Indigenous Entrepreneurship Program

Indigenous Entrepreneurship Program

Tribal Link’s focus on indigenous entrepreneurship began with a series of consultations. We wanted to find out where the greatest needs were in the area of entrepreneurship, and what we found was that indigenous communities were interested in becoming sustainable in their own right. We found that many indigenous communities had an interest in gaining access to international markets—local markets were not enough. It was extremely important to indigenous communities to create partnerships with the international business community in a fair and equitable way; too many communities had been exploited.

In May 2009, Tribal Link, in cooperation with the Natural Resources Stewardship Circle of the Aromatic, Perfume, and Cosmetics industry (NRSC) and the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), held the Indigenous and Local Communities, Business and Biodiversity Consultation. The two-day meeting was attended by 70 people, including business, indigenous and local communities; relevant UN officials; and government representatives. This historic meeting exposed the NRSC to indigenous experts and community representatives who openly expressed their interest and concerns about the NRSC’s initiative. Working groups were formed (comprised of indigenous representatives and NRSC members) to draft guidelines for working together in the most mutually equitable and sustainable ways. A procedural report and initial draft guidelines were adopted.

Download Final Report Initial Draft Guidelines


Currently, Tribal Link is helping facilitate the linking of the NRSC and indigenous and local communities who are interested in working together on pilot projects that will help to put the guidelines into action.

Advancing indigenous entrepreneurship is one of Tribal Link Foundation’s priorities.

Plans include:


• Fostering a network of regional indigenous focal points to coordinate and inform the activities of the Indigenous Entrepreneurship Program (IEP)
• Creating an information-exchanging platform online which enables indigenous peoples to share best practices with each other
• Linking indigenous people’s projects, proposals, and ideas to the appropriate private sector or institutional partners
• Organizing meetings, conferences, workshops, briefings, consultations, and roundtables for indigenous peoples

Focus Areas:
  1. Capacity development for both indigenous people and the private sector
  2. Toolkits: business skills development, online and in person
  3. Trainings
  4. Two-way mentoring: business-indigenous peoples
  5. Peer-to-peer learning (indigenous-to-indigenous exchange visits, etc.)
  6. Resource information/Information gathering/Information Clearinghouse
  7. Access to funds, investors, markets, and information related to business

Planned Activities

• Design and launch an online platform and list serve connecting indigenous peoples’ organizations, networks, and partners, and cataloging UN training programs, funds and projects available to indigenous peoples
• Harvest best practice examples from the field of indigenous business and indigenous-private sector collaboration
• Develop training and mentorships as needed