Tides Canada recently kicked off the first presentation of a new Lunch and Learn series where we heard from Canada’s first Indigenous-led and -owned social finance intermediary, Raven Indigenous Capital Partners (RICP). The managing partners Jeffrey Cyr, Paul Lacerte, and Stephen Nairne greeted and introduced themselves to the team before providing insight into RICP ’s work and its alignment with Tides Canada’s core values.
RICP helps combat the obstacles that have made it difficult for Indigenous entrepreneurs to thrive in the Canadian market. Their goal is to move towards a reconciliation economy by using impact investing, building strong relationships in the community, and empowering Indigenous entrepreneurs with the capital and expertise they need to succeed. In short, RICP helps to “breathe life into a re-emerging Indigenous economy”.
As Tides Canada has seen over the past 20 years, the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in Indigenous communities. However, passionate Indigenous entrepreneurs who work hard to advance their ventures often lack access to traditional funding and resources compared to non-Indigenous business owners, limiting opportunities for growth and scalability. RICP offers solutions by collaborating with Indigenous entrepreneurs to help strengthen their business models, providing bespoke consultations, and directing them to useful tools and resources. The team also offers investors the opportunity to invest in these enterprises, giving them competitive returns as they make a profound social and environmental impact.
Throughout the Lunch and Learn, both parties saw the strong ways in which RICP aligns with Tides Canada’s vision of a healthy environment, social equity, and economic prosperity for all Canadians. Raven Capital’s work actively advances this vision by leveling the playing field and providing Indigenous entrepreneurs with the means to achieve their business goals. Similarly, several of Tides Canada’s shared platform projects encourage community leadership and foster vibrant, strong, healthy, and sustainable Indigenous initiatives across Canada.
The partners’ efforts to empower Indigenous communities are not limited to the already extensive work conducted at RICP. Towards the end of the presentation, Paul discussed the Moose Hide Campaign, a project he started in the summer of 2011. This campaign was inspired by a moose hunt with his daughter near the Highway of Tears, a notorious highway in British Columbia where many Indigenous women have gone missing or been murdered. After some reflection, Paul, with the help of family and friends, cut up and distributed moose hide squares to inspire men to become involved in the movement to end violence towards women and children. To date, over one million squares have been distributed, sparking innumerous conversations and local campaigns all over the country.
Our first Lunch and Learn of the season allowed the team to engage and learn more about an organization whose goals align closely with that of Tides Canada. Jeffrey, Paul, and Stephen not only provided us with information and context for their work at Raven Indigenous Capital Partners, but also inspired us with their passion for empowering Indigenous people and creating a safer world for marginalized communities. We are thankful that they shared their story and their expertise with us as we to continue to strive for environmental, economic, and social equity among all Canadians.