Founder Lawrence Lewis discussed the activities of OneFeather Mobile Technologies and its activities in the First Nations environment.
Program: Lawrence Lewis and OneFeather Mobile Technology.
Lawrence Lewis is the founder of OneFeather Mobile Technology. This investor-owned business is impact and mission-driven to address the unique relationship between the indigenous peoples and Canada. Historically the First Nations and Canada negotiated their relationship through multiple treaties but the relationship eroded over time and became entrenched in the Indian Act. The purpose if OneFeather is to help reconstruct that relationship.
Each year approximately $18 billion flows from the federal government to First Nations, in transfers to approximately 1.2 million individuals and over 600 communities. The current standard ID – the status card – generates the need to process 30 – 60 thousand renewals each year through a multi-page paper form. The first initiative of OneFeather was to establish a digital credential to facilitate the status card renewal process. There are currently 120 thousand individuals enrolled and OneFeather is currently working with over 200 communities. Since the federal department manually processes huge numbers of transactions, there is a major opportunity to reduce transaction costs. The company is now working on fintech services (payments, financial transfers, etc.) Lewis also referenced the application of HST/GST exemptions to First Nations. At the consumer level individuals pay the retailer (which generally is not able to process the exemption) and can then apply to the federal government for reimbursement. This individually amounts to tens or hundreds of dollars but is enormous in total.
The company continues to develop its services, independent of the federal government. Approximately 8% of current revenue comes from government contracts.