Speaker Series on Aboriginal Issues 2017 — Indigenous Community Enterprises in the Andes: Challenges and Opportunities

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Date created
2017-03-28
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Abstract
The field of Indigenous entrepreneurship arose from inquiries into the nature of entrepreneurship among diverse cultural groups, highlighting that the standard conception of the innovative, risk-taking individual does not accurately describe entrepreneurship by marginalized populations (Indigenous, immigrant, etc.) (Anderson, 2006; Mitchell, 1999). Indigenous entrepreneurship tends to have a collective orientation in structure or distribution of benefits (Swinney, 2007). Research with Indigenous communities in the Peruvian Andes shows that the community-based enterprise is a common model — in which the community acts “corporately as both entrepreneur and enterprise in pursuit of the common good” (Peredo & Chrisman, 2006). For profit activities are established to generate revenues for health and education services or to retain and regenerate traditional cultural practices.This research explores several cases of Indigenous-run community enterprises in Bolivia and Ecuador — tracing their characteristics, benefits and challenges for contributing to well-being in the broadest sense. The potential contribution of such enterprises to self-determination is also discussed.SPEAKER BIOGretchen Ferguson (Hernandez) is Associate Director, International and Researcher with the Centre for Sustainable Community Development. She has spent over 20 years engaged in applied research and professional practice in Latin America and Canada related to sustainable communities, community economic development, Indigenous economic development and decolonization, social economy, and measuring the impacts of development projects and initiatives. She teaches courses regularly in Sustainable Community Development, Development and Sustainability, and Human Geography in the Faculty of Environment. Gretchen holds a PhD in Geography from Simon Fraser University, a Masters in Community and Regional Planning from the University of British Columbia, and a Bachelor's degree in International Relations from Concordia University.
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