22 - Empowering indigenous innovators & communities
If there is a lesson to be learned for investors wishing to solve real social challenges, it’s that we need to do less talking and more listening. We need to make space for not only a diverse range of views and perspectives but particularly for those with lived experience. Perhaps nowhere is the need for listening and learning more pronounced than when it comes to tackling reconciliation and challenges faced by Indigenous communities.
The vast majority of investment capital is held by those with very little understanding and appreciation for Indigenous ways of knowing and being. And this is problematic because those differences have a profound impact on not only how to solve the challenges Indigenous communities face but, more profoundly, what “improvement” actually looks like. In other words, we can’t be true allies of any group of people if we don’t understand their challenges and desired outcomes.
That’s why putting capital in the hands of those who have been excluded from economic prosperity is so important and why the work that today’s guest today does is so important. Sara Wolfe is Director of the Indigenous Innovation Initiative with Grand Challenges Canada and her work is to provide both financial and non-financial support to drive innovation and social impact that is led by and/or created by Indigenous peoples.
In this episode, Sara and I discuss the broader mandate of Grand Challenges Canada, the birth of the Indigenous Innovation Initiative, the challenges Indigenous communities face, and the forms of financial support they provide to Indigenous entrepreneurs. We also discuss Sara’s fascinating journey that led her to where she is today, including her time spent working as a midwife. And be sure to stay tuned to the very end where we talk about the critical importance of the various forms of non-financial support she and her team provide.