An Indigenous-owned digital agency and social enterprise is being honored as a “business of the year” in British Columbia. Jeff Ward founded the Victoria -based Animikii in 2003, becoming the first Indigenous-certified B Corp in Canada.
So far, 2019 has been a huge year for Animikii. The team has grown from 8 to 12 full-time team members, not counting their network of contractors and interns.
Their growth was bolstered by a $1 million investment from Raven Capital Partners for Animikii to develop Niiwin, a tool to promote Indigenous Data Sovereignty on a global scale. The $1 million in financing, announced in June, marked an historic event as it was “the largest investment of its kind to support an Indigenous technology social enterprise on Turtle Island,” Ward said. “We hope to lead the way for other Indigenous tech companies to access capital at this level in the future.”
Furthermore in 2019, Animikii has worked hard on its Giving Back and Social Impact programs “to not only donate time and money back into the community but also use our thought leadership in the Indigenous tech and business….” The company has shared its opinions on the importance of Indigenizing and diversifying your supply chain, objectively questioning the use of sacred iconography in design, recognizing what it means to be an Indigenous ally, and the benefits of incorporating traditional teachings into every aspect of a business.
Recently, the digital agency’s success has been recognized by the British Columbia Achievement Foundation with the 2019 BC Indigenous Business Awardee for Business of the Year in the 11+ person enterprise category.
The IBA program was launched in 2008 to honor and celebrate business excellence and, in its 11th year, boasts close to 200 remarkable businesses within its alumni. A total of 15 Indigenous businesses, entrepreneurs, partnership entities and community-owned enterprises will be recognized at this year’s Gala Dinner on October 17, 2019, at the Fairmont in Vancouver.
“We are also incredibly excited to announce that the entire Animikii team will attend the Gala to celebrate everyone’s amazing achievements!” Animikii recently shared. “When we first heard that we were receiving this award, the first emotion that welled in our hearts was Humility, for we know that if it weren’t for our clients and partnerships over the years we definitely wouldn’t have experienced the success we are so lucky to have today.”