Virtual platform launches findings from its second cohort meeting . . .
INDIGI-X, a Canada-New Zealand (Aotearoa) joint initiative to connect Indigenous professionals worldwide, presented findings from its second cohort meeting last Thursday. The six-week-long virtual exchange included 22 Indigenous professionals from Canada, New Zealand, and Fiji. Governments in all three participating countries support the program, with Chris Moran, Director General, Trade and Portfolio Strategy and Coordination, Global Affairs Canada, stating, “From the perspective of the Trade Commissioner Service, this work is an important opportunity for us to learn from you [Indigenous professionals]. INDIGI-X proposes new ideas for how we engage with Indigenous businesses and sets out concrete ideas to achieve this.”
Topics and findings . . .
Delegates from the three countries presented findings on four topics during the virtual session (viewable online soon). Group one looked at how Indigenous entrepreneurs continue to demonstrate resilience despite pandemic-related challenges. Group two explored how climate change and the implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples presents opportunities for Indigenous Peoples and governments to partner and find solutions to problems posed by the pandemic. Accessing funds continues to be a challenge for Indigenous entrepreneurs in the three countries. Group three looked at how governments might adjust their policies to make funding for entrepreneurs more accessible and equitable. Group four noted how role models and mentorship programs are critical to ensure that Indigenous youth have every opportunity to grow into leadership roles.
'Weaving the people together' . . .
The final report from this cohort will be released in mid-May and will include recommendations for the governments of Canada, New Zealand, and Fiji. INDIGI-X facilitates two international exchanges per year and a series of workshops for participants and alumni. It intends to pivot to in-person exchanges when it is safe and permissible to do so. All Indigenous professionals, regardless of country of residence, are encouraged to join this global network. INDIGI-X and its alumni are paving the way for developing Indigenous-related trade data and supporting mechanisms and programs to foster inclusivity. New Zealand Minister of Foreign Affairs Nanaia Mahuta commented, “My tupuna (ancestors) said: ‘whiria te tangata,’ which means ‘weave the people together,’ which is exactly what this exchange does.”