Kelly Lendsay won’t let up. He’s a relentless advocate for a five-step plan for development in Aboriginal communities. He designed the agenda at the Aboriginal Entrepreneurs Conference and Trade Show (AECTS) around these five steps.
Here’s why: “There’s a big focus on resource development,” Lendsay explains, “because what’s under development, particularly in northern Canada, are natural resources.
“You’re in a remote area. A company wants to develop, to engage with your community to create opportunities. A road and an airport are going to come in. How ready is your community to a change in its social and economic fabric?”
It isn’t just how an individual entrepreneur might take advantage of business opportunities. It’s more about how Aboriginal communities can avoid becoming roadkill in the path of development by participating in development on their own terms.
“This is where I get really excited. What if employers, Aboriginal communities and entrepreneurs looked at this in terms of their accountabilities? What can each of them do? What roles do they play? And if they work together, we can actually make these opportunities happen faster and take full advantage of them.”
Lendsay says it all begins with an assessment by the community.
“Tell me what the 10 or 20 opportunities for the community are and put them on the table today. Educate our communities about these opportunities. That requires the companies to share that with us.
“Vice versa, companies want to know that our communities are getting ready to take advantage of these opportunities. That’s how we work together as a team toward the same objectives.
“Entrepreneurs, contracts and employment for Aboriginal people.”
That’s just step one. Other steps include planning and design, start up, operations and even wind down, planning for the end of a project.
You can visit the Aboriginal Human Resources Council (AHRC) website for more information or download the “Navigation Guide: Major Developments – Aboriginal Partnerships” at www.aboriginalhr.ca.