ICC creates new international Inuit business group

The International Inuit Business Association was founded earlier this month in Ottawa.

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Here’s the executive committee of the International Inuit Business Association, from left: provisional executive committee chair Liz Qaulluq Cravalho of Alaska, secretary Maggie Emudluk of Nunavik and Jens K. Lyberth of Greenland. (Inuit Circumpolar Council)

Though it’s not clear who’s eligible for membership, a new international Inuit business lobby group has sprung up under the auspices of the Inuit Circumpolar Council.

It’s called the International Inuit Business Association. The new body’s executive committee held its founding meeting this past Feb. 6 in Ottawa, a news release says.

Its abbreviated name, “IIBA,” is not to be confused with the acronym that in Nunavut stands for “Inuit impact and benefit agreement.”

“This is a transformative time for Inuit businesses in the international Arctic. The IIBA will be a resource for Inuit business leaders who have a collective interest in ensuring the success of our northern economies,” said Jim Stotts, the president of ICC-Alaska and convener of the founding meeting.

The following people will serve on the association’s executive committee:

Provisional executive committee chair: Liz Qaulluq Cravalho, vice president of lands at the Nana Corp., which is owned by the Iñupiat of northwest Alaska.

• Vice chair: Jens K. Lyberth, director of corporate relations at Royal Greenland, a state-owned fish harvesting and seafood processing company in Greenland.

• Secretary: Maggie Emudluk: vice-president of economic development at Makivik Corp., Nunavik’s land claim organization.

The group’s mission is to encourage sustainable and equitable expansion of the economy throughout the Arctic to promote greater self-sufficiency in Inuit Nunaat, ICC’s term for the Arctic and sub-Arctic regions where Inuit hold rights.

The association grew out of the ICC’s 2018 Utqiaġvik Declaration, which called for more collaboration among Inuit businesses across the circumpolar world.

“As Inuit business owners and partners, we’re seeing increased opportunities for collaboration across borders for pan-Arctic economic development,” Cravalho said in the release.

The group also does research and participates in international organizations that affect Inuit economic and business interests.

They do not define what they mean by “Inuit business” or state who’s eligible to join the group.

“The IIBA is currently finalizing processes for membership and recruitment,” the news release says.