Vancity is a proud founding partner of the Indigenous Prosperity Centre (IPC), an Indigenous-led economic development branch of the South Island Prosperity Partnership. Based in Victoria and located on the traditional lands of the lək̓ʷəŋən (Lekwungen) Peoples, the IPC was developed in 2021 to ensure that British Columbia’s rebound from the pandemic includes equitable economic opportunities.
"Being a founding partner of the Indigenous Prosperity Centre is a part of how we are acting on our commitment to meaningful Reconciliation," says Michelle Laviolette, Vancity’s Director of Indigenous Banking Strategy. “Our partnerships with First Nation communities are built upon genuine engagement and customized financial solutions aimed at enhancing economic participation.”
“The Indigenous Prosperity Centre will create a connection point for Indigenous business and communities. We have all the ingredients for a thriving economy with shared prosperity for everyone and our environment,” says Christina Clarke, IPC’s Executive Director.
The IPC focuses its work on supporting the growth and development of Indigenous Peoples and businesses. It acts as a hub for information sharing, research, training and development, and is a convener for business procurement.
Projects planned include saving Indigenous small businesses money through coordinated wholesale purchasing, conducting research into disaster response and sea conservation with an Indigenous lens, and running an entrepreneur readiness program, among many other ideas.
Indigenous economies existed before Canada and Indigenous entrepreneurs will continue to be a driving force of the country’s economy. These concepts are echoed and explored in Wealth Mindset, Vancity’s Indigenous-focused financial literacy workshop.
It’s also why Vancity supports initiatives that provide Indigenous businesses and entrepreneurs fair access to finance, such as business support services at Stó:lo Community Futures, microfinancing start-up lending at Canadian Centre for Aboriginal Entrepreneurship, and the Raven Capital Indigenous Impact Fund, Canada’s first Indigenous-led and -owned investment firm.
Vancity has been an active part of the South Island community since 1997 and continues to serve members in four full-service community branches in Victoria. A member of the South Island Prosperity Partnership since 2018, Vancity signed a three-year agreement this year to be the Catalyst Sponsor of the annual Rising Economy Conference.
“We joined the South Island Prosperity Partnership (SIPP) because of our shared commitment to an economic growth that includes everyone in the community,” explains Michelle Laviolette. “We work with local organizations that build financial resilience to increase their community impact.”
Vancity partners with First Nation communities on Vancouver Island to increase economic participation and create Indigenous-focused financial solutions. We also work with local organizations that serve Indigenous communities, including the Victoria Native Friendship Centre and the BC Association of Friendship Centres.
Vancity’s vision is a transformed economy that protects the earth and guarantees equity for all. And the credit union uses finance as a force of change to improve the lives of its members and communities. Michelle adds, “We listen to the problems facing our communities and we take action to address them. That includes the South Island region and all the people who live here.”
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