The First Nations Canvas is a strategic business planning tool that guides and assists First People through the process of identifying their unique business idea, assessing its viability and ultimately launching a successful and sustainable enterprise.

The First Nations Canvas provides an opportunity for all First Peoples to generate wealth and secure economic independence in ways that honour traditional cultural values, holistic frameworks and deep knowledge about the world.

It’s a strategic business planning tool that guides and assists First People through the process of identifying their unique business idea, assessing its viability and sustainability, and developing a plan to achieve their goals.

It makes it easy for First People to map out their business and make ongoing updates. This short and simple exercise gives you the ability to set your long-term goals and see your progress in a matter of minutes.

This strategic business planning tool primarily helps with two areas:

  • strategic business planning tool that will help you create the problem, value proposition, subcommunity and sustainability model to make building a successful First Nations business easier and faster.
  • a tool designed to help potential First Nations entrepreneurs turn their business ideas into positive sustainable ventures. The tool walks the entrepreneur through the operations of a First Nations business, from design, product development to sustainability.
How the First Nations Canvas Supports Indigenous Entrepreneurship


The problem section is the most important part of your business idea. A good businesss needs a real problem to solve, a value proposition (solution) for that problem, and a sustainability model.

The problem section of the First Nations Canvas is a crucial component that lays the foundation for a successful First Nations business. It focuses on identifying real problems faced by the community and developing a clear understanding of the challenges that need to be addressed.

By effectively defining and addressing these problems, entrepreneurs can create meaningful and impactful solutions that resonate with the community.

First and foremost, a good business requires a real problem to solve. This involves recognising the pain points, unmet needs, or existing challenges within the community. By conducting thorough research, engaging with community members, and listening attentively, entrepreneurs can gain insights into the specific issues faced by the community.

In the First Nations context, it is essential to approach problem identification from a First Nations perspective, considering the unique cultural, social, and economic factors that influence the community.

By prioritising the needs and aspirations of the community, entrepreneurs can develop solutions that are culturally relevant, respectful, and aligned with the community’s values.

Additionally, the problem section of the First Nations Canvas prompts entrepreneurs to assess whether someone within the community is already tackling the identified problem. This helps avoid duplication of efforts and encourages collaboration with existing initiatives or community members who are already addressing the issue.

By building on the work of others and leveraging collective expertise, entrepreneurs can contribute to a more coordinated and impactful response to community challenges.

Furthermore, the problem section challenges entrepreneurs to consider their business’s goal in relation to the identified problem. How does the business plan to alleviate the pain points and solve the problems faced by the community? By clearly defining their goals, entrepreneurs can align their business strategies with community needs and aspirations, ensuring that their solutions directly address the identified problem.

Lastly, the problem section within the First Nations Canvas emphasises that the community’s needs and problems are always the top priority. It encourages entrepreneurs to view the problem through a First Nations lens, acknowledging the historical, cultural, and systemic factors that shape the community’s challenges. By centering the community’s needs, entrepreneurs can create businesses that are responsive, culturally sensitive, and truly impactful.

In conclusion, the problem section of the First Nations Canvas serves as a starting point for First Nations entrepreneurs to identify and address the real problems faced by their community. By recognising the pain points, understanding the community’s unique context, and prioritising community needs, entrepreneurs can develop solutions that are culturally relevant, impactful, and aligned with the community’s aspirations.

The problem section sets the stage for the subsequent components of the First Nations Canvas, guiding entrepreneurs towards the creation of sustainable and community-driven businesses.

Value Proposition

In the context of the First Nations Canvas, the value proposition holds significant importance as it defines the unique value and benefits that a First Nations business brings to the community. It goes beyond mere products or services and encompasses the broader impact and value that the business offers in addressing community needs and aspirations.

For First Nations entrepreneurs, developing a compelling value proposition is essential in creating a business that resonates with the community and effectively addresses their pain points. The value proposition reflects the deep understanding of the community’s challenges, aspirations, and cultural context.

A well-crafted value proposition should answer several key questions. Firstly, it should clearly communicate the value the business brings to the community. What problem does it solve? How does it alleviate the pain points experienced by the community? By addressing these questions, the value proposition demonstrates the tangible benefits that the business provides.

Secondly, the value proposition should highlight the uniqueness of the business. What sets it apart from existing solutions? Does it incorporate traditional cultural values or employ sustainable practices that align with the community’s values? By showcasing its distinctiveness, the business can position itself as a relevant and authentic option for the community.

Furthermore, the value proposition should align with the long-term goals and aspirations of the community. How does the business contribute to the overall well-being and self-determination of the community? Does it support economic independence, job creation, or cultural preservation? By addressing these aspects, the value proposition demonstrates a deep commitment to the community’s growth and prosperity.

In the First Nations Canvas, the value proposition is not solely about financial gain; it encompasses social, cultural, and environmental dimensions. It reflects a holistic approach to business, where success is measured not only by profit but also by the positive impact made on the community and the preservation of cultural heritage.

