As an Inuit-driven company, Kaapittiaq is trying to push new boundaries in defining what an Inuit business model is and can further be. While we recognize the importance of upholding more mainstream business models in order to be financially viable, we are striving to outline what can be termed an ambicultural governance model or Two-Eyed Seeing in order to define a new path for Indigenous business that can stay true to traditional values and also be viable in a global economy. This model involves a continuous process of understanding problems and opportunities through both traditional and business lenses.
Below are some examples of how we use Inuit Qaujimatuqangit to frame our business and ensure that we remain true to its cultural foundations.
Decision making through discussion and consensus.
Our social enterprise is owned by a collective, not an individual. Our Board of Directors, founders and decision-makers are Inuit Elders and Nunavut residents who celebrate their culture and communities and want to see them thrive. We draw from our team’s diverse knowledge and experience to chart the best routes forward for our business, and to seek balance in the decisions we make.
Respect and care for the land, animals, and the environment.
Inuit culture is inseparable from the land. We recognize that our continued survival hinges on a respectful contract with the world around us. Our company realizes this approach in business by finding innovative ways to recycle, reuse, and repurpose. We partner with Indigenous groups across the globe to source coffee beans grown in a sustainable manner. We measure our company’s environmental success by the eco-awareness it inspires, and the lack of footprints it leaves behind.
Development of skills through observation, mentoring, practice and effort.
Inuit traditions of teaching rely on factors of patience, watching, and sharing. In building Kaapittiaq, we have gradually introduced new skills and knowledge to our community, so that we might share them with others. We continue to learn from our accomplishments and mistakes, and build them into a stronger approach. We prioritize the involvement of Inuit women in entrepreneurship, providing them with the training and skills to amplify their presence and position themselves as future leaders.
Working together for a common cause
Indigenous communities are stronger when working as one. At Kaapittiaq, we partner Inuit across generations, geographic regions and northern/urban divides to share expertise, learn from one another, and build a collective vision. We strengthen Indigenous to Indigenous business networks around the world to foster shared economic benefit, knowledge exchange, and harness the power of global Indigenous voice. Perhaps most importantly, we forge new relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, highlighting cross-cultural teaching, learning and support as a foundation for collectively moving forwards.