31 Mar Shopify
Shopify is helping Indigenous entrepreneurs across Canada and New Zealand achieve success without leaving their communities and without sacrificing their values or potential profitability. Meyer is a Mètis mother, teacher, artist, entrepreneur, and intrapreneur currently living and working on unceded Algonquin territory. She has cultivated expertise in the co-creation of culturally relevant, place-based STEM and adult education. Her teaching has reached over 1.25 million Canadian youth from coast to coast to coast. In her spare time, Jace consults with youth-serving organizations and is a BMW World Responsible Leader. After designing and developing Shopify’s Research and Development onboarding program—the RnD Camp— Jace worked with Shopify to respond to the Truth and Reconciliation calls to action. “I worked with Shopify, as a Canadian-owned business, to respond to Call to Action #92 and prioritize supporting Indigenous entrepreneurs as a means to contribute to economic reconciliation,” she says. As a result of her internal advocacy, Meyer was named global lead for Indigenous entrepreneurs in May 2018 and chosen to spearhead Shopify’s Indigenous-focused initiatives. Shopify is a global commerce company headquartered in Ottawa, Ontario. They offer trusted tools to start, grow, market, and manage a retail business of any size, for over 1 million businesses worldwide. Shopify’s services include payment processing, marketing, shipping, and customer engagement tools. Meyer’s role is to ensure that more Indigenous people are aware of and have access to Shopify’s tools. She has also worked to develop wise practices on how to educate Indigenous entrepreneurs at scale. She also works to improve Shopify’s Indigenous-focused products to better match the Indigenous-experience, including operating in low bandwidth, slow internet locations. I N D I G E N O M I C S 1 0 T O W A T C H L I S T J U N E 2 0 1 9 | I N D I G E N O M I C S I N S T I T U T E ‘ S E N T R E P R E N E U R S H I P “The Indigenous worldview of commerce is that of shared prosperity and a sharing economy, ” Meyer says. E N T R E P R E N E U R S H I P All of this is helping to make the benefits of the direct-to-consumer (DTC) movement available to Indigenous entrepreneurs and communities. “The DTC movement makes it possible for Indigenous people to make a living without leaving their communities or sacrificing their values,” says Meyer. “This independence means people can earn their fair share of the profit without dependence on others to get their products to market.” But for Meyer, engaging in entrepreneurship is about more than jobs, markets, and even independence. “Entrepreneurship was a contributing factor to my own family’s healing journey,” she says. “I wanted to build a global Indigenous entrepreneurship strategy to help effectively break the cycle of intergenerational trauma for my family and community. I hope that any other interested Indigenous person could do that as a means to find self-actualization.” It’s that self-actualization that forms the core of Reconciliation and that will lead to Indigenous-led solutions. Meyer would like to reassure anybody that is questioning whether or not becoming an entrepreneur is the right thing to do. She offers this advice to would-be Indigenous entrepreneurs, “when you build in a circular economy, you can be confident that your efforts will come full-circle. There is less risk because you’re not taking a competition perspective. Rather, you’re taking the perspective of partnership and cocreation. I think that leads to solutions faster, solutions that will sustain themselves for years and years to come, which is the most valuable type of business you can build.” Meyer believes that this unique approach to entrepreneurship is fundamental to the Indigenous economy. “The Indigenous worldview of commerce is that of shared prosperity and a sharing economy,” she says. “So rather than thinking that we need new ideas to solve for the future of commerce, it’s actually a return to the wisdom of our ancestors in order to ensure that what we’re putting into the world is regenerative in nature.” Meyer’s message to others seeking to build the Indigenous economy is “to be clear about your values and to develop tripwires that help you pay attention if you’re deviating from those values. Know that what you’re doing is unique and by default is challenging the status quo. This is your differentiator and your superpower. You might be the first, it might be hard, but let that inspire you and re-inspire you as you continue to push your ideas forward.