A Victoria-based Indigenous tech company is one of 17 recipients of seed funding from Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC), granted to start-ups that are pushing the boundaries of technology to develop a clean, sustainable economy.
OneFeather Mobile Technologies was nominated by VIATEC and approved for its innovative technology that streamlines digital voting, status card renewal, online banking, and other services for Indigenous people across Canada.
Founder Lawrence Lewis tells Douglas “we are honoured to be recognized as a cleantech company by Sustainable Development Technology Canada; being an active player in developing a sustainable economy – one that puts Indigenous communities at the centre.”
Island company helps communities across Canada get access to services
OneFeather was founded in 2014 with the goal of providing its First Nations clients with a digital platform to increase community engagement and build strong, empowered and unified Nations. Since then it has become a leader in electronic voting, vote management, and data sovereignty with Registrar Management technology (and soon to be released banking solution integrations) for First Nations in BC and throughout Canada.
The company’s technology now supports 185 First Nations across the country and their 218,000 members, with a track record of 25% year over year growth.
“For more than 20 years I’ve witnessed the critical need In Indigenous communities for a solution like OneFeather,” says Lewis, who is a member of the We Wai Kai Nation and lives in Victoria BC. “Our technology reduces or eliminates the need for travel to access, utilize or otherwise activate Indigenous rights, benefits, and all other assumed benefits and services other Canadians may take for granted (like opening a bank account). We are tackling carbon footprints at the individual level while building sustainable social capital. Further, our electronic voting and data sovereignty tools reduce paper waste significantly.”
The seed funding provided by SDTC will allow OneFeather to continue fulfilling its mission to redefine the Indigenous experience through tradition and innovation.
“Our goal is to continue building products and services that lift up our people to reduce barriers and plant sovereignty at the individual and Nation level. Set to release later this year, our OneFeather APP and OneFeather PAY provides access to dedicated Indigenous banking, while our Simplified Status Card Renewal Submission process saves people time and money when renewing their SCIS. We will continue to build stronger community engagement between Nations and their members both on and off-reserve, build partnerships with Indigenous and non-Indigenous groups with our OneFeather Token Rewards Program, and continue to listen to our people to build products and services that reflect and empower a future they want to be a part of.”
Lewis says he’s proud of the work his team has done so far to fulfill their mission. “We exist to lift up Our people. We are an Indigenous technology company, grounded in First Nations values and principles, redefining the Indigenous experience through tradition and innovation. By serving our Purpose we continue to build a sustainable economy; one that reduces ecological footprints and builds Indigenous social capital through the provision of equitable access to services and the empowerment of Nation sovereignty.”
SDTC’s Seed Funding promotes cleantech to grow sustainable ventures
Sustainable Development Technology Canada partners with business accelerators and incubators (like VIATEC) to identify high-potential start-up firms and innovation ecosystems that are growing across the country and in every sector. Successful applicants in the Seed Fund program receive between $50,000 to $100,000 from SDTC, enabling them to unlock even greater funding from their private equity partners.
OneFeather is among entrepreneurs from a variety of industry sectors that are receiving funding from SDTC in 2020, including those developing technologies to power electric vehicles and to navigate autonomous cars, using drones to plant trees and data to improve fish farms, inventing active compostable packaging, and deploying nanotechnology, robotics, artificial intelligence and synthetic biology.
The Fund, piloted in 2019, is now expanding with the capacity to support up to 100 start-up companies per year.
The second call for Seed Fund applications of 2020-2021 will launch this Fall.
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