As the country’s largest incubator supporting First Nations (status and non-status), Inuit and Métis entrepreneurs and innovators, the City of Toronto is working with the local Indigenous community to develop the Indigenous Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (ICIE). The ICIE is a space committed to empowering Indigenous entrepreneurs and innovators in pursuing their entrepreneurial goals by providing various services, such as business programming, advisory services, mentorship supports, shared co-workspace, community event space and connections to business networks.
The ICIE will be managed and governed by an Indigenous-led organization or consortium chosen through an Indigenous-led transparent selection process. The ICIE has been featured by the CBC in 2018 and 2019, and by BetaKit in 2021.
The project is progressing with several key milestones:
The ICIE facility is situated in a street-accessed commercial and community space located at 200 Dundas Street East. Indigenous cultural elements are designed and embedded throughout the interior and exterior space. The ICIE will comprise over 22,000 sq. ft. of commercial space spread over three floors:
The ICIE is the City of Toronto’s largest economic development reconciliation project that addresses both the Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls for Action 92 released in August 2021 and the City of Toronto’s Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) released in April 2023. To ensure that the ICIE meets the needs and values of the Indigenous business community, it will be governed and managed by an Indigenous-led Operator.
In 2019, the City of Toronto established a Leadership Advisory Circle (LAC), consisting of Indigenous entrepreneurs, business professionals, community leaders and elders, to provide guidance, feedback and support with decision-making in the development of the ICIE in a culturally significant way. The LAC will dissolve once the ICIE Operator is in place.
The City of Toronto is currently accepting expressions of interest from organizations interested in forming partnerships or co-locating at the ICIE. The ICIE is scheduled to open in 2024. Please be aware that this application serves as a preliminary expression of interest, and final decisions will be made by the Indigenous-led Operator.
Indigenous-owned businesses are experiencing remarkable growth, with more than 8.5 per cent increase in GDP attributable to Indigenous entrepreneurship and reaching $48.9 billion in 2020 (up from $41.7 billion in 2012). View more research and publications highlighting Indigenous entrepreneurial growth from the Canadian Council of Aboriginal Business.