Business Culture Entrepreneur Society Sponsored Startups Technology Women Who Lead

Meta Launches We Create to Support Indigenous-Owned Businesses

Sponsored By Meta

Ahead of the holidays, Meta is helping three Indigenous, women-led businesses find creative ways to engage new customers and help them meet their business objectives. Meta’s latest Global State of Small Business Report revealed that digital tools have played an outsized role in generating sales for minority-led businesses, and that women-led small businesses used digital tools at higher rates and generated more online sales. In partnership with grassroots Indigenous entrepreneurship accelerator Pow Wow Pitch, Meta has launched We Create, an initiative that unites brands MINI TIPI, Standing Spruce Farm & Apothecary and Shades of Gray Indigenous Pet Treats with Indigenous creators and creative agencies to launch Instagram-first ad campaigns on Meta’s platforms.

Small businesses know the struggle of growing a brand. It takes time, money, great people, and before anything else, a stellar product. Online marketing has transformed the business environment over the last decade to allow growth from anywhere, despite the competitive, diverse, and sometimes hard-to-reach marketplace. But small businesses not equipped with the resources of a big company can struggle to stand out from the crowd. As the Indigenous economy grows, and is estimated to reach $100 billion by 2025, Meta is focused on levelling the playing field for Indigenous entrepreneurs who rely on digital tools to grow their businesses and fuel this economic growth.

“As a new business, creating a marketing plan and finding space for your product can be overwhelming,” says Standing Spruce founder Lesley Assu. “Digital marketing makes success for a small company like mine much more attainable.”

Assu, the founder of wellness company Standing Spruce Farm & Apothecary, is one of few Indigenous farmers in Campbell River, British Columbia, carrying a wide range of sustainably wildcrafted remedies and skin care products. Lesley focuses on sharing the ingredient’s spiritual origins and the intention behind them.

With the help of creator Shayla Stonechild and director Sean Stiller, Standing Spruce focused on developing strong brand video, including Reels to educate people on the traditional ingredients and methods to use their products.

“It is immeasurably fulfilling to share my culture meaningfully,” says Assu. “Our company started as a way to heal my family, eventually leading us to help others in our territory. Standing Spruce is a means of sharing our culture and history with the younger generation.”

“We faced obstacles reaching clients with such a small budget,” says Keri Gray, owner of Ontario-based Indigenous pet treats company Shades of Gray, in a sentiment that Assu echoed. “We have streamlined this with Meta.”

Shades of Grey Founder Keri Grey

Shades of Gray sells single-ingredient pet treats manufactured in Canada and seeks to share the benefits of raw and dehydrated pet food made with 100% percent meat in helping pets live longer and healthier.

“Our product helps pets struggling with allergies and other conditions. Participating in the We Create initiative changed my perspective on small business marketing, creating impact, and making a difference,” says Keri. Meta engaged storyteller Sarain Fox along with branding agency Creative Fire to develop engaging Reels content for Shades of Gray, while leaning on pet humour to catch the viewer’s attention.

Also participating in the We Create initiative is MINI TIPI, which is looking to increase brand awareness outside Quebec. Trisha Pitura and Mélanie Bernard founded the company in 2016 to create stylish, small-batch home and family goods inspired by their Canadian and Indigenous heritage. They’re known for their beautiful, traditionally woven textiles, designed and sewn in Gatineau.

MINI TIPI founders Trisha Pitura and Mélanie Bernard

“Instagram Live and Reels ads let us create new relationships with customers across Canada,” says the company. To tap into customers outside of Quebec, MINI TIPI collaborated with creator Kendra Rosychuk and director Sean Stiller to create Reels highlighting their product variety and gift giving ideas.

“It was incredible to collaborate with and elevate other Indigenous-led creative teams and businesses,” says the brand. “Meta found the best creative matches to our brand, who took the time to learn who we are and our vision – embodying our values of generosity, authenticity, respect, sustainability, and integrity.”

Marketing a small business is challenging, but Meta and these three Indigenous-owned businesses are looking to even the odds for all small businesses, including yours.

“We want to become the biggest blanket company in Canada,” MINI TIPI proudly declares. “And by working with Meta, we are one step closer.”

Learn more about We Create and the participating businesses here.

For more Canadian business excellence, sign up for our newsletter!