Indigenous entrepreneur from Kansas wins $1,000 and advances to the Finals
On April 30, Pow Wow Pitch, North America’s premier pitch competition for Indigenous entrepreneurs, presented in partnership with RBC, Shopify, Meta and Mastercard, announced Melinda Williamson, Owner and Founder of Morning Light Kombucha from the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation, as the 2022 Pow Wow Pitch Gathering of Nations Winner. Melinda has won $1,000 and is advancing to the Finals for a chance to win $25,000 to grow her business.
More than 30 Indigenous entrepreneurs from across North America pitched their businesses live at the Gathering of Nations in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on April 30th for their chance to win cash prizes and advance to the Pow Wow Pitch Finals.
“The experience was unbelievable,” said Melinda William, Founder of Morning Light Kombucha. “To finally travel again, meet so many entrepreneurs I look up to, and sell at the Gathering of Nations was incredible. But the cherry on top of it all was that I won first place at Pow Wow Pitch! I am beyond grateful and feel so much love from everyone in the Indigenous community.”
Melinda’s business, Morning Light Kombucha, is a Native American and female-owned, small-batch kombucha company located in Hoyt, Kansas, which prides itself on sourcing from local farmers, harvesting their own ingredients, and giving back to Indigenous communities.
Melinda hopes to win the grand prize to buy a canning line to continue to expand her business.
“Since the pandemic, our business has exploded across Kansas and ‘Indian country’ with our hand-canned line,” said Melinda. “If we were to win the $25K, we would buy a canning line to get more Kombucha into Native hands and grow our impact.”
Winning the second-place $750 prize was Cece Meadows, Founder and CEO of Prados Beauty and the third-place $500 winner went to Dan Simonds, Founder of Wampum Wear. Cece, Dan and all those who pitched in Albuquerque are still in the running for the 2022 Pow Wow Pitch and will find out in July if they will advance to the semi-finals.
“Congratulations to Melinda on her Gold Ticket win to advance to the 2022 Pow Wow Pitch Finals,” said Sunshine Tenasco, Founder of Pow Wow Pitch. “Morning Light Kombucha is an incredible business leading by example. We look forward to spotlighting and sharing Melinda’s business with the Pow Wow Pitch community and growing together.”
Indigenous entrepreneurs from across Canada and the United States are invited to submit their 1-minute pitch to qualify for Pow Wow Pitch before June 21, 2022, at powwowpitch.org/pitch to win $200,000 in prizes from $500 to $25,000.