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Steven Vanloffeld

eSupply Canada is an online distributor of business and industrial supplies. As an Indigenous-owned company, we’re deeply committed to helping drive economic development within First Nations communities across Canada. Our mission is twofold: to address the persistent issue of economic leakage in Indigenous territories and to foster sustainable growth by empowering communities to establish their own online businesses.

At the heart of our values lies a dedication to fostering prosperity within Indigenous communities. By providing a platform for Indigenous communities to connect and transact with one another, we’re not only facilitating access to essential supplies but also facilitating the circulation of wealth within Indigenous economies.

Our approach is rooted in collaboration and inclusivity. We believe in the power of community-driven solutions and recognize the importance of preserving cultural heritage and traditions while embracing innovation and progress.

Ultimately, our vision extends beyond just facilitating transactions; it’s about catalyzing positive change and creating lasting economic opportunities for generations to come. By leveraging technology and promoting economic self-reliance, we’re working towards a future where Indigenous communities thrive and flourish on their own terms.

Tell us about yourself?

I’m an entrepreneur from Saugeen First Nation, Ontario, focused on advancing Indigenous social and economic development.

Aside from eSupply Canada, I run INDsight Consulting, a management consultancy specializing in Indigenous relations and reconciliation, and Couch Cushion, an automated e-commerce platform for Canadians.

My previous roles include executive director positions at the Association of Native Child and Family Service Agencies of Ontario and the Toronto Aboriginal Support Services Council. These experiences fuelled my passion for Indigenous community development, leading me to pursue ventures like eSupply Canada to empower Indigenous communities economically.

If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?

Avoid investing time and resources in individuals and businesses that fail to understand your vision. I’ve worked with some great people who are superstars in their profession but couldn’t grasp what it means to be authentically Indigenous or sell my vision.

eSupply Canada

What problem does your business solve?

eSupply Canada addresses a pressing issue faced by First Nations communities across Canada: economic leakage. Research indicates that up to 90 per cent of First Nations’ spending leaves these communities. This economic leakage represents a significant loss of resources that could otherwise be circulating within and benefiting Indigenous communities.

Our solution is simple yet transformative: eSupply Canada empowers First Nations to take control of their supply chain by becoming their own supplier of essential supplies. By providing an online platform tailored to the unique needs of First Nations, we enable communities to keep and grow their income locally.

Through eSupply Canada, First Nations can access a wide range of products, streamline procurement processes, and reinvest savings back into their communities. By retaining more of their purchasing power within their own territories, First Nations can foster economic resilience, create jobs, and drive sustainable growth.

In essence, eSupply Canada is not just a business solution; it’s a catalyst for economic empowerment and self-determination.

What is the inspiration behind your business?

The inspiration behind eSupply Canada stems from my experience as an elected councillor for my community. Witnessing millions of dollars drain out to big box retailers was not just disheartening; it sparked a realization of the urgent need for change.

Driven by a passion for community empowerment and a commitment to fostering self-sufficiency, I embarked on a mission to create a solution that would disrupt the status quo and channel economic resources back into communities. Recognizing the potential of online procurement, I set out to build a platform tailored specifically for First Nations communities.

My vision for eSupply Canada goes beyond mere business; it’s about equipping communities with the tools and resources they need to thrive in today’s digital economy. By streamlining the process of starting an online business, we’re not only helping communities generate additional revenue but also empowering them to reinvest in important initiatives such as education and entrepreneurship.

Through eSupply Canada, I aim to catalyze positive change and create a ripple effect of prosperity within Indigenous communities across Canada. It’s a journey fueled by a commitment to social impact and a belief in the transformative power of economic empowerment.

What is your magic sauce?

Most of our competitors are US big box retailers that know little about the realities of First Nations peoples, communities, and histories. I come from a community and have worked to better our communities my whole life. I have a deep understanding of both the challenges and the opportunities First Nations face. Our platform, for example, revenue shares with First Nations and provides them with a simple solution to drive sales within their territories. Revenue sharing isn’t something our competitors would ever consider. Market focus and shareholder interest forbid it. When you intimately know the pains and aspirations of the customers you serve and are genuinely partnered in their success, differentiating from the competition is simple. Authenticity matters.

What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?

Our target is to have at least 100 First Nation communities using our platform. With our revenue-sharing model, that’s an estimated $13,000,000 annually going back to communities to support programming and job creation. The impact of our platform and the social and economic benefits that will result are what we are eager to see flourish.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?

Our greatest challenge has been the systemic and structural barriers that almost make winning corporate and government contracts impossible, despite the nice words and Indigenous procurement targets discussed by CEOs and political officials.

Buyers and purchasers remain the gatekeepers, and the lowest price typically defines any contract award, skewing competition in favour of large suppliers and overseas products. One solution to even the playing field is tying purchasers’ performance appraisals to meeting CEOs’ procurement commitment and modifying the competition evaluation scorecard to include metrics like ‘bidder provides access to a new market we want to enter’.

If the lowest price continues to be the defining factor, big box and overseas will win every time, but the pandemic has shown that nearshoring is the way of the future.

How can people get involved?

Learn more at