Purpose – This case study aims to explore the affect of Canadian Inuit culture on recognizing opportunities from caribou when participating in the bio economy and decision making and benefit sharing considerations for Inuit partnerships arsing from the northern bioeconomy. Design/methodology/approach – This Inuit case study in northern Canada combined Elder interviews, a focus group and product elicitation techniques. First, the Inuit identified traditional uses of caribou for health care. Second, they explored its potential uses for biomedicines, nutraceuticals and functional foods. Third, they discussed partnerships for development and benefits that should result. Findings – Inuit had the right to develop and sell caribou products. Decisions about products and processes should be up to the community. Ensuring food security was critical. They preferred partnering with Inuit and northern businesses and government. University and business partnerships needed to provide ongoing monetary and non‐monetary benefits such as employment, new skills and knowledge, and networks. Research limitations/implications – Conclusions based on one case study need to be confirmed by surveying other Inuit communities. Future research should also include Inuit youth. Practical implications – This research provides an increased understanding of the commons, the use of traditional resources, food security and the interaction of Indigenous culture on opportunity recognition for policy makers, businesses, indigenous communities, and university researchers. Originality/value – This research paper integrates commons, indigenous entrepreneurship, opportunity recognition and bioeconomy. Furthermore, it provides the Inuit with a voice which they feel has been lacking in the business literature.
Journal of Enterprising Communities: People and Places in the Global Economy – Emerald Publishing
Published: Aug 10, 2012
Keywords: Indigenous entrepreneurship; Culture; Northern Canada; Inuit; Commercial caribou; Opportunity recognition; Innovation; Bio economy; Entrepreneurialism
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