BC First Nations engagement in the Digital Economy.
First Nations in BC could not have survived this long without adapting to new challenges and increasingly challenging environments. Our resilience founded on our leadership and cultural strength has enabled continued growth.
The FNBDA, created in 2020 and comprised of BC First Nations owned Development Corporations, supports their efforts to successfully engage in traditional economies, forestry and fisheries, and has developed a working strategy to engage in the new digital economy.
Canada’s digital economic sector is growing faster than the general economy and is valued at almost $100 Billion annually towards Canada’s GDP. To 2019, this sector was growing at a pace of nearly 5% per year, which is more than triple the general economy.
The ongoing growth and development of this sector represents a new opportunity for BC First Nations.
This is an opportunity not without inherent challenges; most notably there is a digital divide between First Nation communities and the balance of the province. In BC, of the 203 First Nation communities 102 (50%) need infrastructure upgrades to meet digital equity with mainstream Canada. BC organizations First Nations Technology Council and Pathways to Technology (ANTCO) are working hard to address this infrastructure gap.
To create a bridge between First Nation and their business interests and the BC Digital Economy the FNBDA has created a Digital Strategy. Key to this strategy, is a working partnership with Innovate BC. Innovate BC is a BC Crown Corporation tasked to grow BC’s technology sector and support economic development.
Over the next few months, guided by our strategy, we will focus on the following key areas.
- Awareness and Education
- Investment and Financing
- Indigenous Technology Eco-system Development
- Technology to support self-determination
Our initial work will be to engage the FNBDA membership and members of Innovate BC’s technology eco-system to meet each other, create mutual understanding and discuss opportunities to work together.
We are excited to pursue this opportunity and are grateful to Innovate BC for their support and involvement in this initiative.