Journey 2

Artwork  by Tyler Tabobondung Rushnell, Wasauksing First Nation


In SELF, write your own story. Reflect on who you are, where you come from, and your passions and strengths that will help in building a business.


In SEE, imagine a future where your community is thriving. See opportunities to create this future. Ideas for a business will arise from here.


In FOCUS, choose a business idea that aligns your strengths, passions, vision for the future, and community needs.


In RELATIONSHIPS, you will begin to tell your business story and share it to attract opportunities and resources that can help you.

What does it look like when my community is thriving?

This is an important question to ask yourself as you come up with an idea for a business. In this section you have the opportunity to explore your past experience, your future, and the needs of your community to come up with ideas for your business.

“Our people need to think beyond surviving. Our goal is to build communities that are thriving.

– Diane Roussin, Director at Winnipeg Boldness Project


Business ideas come to us when our hearts are open to helping the people, the animals, and the environment around us. We each see the world through our own eyes. Our identity and our lived experiences shape the opportunities that we see or don’t see. So, you may see opportunities that others do not. There are many ways to have a business idea and no single formula. Thinking of a business idea can be a challenge but we have many Indigenous and non-Indigenous ways of knowing that can help us generate strong ideas.

Ways of Generating  Business Ideas

Approach: Indigenous ways of knowing
  • Ceremony
  • Reflections
  • Time on the land
  • Conversations with Elders and Knowledge Keepers
  • Everyday life observations
  • Dreams
Approach: Western ways
  • Everyday life observations
  • Market research
  • Stakeholder conversations

Jen Harper’s business idea came to her in a dream.

CEO and Founder of fast-growing makeup line Cheekbone Beauty, Jenn Harper shares that her idea for the company came to her in a dream. “In my dream, I saw proud Indigenous girls running around wearing bright colors of lip gloss.”

Exercise 1: Imagine thriving

For Jenn Harper, one way she envisions her community thriving is by empowering youth.

With this 10-minute guided meditation exercise, close your eyes and visualize the future you want to create, where your community is thriving.

After meditating, write about this vision of yours. What you see? What does tomorrow look like for your community? for future generations? In what ways is your vision for the future differ from the present day?

What can a business opportunity look like?

We tried to envision a future where our communities are thriving. As you’ve learned, business ideas can come from within, but they can also come to us with our eyes open – by noticing opportunities in your everyday to help your community thrive.

So, what can you keep your eyes open for? Here are a few ideas:  

  • An opportunity can be a need that you notice in your local or global community that is going unanswered.

  • An opportunity can look like a growing interest, trend, and investment in a topic, technology, or issue.

  • An opportunity can be in improving what already exists as a product or service. It’s possible that a solution already exists in the markets but that it’s not good enough. Or, the existing solution doesn’t exist in your area or is not affordable or accessible for everyone.

  • An opportunity can be a new solution or it can be an old solution – something from the past that has been forgotten.

  • An opportunity can be something you are passionate about and enjoy creating that others would be interesting in buying, using or supporting.

Exercise 2: Noticing Opportunities

Noticing opportunities

Look through photo albums, your phone, your social media accounts, your mom’s fridge door – anywhere your photos and memories can be found.

Key Takeaways

  • There are many valid ways of coming up with a business idea. You can use Indigenous ways of knowing or Western ways to notice opportunities all around you.
  • It’s important to take the time to reflect on your experiences and those of your community in search of your business idea.
  • Thinking about a vision of the future where your community is thriving is a great way to come up with business ideas.
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