenous individuals and communities.
Anderson, R., B. . (1997). Corporate/indigenous partnerships in economic development: The first nations in Canada. World Development, 25(9), 1483.
Anderson, R., B., Dana, L. P., & E. Dana, T. (2006). Indigenous land rights, entrepreneurship, and economic development in Canada: “Opting-in” to the global economy. Journal of World Business, 41(1), 45.
Calla, H. (2012). “How does Native Funding Work?” First Nations Management Board, CBC Report: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2013/01/29/f-aboriginal-finance-faq.html
Hindle, K. (2010). How community context affects entrepreneurial process: a diagnostic framework. Entrepreneurship & Regional Development, 7-8, 1-49.
Hindle, K. & Moroz, P. (2010). Indigenous entrepreneurship as a research field: developing a definitional framework from the emerging canon. The International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, 6(4): 357-385.
Gallagher, B. (2011). “Resource Rulers: Fortune and Folly on Canada’s Road to Resources”. Gallagher Publishing, Waterloo, ONT; ISBN-13:978-0-9880569-0-9.
Pasco, M., Hindle, K., & Anderson, R. B. (2006). Strategic Alliances in Indigenous Entrepreneurship contexts: A literature review. Paper presented at the Third AGSE International Entrepreneurship Research Exchange
Peredo, A., Anderson, R., Galbraith, C., Honig, B., & Dana, L. (2004). Toward a Theory of Indigenous Entrepreneurship. International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business,, 1(1), 20.