POW WOW PITCH
SCALING TURTLE ISLAND TO SPOTLIGHT INDIGENOUS ENTREPRENEURS
2021 has been a landmark year for Pow Wow Pitch, as we scaled our programming across Turtle Island and grew our support for Indigenous Entrepreneurs with a Learning Series, Podcast Series, Alumni Network, Pow Wow Pitch Box, and launched the Indigenous Entrepreneur Awards. This digital recap highlights our activities and accomplishments for 2021.
Thank you to our Co-Presenting Sponsors RBC, Shopify and Facebook, our Industry Sponsors, Partners, Alumni, Judges, Mentors, Supporters and all of the entrepreneurs who shared their hearts, vision, and stories with us. We are reclaiming and rising together!
Sunshine Quem Tenasco
Founder, Pow Wow Pitch
NEW LOOK, SAME HEART, BIGGER COMMUNITY IMPACT
We kicked off 2021 by announcing our growth across Turtle Island with a new look, new logo and new website that centres on the stories of Indigenous entrepreneurs while integrating learning resources and opportunities along the way.
Since relaunching in May, our website has had +75K visitors, our social media community has grown to +9K, our e-Newsletter list has grown to +34K, and we have published more than 40 interviews and special profiles featuring Pow Wow Pitch entrepreneurs.
SETTING OUR SIGHTS ON LONGTERM & SCALABLE IMPACT
To help steer, support and steward the growth of our community and impact, this year we were proud to announce and install our Advisory Board, composed of Indigenous leaders from our community.
GROWING FULL CIRCLE
Led by Pow Wow Pitch Alumni Matthew Nahdee, this year, our Alumni Network kicked off with Alumni pitching in their own funds, knowledge and resources to support the next generation of Indigenous entrepreneurs. As its first initiative, the Alumni Network awarded a $5K Alumni Prize to Pow Wow Pitch Semi-Finalist Kendall White, Founder and CEO of Baamaapii Boxes. As the Alumni Network and resources grow, the collective will launch an Alumni-directed Seed Fund for early-stage Indigenous entrepreneurs.
POW WOW PITCH PODCAST
This year, we launched the Pow Wow Pitch Podcast to interview some of the most successful Indigenous entrepreneurs, makers and creators to share their stories, learnings, and wisdom to lift us all. Syndicated in partnership with Startup Canada, the Podcast featured the stories of 12 Indigenous entrepreneurs, garnering +2K subscribers in our first six months.
POW WOW PITCH STARTUP PROGRAM
This year, to further support Indigenous entrepreneurs through their entrepreneurial journey, we launched a Startup Program Learning Series featuring 12 on-demand learning webinars for those starting up, operating, and scaling up their businesses. +2K entrepreneurs explored and benefited from the content throughout the summer, which we later streamed on our social channels to garner +30K views. These ever-green resources will remain available for entrepreneurs into the future.
POW WOW PITCH BOX
Pow Wow Pitch partnered with Raven Reads to launch the 2021 Mailer Pow Wow Pitch Box featuring products from 2021 Pow Wow Pitchers and Alumni and artwork by Artist Chief Lady Bird. We quickly sold out of 800 Boxes, bringing +$75,000 in procurement orders to our entrepreneurs, along with greater exposure and a first wholesale customer for many.
All entrepreneurs benefited from training on ‘Pitching to Buyers and Distributing Products,’ ‘How to Ship’ and received mentorship and support from the Raven Reads Team on packaging and marketing.
2021 POW WOW PITCH
1,642 entrepreneurs from across Turtle Island applied for the 2021 Pow Wow Pitch and we shortlisted 150 entrepreneurs to pitch for the Semi-Finals. Semi-Finalists received more than 250 hours of mentorship from 81 Mentors before pitching to 31 esteemed Judges at the Regional Semi-Finals. Throughout the competition, more than 30K people voted for the People’s Choice Prize, which went to Samanntha De Couteau, Founder of Roofer Girl Inc.
The top 29 Finalists participated in a special Business Leadership Bootcamp presented in partnership with Mitacs and Invest Ottawa to support their business growth and prepare for their final pitch.
In total than 3K people joined live for the Pow Wow Pitch Semi-Finals and Grand Finale events.
Atlantic Watch Back | Announcement
Québec Watch Back | Announcement
Ontario Watch Back | Announcement
Prairies Watch Back | Announcement
BC Watch Back | Announcement
Territories Watch Back | Announcement
Youth Watch Back | Announcement
USA Watch Back | Announcement
Grand Finale Watch Back | Announcement
CONGRATULATIONS TO THE 2021 POW WOW PITCH WINNERS
The First Place Prize of $25,000 presented by RBC went to Harlan Wade Kingfisher, Founder & CEO of Smudge The Blades, from Sturgeon Lake First Nation, Saskatchewan. Smudge The Blades is an Indigenous brand and hockey apparel company that provides hockey scholarships to Indigenous youth.
