Raven’s investees are creating social impact through Indigenous identity, tradition, and knowledge
June 9, 2021
The Raven leadership team’s dedication to social impact investment, decolonization, and the revitalization of the Indigenous economy is not a mission they expect to take on alone. Every business that Raven invests in has a social mandate to uplift Indigenous People and give back.
To be seen and acknowledged can be especially important for Indigenous People – validation changes and inspires lives. Jennifer Harper, the founder of Cheekbone Beauty, started her digitally native cosmetics company with $500 in her pocket and a dream that Indigenous People deserve to be seen in a multi-billion-dollar industry. Raven’s belief that an investment’s worth is founded in people is reflective in how Jennifer strives to create positive changes in her community. Rooted in their ties to Indigenous identity, respect and tradition, Cheekbone Beauty is committed to sustainability – biodegradable packaging, vegetable dyes, and reducing plastic waste. Cheekbone Beauty has donated over $108,000 to worthwhile causes, including Shannen’s Dream, an education program for Indigenous youth that aims to provide students with the same opportunities afforded to non-Indigenous youth, but one that respects Indigenous languages and culture.
Cheekbone Beauty writes on their website: “True to our roots, Cheekbone’s definition of success is not based on what you attain for yourself, but instead in what you give back to your community.”
Bobbie Racette is the founder of Virtual Gurus, a talent-as-a-service digital solution for businesses that need trained, remote administrative workers. Virtual Gurus is an inclusive, diverse atmosphere that fosters equity and provides folx an opportunity to succeed. Bobbie focuses on hiring people who have a hard time finding work because of their identity: 95 per cent of Virtual Gurus’ admins are female, 65 per cent are People of Colour, and 45 per cent are part of the LGBTQ2S+ community. Virtual Gurus also supports charities across Canada, including the Native Women’s Association of Canada, the Black Youth Helpline, and the Rainbow Foundation of Hope – an organization that supports refugees, many of whom identify as LGBTQ2S+.
Jeff Ward is the founder of Animikii, a digital agency that drives innovation through decolonization, innovation, and Indigenous technology. Animikii is a Certified B Corporation, a business that meets “the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose.” Jeff is committed to social impact investment and building a sovereign Indigenous Nation by inspiring and providing opportunities for Indigenous youth – it is Jeff’s vision that one day Indigenous People will be known for their prowess with technology. In 2019, Animikii donated $26,000 to monetary funds, scholarships, and in-kind donations.
Animikii writes on their website: “Our impact focuses on creating equitable outcomes for Indigenous Peoples. We achieve this every day through our work in supporting the Indigenous Innovation and Reconciliation movements with our skills and resources. By being an example of an Indigenous-focused tech company, we hope to inspire the next generation of Indigenous Youth to choose technology and entrepreneurship as a career path. We believe that investing in technology is the path forward for economic justice, self-sufficiency, and equitable outcomes for Indigenous Peoples and advocate that economic development initiatives transition away from resource extraction to knowledge-based economies.”
Social Awareness Group Inc. (SAG) is a tech-enabled, software-as-a-solution organization that advocates for folx by providing “insights and resolution on impact from an Indigenous lens, a lens examining the impact with Equity Seeking Groups, a local lens and a lens that examines the role socially-focused organizations have towards community impact.” Aaron Lambie, the CEO and Founder of SAG, has developed a digital tool with his team, called Nisto Link, that measures social and Indigenous impact. The tool is combined with SAG’s diversity.me system, which has created a safe place for employees who may not feel comfortable disclosing personal details about their diverse identities. The system also enables employers to foster an environment of inclusion without forcing employees to disclose information or give up sensitive information and privacy. SAG is developing a new program in the third quarter of 2021, called wellbeing.me, which measures if a corporation’s decisions have a social impact.
Raven Indigenous Capital Partners has built a community of strong, innovative, and forward-thinking Indigenous businesses that care about Indigenous communities, identity, and sovereignty.