Author: ICN

Indigenous Women Entrepreneurs’ Mindset is Different

Most entrepreneurs know that regardless of the owner’s cultural heritage, for a business to succeed it must be built on solid business practices with an added dose of luck. Many people recognize that female-owned businesses make a key contribution to household incomes and economic growth. However, for most Indigenous women when launching a business their primary goal is to create “abundance” which they can there share with their family and community. To exemplify the concept of “abundance” here is two brief stories learned from our 2017 proof of concept project where Indigenous women entrepreneurs were matched with experienced business people who provided support to entrepreneurs’ quest for specific business knowledge. For Shaylene Johnson, her small e-commerce business enables her to provide for her after-school children’s activities.  Jenn Harper owner of Cheekbone Beauty, a cosmetic online business gives First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada 10% of her profits from all purchases. In her first year of operation, she gave $1,705 and had her school board match her donation. In reading about these two Indigenous entrepreneurs non-Indigenous entrepreneurs may react by saying well these two women have simply used the profits of their small business as they saw fit. Of course, in all cases, there needs to be after tax revenues if the money is to be spent. But the point I am trying to make here is the...

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Why Should a Buyer Choose You?

Ever had the feeling of banality when asked by a potential buyer — why should we choose your company to deliver the goods or services we need? Do you get the feeling every time you open your mouth to try to tell someone that your company is special and they should hire you because you are the best in your field, it comes out so banal? You end up sounding like your competitors, no real differentiator, but you know deep inside of you, your company is better than these other guys. In the years you have been in business you likely have developed business processes that are unique to you. Perhaps you haven’t couch your processes on paper just yet, but you know from experience every time you implement these processes you reach new levels of efficiencies.  Perhaps these efficiencies translate in a faster delivery of a product or service; perhaps the efficiencies are the result of new design resulting in economies of scale. Whatever it is, these processes are your difference maker, lay them out on paper, do the math and cost them out, and identify the benefits that result. Let’s look at an example, let’s say you specialized in refurbishing jewelry stores; your refurbishing cost may be similar or little more expensive than your competitor, but your processes enable you to deliver a refurbishing job one week...

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Generating renewable energy from a wood floor

How do you make a renewable, natural, oxygen-producing, CO2-storing material even more sustainable? Make it as close to zero-waste as possible. Wood waste left over after milling lumber already gets put to myriad valuable uses, from paper products to biomass fuel, and a new innovation will actually enable it to produce clean energy. Engineers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have discovered a way to manufacture wood floors embedded with wood pulp nanofibers that generate electricity when you step on them. Chemically treated, tiny cellulose fibers within the waste pulp produce an electrical charge when they come in contact with untreated nano...

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