The Second Place Prize of $10,000 presented by Facebook went to Ecko Aleck, Founder & Artist at Sacred Matriarch Creative, from the Nlaka'pamux Nation and Pentlatch, British Columbia. Sacred Matriarch Creative provides safe spaces for sharing sacred stories and fostering creativity.
The Third Place Prize of $5,000 presented by Shopify went to Bernice Clarke, Inuit Owner and Founder of Uasau Soap Inc. from Iqaluit. Uasau Soap provides sustainably sourced Indigenous soaps made with traditional Inuit practices.
In total, this year we awarded $50,000 in cash prizes to Indigenous Entrepreneurs.
INDIGENOUS ENTREPRENEUR AWARDS
On November 4, 2021, +1K supporters joined online as Pow Wow Pitch hosted the inaugural Indigenous Entrepreneurship Awards, co-presented by RBC, Shopify and Facebook in partnership with Square and Export Development Canada.
The Indigenous Entrepreneur Awards recognize excellence and outstanding impact in Indigenous entrepreneurship by celebrating eight entrepreneurial leaders for their perseverance, growth, impact and example.
The digital gala featured a special ‘Remember Me’ performance by musician Fawn Wood from Plains Cree-Salish Saddle Lake, AB, and eight Award presentations under three categories: Up and Comers, Entrepreneurial Spirit, and Entrepreneurial Icons.
Each of the Winners received professional advisory services from MNP; an Official Pin designed and hand-beaded by artist Vashti Etzel from Kaska Territory, Yukon; and, a signed limited edition print of the artwork ‘Joy’ by Metis visual artist and author with roots from Manitou Sakhigan Alberta, Christi Belcourt, which features a plaque with their name and recognition. Watch the Awards and read the whole story.
CONGRATULATIONS TO THE 2021 AWARD WINNERS
UP AND COMER AWARD WINNERS
Destinee Peter, Owner of Tangles from Carry the Kettle First Nation, SK, Read more
Gerald James Brandon, Co-Owner of L’Autochtone Taverne Americaine, Haileybury, ON, Read more
ENTREPRENEURIAL SPIRIT AWARD WINNERS
Leena Evic, Co-Owner of the Pirurvik Centre, Iqaluit, Read more
Patrick Hunter, Artist from Red Lake, ON, Read more
Tara Audibert, Founder of Moxy Fox Studio and Ni’gweg Collective, NB, Read more
Nicole McLaren, Founder & CEO of Raven Reads, Métis Nation of BC, Kamloops Read more
ENTREPRENEURIAL ICON AWARD WINNERS
Jennifer Harper, Co-Founder and CEO of Cheekbone Beauty, Read more
The Mi’kmaq Coalition, NS and NL, Read more
COMMUNICATIONS, COLLABORATIONS AND MEDIA
Our defining strategy for growing a high-impact platform for Indigenous entrepreneurs is all about partnerships! Throughout the year, we were proud to partner with our Sponsors, Collaborating and Promotional Partners, to expand the reach of stories about our entrepreneurs throughout the ecosystem, social media and mainstream media networks.
We harnessed the power of partnerships by collaborating with Indigenous artists, musicians and poets at every opportunity to grow our reach to their networks as well, including Tenille K. Campbell, Chief Ladybird, Christi Belcourt, Vashti Etzel, DJ Shub and Fawn Wood. From syndication partnerships with Startup Canada and APTN and media buys with Jelly Marketing, Facebook and Shopify to logistics partnerships with Raven Reads and mobilizing the might of our Pow Wow Pitchers through the People's Choice Prize, this year Pow Wow Pitch displayed its power and potential as a platform for impact, reconciliation and reclamation through entrepreneurship.
Over the last six months alone, Pow Wow Pitch and our entrepreneurs have earned +150 television, radio, print newspaper and digital press and coverage going well beyond mentioned, to full-blown stories and series - e.g. CBC, CTV, Global News, Informe Affaires, The Globe & Mail, Le Quotidien, Le Courier Sud, 620 CKRM, Les Affaires, SooToday, Nunavut News, Tulsa World, London Free Press, etc.
THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS AND PARTNERS
Pow Wow Pitch is a non-profit organization which receives 100% of its funds through sponsorships from industry and non-profit partners and sponsors who share our commitment to the success of Indigenous entrepreneurs. Through corporate leadership, financial support and employee volunteerism, we are proud to work together with our partners to create a growing lasting impact on our communities.