Bob Joseph Jr. has worked for years facilitating courses that teach participants how to effectively include Indigenous relations in day-to-day jobs.
Last month, he was recognized for the time he's put into creating respectful relationships in the workplace.
Indigenous Corporate Training Inc. (ICT) was named Business of the Year by the 2021 BC Achievement Foundation's Indigenous Business Awards in the three-to-10 person enterprise category.
The virtual ceremony celebrated First Nations entrepreneurs and business leaders through a series of digital presentations on Oct. 25.
"For me, this is about a cause. If you give people helpful information and tips on what to do, they can do it. I'm a big believer of 1,000 little things by 1,000 people versus one big thing by one big person," explained Joseph in a video.
"I got into this business working for a big corporation who needed the help eternally, but other people started to find out about what we were doing [...] eventually I set out on my own to do Indigenous awareness training. I've trained everybody from the Ontario SPCA to the Fortune 100 companies and retailers and church groups; it really is just a neat thing."
ICT was created in 2002 and has since incorporated several different platforms to deliver its training courses, including virtually.
In its description, the business has helped thousands of people and organizations every year build informed, effective, and respectful relationships with Indigenous Peoples and communities.
"I'm able to infuse my traditional cultural stuff with the work that I do and share knowledge about culture and community and how to do business with non-Indigenous peoples," Joseph added.
"That's really a big goal for us is to try to create an army of people who want to change things, who want to do reconciliation, either as Canadians or Canadians with careers or help their families, whatever that may be."
Joseph and ICT were selected for its business of the year by a three-person jury panel.
More than 200 businesses have been recognized by the Indigenous Business Award program since 2008, including eight for the 2021 edition:
- Young Entrepreneur of the Year
- Elijah Mack-Stirling – Kekuli Cafe, Merritt
- Business of the Year – one-to-two person enterprise
- Sisters Sage, Vancouver
- Business of the Year – 11+ person enterprise
- Tsawwassen Shuttles Inc., Tsawwassen
- Community-Owned Business of the Year – one entity
- Thunderbird RV Park & Cottage Resort, Campbell River
- Community-Owned Business of the Year – two or more entities
- Gitmaxmak‘ay Nisga’a Economic Development Corporation, Prince Rupert
- Business Partnership of the Year
- Salish Seas LP, North Vancouver
- Award of Distinction for Lifetime Achievement
- Ken Cameron, Moberly Lake
"The Indigenous enterprises being recognized with an Indigenous Business Award provide new opportunities and stronger relationships, and help make all of our communities more resilient, inclusive and prosperous," said BC Achievement Foundation Chair Anne Giardini in a news release.
"Each year, the award program shows ways we can all benefit from integrating the practices of the past with the economies of the future."
The Tri-City News' sister publication Business in Vancouver is a media sponsor of the Indigenous Business Award program.