Impact Investing in the Indigenous Context

Indigenous issues remain at the forefront of Canadian policy, with many communities still lacking the necessary infrastructure and services related to water, education, economic development, and health. While these issues have traditionally been targeted by government, non-profits and charities, we believe that private investors can play a role as well. This report seeks to answer a crucial question that has been under-examined in the Canadian impact investment market: What is being done by impact investors, and how can the sector contribute to the betterment of Indigenous communities in Canada?

Working with Purpose Capital, we produced this report to inform and advise Canadian impact investors looking to engage with Indigenous communities. We were able to highlight areas that merit more attention from the Canadian impact investment sector – including the need for more sources of patient capital to catalyze investment, educating private investors on the complexities of the issues, and training Indigenous trusts’ financial managers in values integration into their decisions.

We hope that the reader, like us, will derive from the report the finding that investors of all shapes and sizes can play a role. As with any wicked problem, there will not be a “one-size-fits-all” solution – rather, it will require experimentation and risk-taking from pioneering investors to pave the way for meaningful progress. In the final section of this report, we provide concrete recommendations for many different players in impact investing, including policymakers, entrepreneurs, private and public investors alike.

At SauderS3i, we have a strong history in First Nations economic development. The communities we have worked with possess an abundance of knowledge through their cultural heritage and traditions. Since 2007, SauderS3i has worked in partnership with Indigenous communities to explore pathways to develop thriving economies while preserving values and culture. Coupled with our expertise in impact investing, we sought to understand the market for Indigenous impact investments, and the existing gaps that impact investors can fill. Moving forward, we will take the findings from this report to advise the network of investors, policymakers, and entrepreneurs we work with. With all the progress being made in Canada’s social finance sector, we believe it is imperative we consider how impact investing can contribute to creating meaningful progress in Canadian Indigenous issues.

Click here for the Executive Summary.
Visit here for the full report.