Browsing Alaska Native Studies and Rural Development (DANSRD) by Author "Morrill, Gabrielle E."
Paving the way: an evaluation of small business support programs in the Kivalliq region of NunavutMorrill, Gabrielle E.; Sekaquaptewa, Patricia; Baker, Ron; Bell-Jones, Jenny; Brooks, Cathy (2018-12)Small businesses in Nunavut face many opportunities and challenges. The Government of Nunavut and Government of Canada have expressed a commitment to support small business development in Nunavut to promote economic development and improve socioeconomic conditions for Nunavummiut. The question is: how can they best do that? Nunavut has developed a complex business service network to support small business development. The network provides many products and services, particularly funding opportunities and advisory services. This research analyzes the history of economic and business development in the Kivalliq (southwest) region of Nunavut. This includes precolonial Inuit economic institutions, which are vastly different from western models, and the utilized strategies in the Nunavut business service network. Twenty-four open ended interviews were conducted with entrepreneurs and business service network employees to evaluate the realities of small businesses in Nunavut. Interviews were designed and studied from a social constructionist and phenomenological perspective. The primary issues that were identified in the Nunavut business service network were: low accountability; burdensome bureaucracy; poor effectiveness; lack of trust in business service employees; poor transparency; unreliable maintenance of confidentiality; and oversaturation of funders; and a need for greater communication between organizations. Most of these issues related more to non-repayable contributions programs than other forms of business service organizations. Contribution programs will be explored in greater detail. Recommendations were guided by ideas to increase the amount of support, both from a business counselling and funding perspective, for established businesses as opposed to start-ups; a need for greater accountability and transparency; methods to increase trust in business service employees; ways to improve communications between service organizations; and a need to reduce bureaucracy and streamline application processes. The final recommendations include restructuring financing programs, particularly contribution financing programs; establishing a mentorship program; creating a single-portal streamlined application for funding and site for information; adding additional metrics of evaluation, particularly for contribution financing programs; creating a pool of board members for business funding reviews; starting a business incubator or business advisory-only program; and establishing a stronger partnership with the Nunavut Arctic College in delivering training programs for business owners.