Crafting a compelling value proposition requires active engagement with the community. It involves listening to their voices, understanding their needs, and involving them in the co-creation process. By incorporating community feedback, the value proposition can be refined to ensure that it truly reflects the aspirations and desires of the community.

The value proposition within the First Nations Canvas is a powerful tool that enables First Nations entrepreneurs to articulate the unique value their businesses bring to the community. It goes beyond a simple product or service description, encompassing the broader impact, cultural relevance, and long-term benefits that the business offers. By developing a strong value proposition, entrepreneurs can build businesses that not only thrive economically but also contribute to the social, cultural, and environmental well-being of the First Nations community.

SubCommunity (Partnerships)

In the context of the First Nations Canvas, a subcommunity refers to a specialised group within the larger First Nations community.

These subcommunities are formed based on common interests, aspirations, or challenges specific to the First Nations entrepreneurial landscape. They create a space for individuals to come together, exchange knowledge, and collaborate on business ideas and initiatives that are culturally relevant and aligned with the values of the First Nations community.

These subcommunities within the First Nations Canvas provide a platform to connect with like-minded individuals who share similar goals and experiences.

They offer a supportive environment where participants can engage in focused discussions, share insights, and provide mutual assistance.

By leveraging the strengths and expertise within these subcommunities, entrepreneurs can forge meaningful partnerships and collaboratively address the unique challenges and opportunities faced by First Nations businesses.

The subcommunity aspect of the First Nations Canvas recognises the importance of building strong networks and connections within the First Nations entrepreneurial ecosystem. It highlights the power of collective efforts, shared knowledge, and collaboration in driving the success and sustainable growth of First Nations businesses.

Through these subcommunities, entrepreneurs can harness the collective wisdom and experiences of their peers to overcome obstacles, seize opportunities, and contribute to the overall prosperity of the First Nations community.

Sustainability Model

The sustainability model section of the First Nations Canvas plays a vital role in ensuring the long-term viability and success of a First Nations business venture. It involves analysing costs, revenue streams, and the overall sustainability of the business, while keeping a strong focus on creating value for the community.

  1. Cost Analysis: Before embarking on any business venture, it is essential to conduct a comprehensive cost analysis. This involves identifying and evaluating the various costs associated with the operation, such as wages, infrastructure, input costs, marketing, and ongoing expenses. By understanding these costs, entrepreneurs can make informed decisions about pricing, resource allocation, and financial planning. In the context of the First Nations community, the cost analysis should also consider the potential for economies of scale. By identifying opportunities for cost efficiencies as the business grows, entrepreneurs can optimise their resources, reduce costs, and improve the overall efficiency of their operations. This, in turn, enables the business to generate greater value for the community.
  2. Revenue Streams: Alongside cost analysis, entrepreneurs must evaluate potential revenue streams for their First Nations business. This involves identifying and diversifying sources of income, such as product sales, services, partnerships, grants, or licensing agreements. By diversifying revenue streams, entrepreneurs can mitigate risks and create a more sustainable financial foundation for their business. It is important to consider the pricing strategy for products or services offered by the business. Understanding the target market, competitive landscape, and customer preferences helps in determining optimal pricing that strikes a balance between affordability for the community and profitability for the business. This ensures that the business generates adequate revenue to sustain its operations and create value for the community.
  3. Value Creation for the Community: Central to the sustainability model of the First Nations Canvas is a strong focus on creating value for the community. Entrepreneurs should consider how their business venture contributes to the well-being, prosperity, and self-determination of the First Nations community. This may include job creation, skills development, cultural preservation, environmental stewardship, or supporting local suppliers and businesses. By aligning the business’s objectives with the broader goals and values of the community, entrepreneurs can ensure that their ventures have a positive and lasting impact. This not only enhances the social and cultural fabric of the community but also builds trust and fosters community support for the business. Moreover, entrepreneurs should also consider the potential for reinvesting profits back into the community. By prioritising community-driven initiatives and social impact projects, entrepreneurs can further strengthen their ties with the community and contribute to its sustainable development.

The sustainability model within the First Nations Canvas emphasises the importance of creating businesses that are economically viable, socially responsible, and culturally relevant.

By conducting a comprehensive cost analysis, diversifying revenue streams, and focusing on value creation for the community, entrepreneurs can build sustainable enterprises that contribute to the overall prosperity and well-being of the First Nations community.

In conclusion, the sustainability model section provides a framework for entrepreneurs to assess the financial viability and long-term sustainability of their business ventures. By considering costs, revenue streams, and value creation for the community, entrepreneurs can create businesses that thrive economically while maintaining a strong focus on community well-being and cultural preservation.

The sustainability model ensures that First Nations businesses can sustainably contribute to the empowerment and prosperity of their communities for generations to come.

Indigenous Entrepreneurship Business Model: First Nations Canvas

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