Title: Development and conservation: indigenous businesses and the UNDP Equator Initiative

Authors: Fikret Berkes, Tikaram Adhikari

Addresses: Natural Resources Institute, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3T 2N2, Canada. ' Natural Resources Institute, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3T 2N2, Canada

Abstract: Does indigenous entrepreneurship have distinctive features? We explored resources used, benefits produced and nature of partnerships in 42 indigenous cases in the UNDP Equator Initiative database, mainly involving forestry, agro-forestry, agriculture, NTFPs, ecotourism and protected areas. The cases showed a strong focus on social enterprise and cultural values, and politics of resource access. Many indigenous groups sought control over their traditional lands as essential to rebuilding their societies, and indigenous entrepreneurship was often used as a tool towards self-governance. The cases were characterised by extensive networks, with a large number of partners at the same level of social and political organisation (horizontal inkages). Vertical linkages typically involved three or four levels of political organisation. These connections went far beyond business networking and included, for example, environmental knowledge building. Partnerships for training and institution building often involved NGOs or local-level government agencies or both, but rarely (N=2) non-indigenous joint ventures.

Keywords: indigenous businesses; entrepreneurship; conservation; development; community-based management; UNDP Equator Initiative; self-determination; social enterprise; cultural values; traditional knowledge; networks; resource access; self-governance; environmental knowledge building; partnerships; training; institution building; forestry; agro-forestry; agriculture; poverty reduction; empowerment; sustainable development; biodiversity.

DOI: 10.1504/IJESB.2006.010920

International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, 2006 Vol.3 No.6, pp.671 - 690

Published online: 18 Sep 2006 *

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