A Māori social enterprise leads the way . . .
Aotearoa / New Zealand-based social enterprise 5000 Tribes has launched what is being called the world’s first global Indigenous online marketplace. The eponymous 5000 Tribes marketplace will support online trading by connecting Māori, Pasifika, and Indigenous businesses, professionals, and creators worldwide. The platform’s launch comes after the COVID-19 pandemic has walloped the Māori economy for months and coincides with Matariki, the Māori New Year.
COVID-19 constraints push innovation . . .
Co-founder Moana Ellis said that COVID-19, which has put pressure on “companies to generate cash flow and to survive,” has magnified both the need and opportunity to “support communities by connecting businesses with customers around the world.” According to co-founder Te Rina Kōwhai, the platform’s global reach will “support Indigenous well-being and values” by “recogniz[ing] the unique approaches Indigenous entrepreneurs take to trade.” Indigenous businesses that use the 5000 Tribes e-commerce platform will face no set-up costs, no monthly subscription fees, and low commission charges.
A new normal . . .
The pre-pandemic Māori and Pasifika economy was worth approximately C$53 billion and had been growing faster than New Zealand's national economy for at least the last decade. In comparison, the Indigenous economy in Canada pre-COVID-19 was valued at approximately C$35 billion, with the Indigenous tourism sector being one of its fastest-growing sectors. The lack of more accurate numbers for these Indigenous economies points to the need for a better understanding and inclusion of Indigenous economic statistics in national economic figures. There is an equal, if not more significant, need to recognize that domestic and international Indigenous business and trade is about more than making money – it is about supporting communities, cultures, and values.