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First Nations Economic Development

We are grateful to be doing our work on the territories of the Coast Salish and Nuu-chah-nulth peoples, known today as Lkwungen peoples (Esquimalt and Songhees Nations), W̱ SÁNEĆ Nation (consisting of SȾÁUTW̱ – Tsawout, BOḰEĆEN – Pauquachin, W̱ JOȽEȽP – Tsartlip, and W̱ SIḴEM –Tseycum Nations), Scia’new Nation (Beecher Bay), T’Sou-ke Nation, Pacheedaht Nation and Malahat Nation. We respect and, in partnership, build on the traditional knowledge of the Indigenous peoples who have thrived and prospered in the south island for millennia.

The South Island is home to ten First Nation communities and over 17,000 Indigenous people, a rapidly growing population across the region.

SIPP supports First Nation-driven economic development activities by collaborating with communities, sharing leading practices, and creating a platform for broader collaboration. A key metric of our success is that First Nation communities direct and drive their own economic development initiatives.

The Songhees Innovation Centre is a co-working space for Indigenous entrepreneurs, freelancers, creatives, innovators, and problem-solvers based at the Songhees Wellness Centre. SIPP’s monthly IndigenousConnect forums are also hosted there.

The Songhees Innovation Centre began as a partnership between Songhees Nation and South Island Prosperity Partnership.

Since opening in 2017, business is booming! Some of the current tenants include:

  • Animikii

  • Brandigenous

  • Moose Hide Campaign

  • First Nations Financial Management Board

  • Tom Spetter Design

SIPP hosts IndigenousConnect, a monthly, face-to-face forum (typically hosted at the Songhees Innovation Centre) with a goal to engage Indigenous entrepreneurs, both on- and off-reserve, as well as First Nations economic development leaders to entrepreneurial endeavors.

The monthly forums are open to all Indigenous people throughout the South Island region. To register or to receive more information, please contact

Indigenous Prosperity Gathering

In November 2019, the inaugural South Island Indigenous Prosperity Gathering took place at the Songhees Wellness Centre.

The event was created to bring together Indigenous leadership to explore economic development priorities of the 10 First Nations on the South Island. The goal was to create a forum for dialogue to identify opportunities for collaboration, and to discuss potential economic development initiatives.

We are working alongside First Nations in the region to learn from their wisdom, goals, and aspirations directly related to their economic development initiatives. This was just the first event in what will be an ongoing dialogue between First Nations about what’s working, what needs to be done, and how to explore collaborative projects that might benefit multiple nations through equity, revenue-sharing, and jobs.

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