How’s This For a Resume?: Blazing The Path For Indigenous Entrepreneurship

A risk-taker at heart, Dr. Rick Colbourne began his journey to award-winning professor on a rather non-traditional path: working with drug addicts on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, helping children with from poor backgrounds with learning and behavioural disabilities, touring North America and Europe as a singer/songwriter, and lastly, developing a file-sharing service for digital music.

It might then come as a surprise that he is a leading academic expert on Indigenous entrepreneurship. Rick (Fulbright Fellow in Indigenous Entrepreneurship, Adjunct Professor at UNBC) has both an MBA (Simon Fraser University) and a PhD (University of Cambridge) and has successfully transitioned his academic success into a demonstrated record of business leadership, working with Indigenous communities looking to create ventures which prioritize cultural, environmental, and socioeconomic values.

Owing to his storied resume, Rick is a previous recipient of the Government of Canada’s Deputy Minister’s Recognition Award for Collaboration and Partnerships. He and his team at SFU’s Learning Strategies Group were also awarded the Canadian council for Learning’s Award for Excellence in Learning, and he has received awards for Excellence in Teaching and Learning from both the University of Westminster and from the University of Northern British Columbia.

Rick is an engaging educator who is uniquely positioned to support the next generation of budding Indigenous entrepreneurs. As the former Dean of Indigenous Business and Director of the Ch'nook Scholars Program at the Sauder School of Business, Rick worked with Indigenous high school students, university students from 25 colleges and universities across British Columbia and Alberta, and senior Indigenous leaders to bring an Indigenous context and perspective to their business education and management studies to enable them to contribute to their communities and be successful in their studies and careers.

Fresh off his Fulbright position at the University of Arizona, Rick’s current focus reflects his passion for teaching and research. He is teaching on Indigenous and non-Indigenous graduate programs and developing Indigenous business courses based on his background and experience in bridging both worlds. His research reflects his own values for developing insights into how to promote sustainable Indigenous economic development, entrepreneurship, and governance practices that are responsive to a community’s cultural, environmental, and socioeconomic values and concerns.  

Rick is a member of the Mattawa/North Bay Algonquin First Nation in Northern Ontario, and is highly regarded for his growing contributions to Indigenous Entrepreneurship. In addition to sharing his message with students, he is known for providing thought leadership on how Indigenous communities can work with educational institutions, government, policy makers, and corporations to develop Indigenous-centric entrepreneurial ecosystems.

Along with co-organizing the Global Conference for Indigenizing Entrepreneurship (#GCIE2018) at Algonquin College, Rick will be hosting a plenary with Leo Dana (Marie Curie Fellow, Princeton University) and Ella Henry (Te Ara Poutama, Faculty of Māori Indigenous Development, Auckland University of Technology) to address the question, What is Indigenous Entrepreneurship? Attendees will be provided with a background in current work on the goals, values, and practices informing this conference theme.

The event, running June 3-5 2018, will held in Downtown Ottawa, on the unceded and unsurrendered territory of the Algonquin and Anishinabek peoples. It’s scheduled to bring a range of experts together to share best practices, compelling stories, and crucial insights on how Indigenous values, histories, and ways of knowing can transform entrepreneurial thinking.

For more information on the Global Conference on Indigenizing Entrepreneurship, and to register, click here.

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