DEVELOPMENT CORPORATIONS IN ABORIGINAL COMMUNITIES:
Vol. Volume 14 Number 1 March/2009
This study examines the historical development of corporate governance structures in First Nations communities in British Columbia, where development corporations are employed to assist privately-owned and community-owned entrepreneurial enterprises. First Nations entrepreneurial activity functions in an environment where business must market to a global economy while preserving traditional values, beliefs and other cultural elements. A brief history of First Nations and their enterprise development efforts is presented. Empirical research findings describe the close relationship between local community and corporate goals and identify conflicts of interest between political leaders and management of development corporations. The evidence demonstrates entrepreneurial success and economic development of First Nations communities rely on an independent decision-making process within business development corporations. An alternative business model is developed utilizing the empirical research, social enterprise literature and the unique regional cooperative model of the Mondragon region of Spain. The new model respects the land base and other environmental and social values while providing a framework for economic success. Exploration of this unique enterprise-to-region development model, which incorporates consideration for the natural environment and social and cultural values, offers lessons to other societies and regions that will assist in the movement toward an economic system based on concepts of sustainability.
Entrepreneurial development, corporate governance, First Nations, Aboriginal peoples, sustainable community development.