Languages of Enterprises in Iqaluit: Challenges and Opportunities - Anna Kim & EunJoo Koo

4:15 PM, Friday 4 Oct 2019 (30 minutes)
The role of enterprises is considered to be increasingly important for Inuit communities. A
growing number of entrepreneurship training and support programs, including social
entrepreneurship initiatives, are committed to developing enterprises with the aim of creating jobs
and opportunities for local communities – especially the young generation. At the same time, the
relationships between enterprises and local communities often involve complex tensions and
challenges. In Iqaluit, many enterprises are founded and/or managed by English Canadians or
French Canadians (Dana, Dana, & Anderson, 2012), making it further difficult to fully comprehend
the impact of new enterprises on the Inuit community.
In this proposed research, we will explore the role of languages in the relationships between
enterprises and the Inuit communities. While 65.3 percent of Nunavut residents reported Inuktitut
as their mother tongue, only 27 percent of workers identified Inuktitut as their main language at
workplaces (Statistics Canada, 2019) and English and French remain to be important in the
business domain. In this context, integrating Inuktitut into business operations would create an
opportunity for enterprises as the use of Inuktitut can become an important asset in stakeholder
relationships or business development. Yet, the presence of multiple languages also poses
challenges as it can have significant resource implications.
Our inquiry will be grounded in a qualitative study of enterprises in different sectors in
Iqaluit. By focusing on the use of different languages in enterprises and their relationships with
communities in Iqaluit, we aim to understand opportunities and challenges for enterprises in this
unique linguistic environment, as well as their impact on the Inuit communities
McGill University
HEC Montreal
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