Indigenous entrepreneur from Grand Prairie wins $5,000 and advances to the Pow Wow Pitch Finals.
On July 30, 2022, Pow Wow Pitch, North America’s premier pitch competition for Indigenous entrepreneurs, presented in partnership with RBC, Shopify, Meta and Mastercard, announced Jason Lizotte, the Paddle Prairie Métis Owner and Founder of Nipiy Industries from Grand Prairie, Alberta, as the 2022 Pow Wow Pitch Kamloopa Winner. Jason has won $5,000 and is advancing to the Finals for a chance to win $25,000 to grow his business.
More than 30 Indigenous entrepreneurs pitched their businesses live at the Kamloopa Powwow in Kamloops, British Columbia, for their chance to win cash prizes and advance to the Pow Wow Pitch Finals.
Co-Hosts Sunshine Tenasco, Founder of Pow Wow Pitch and Suzette Amaya, media and entertainment entrepreneur, emceed the action-packed program, where Indigenous entrepreneurs had the opportunity to pitch their business ideas and businesses in one minute for their chance to win prizes and support to make their dreams a reality.
Following a first-round open pitch on Friday, July 29th, judges Ryan Rogers, Marketing Director from the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada, George Casimir, General Manager of CFDC of CIFN, Devin Gambler, Business & Economic Development Manager at Tk’emlups de Secwepemc, Lynn-Marie Angus, Founder & CEO of Sister’s Sage, Kyle St Amour Brennan, Build Native Manager at Shopify, and Tracy Antoine, VP Indigenous Markets, BC Region, RBC, shortlisted the ‘Top 11’ entrepreneurs to advance to round two.
The Top 11 were invited to join a special reception hosted by Tk’emlups Business & Economic Development and the CFDC of CIFN, where they had the opportunity to network with each other, the Pow Wow Pitch Team, local support partners, and major industry leaders.
The following day, the Top 11 entrepreneurs were paired with mentors to help them polish their presentations before they pitched one last time to judges Kyle St Amour Brennan, Build Native Manager at Shopify, Tracy Antoine, VP Indigenous Markets, BC Region at RBC, Mansur Mirani, VP of the Vancouver Tech Hub at Mastercard, Holly Atjecoutay, Director, Indigenous Entrepreneur Startup Program, Futurpreneur and Debbie Reid, Indigenous Policy Manager at Meta.
“It was so amazing to see all the pitchers coming up and stepping out of their comfort zones in front of successful entrepreneurs and leaders to share their businesses,” said First-Place Winner Jason Lizotte. “We came here to promote our company and to demonstrate that our new touchless, solar-powered wash stations are perfect for all events. It means a lot for us to be the Winner, to set an example, and to promote our product to the community.”
Jason’s business, Nipiy Industries, provides durable, self-sustaining and easy-to-use solar-powered water and wash stations for indoor and outdoor use.
The Second-Place $2,500 Prize Winner was Teresa Sanders, Founder and CEO of FILL Vernon, a refill store where customers decrease plastic use by filling their cleaning and hygiene products using their existing containers.
The Third Place $1,000 Winner was Ashley Michel, Founder and CEO of 4 Generation Creations, which provides high-quality fashion, accessible apparel and accessories and educational workshops and products to inspire and reconnect Indigenous people to their culture.
The Youth Prize $500 Winner was 11-year-old fashion designer Cohen Quash, Founder and CEO of Mesdzih Eskiye CJRQ. The Fan Favourite $500 Winner was Charles Kruger, Founder and CEO of Kruger Outdoors Gear.
“Congratulations to Jason on his Gold Ticket win to advance to the 2022 Pow Wow Pitch Finals,” said Sunshine Tenasco, Founder of Pow Wow Pitch. “Nipiy Industries is an incredible business leading by example. We look forward to spotlighting and sharing Jason’s business with the Pow Wow Pitch community and growing together.”
“Pow Wow Pitch is a tremendous showcase of Indigenous innovation and entrepreneurship, and the stories and achievements of this year’s semi-finalists are a testament to their creativity and entrepreneurial spirit,” said Dale Sturges, National Director for Indigenous Financial Services at RBC. “We’re so proud of all our participants and semi-finalists, and we will continue to support their growth and success in the future.”
“It was remarkable to take part in Pow Wow Pitch to watch such a talented and creative group of Indigenous entrepreneurs come together,” said Kyle St-Amour-Brennan, Build Native Indigenous Program Manager at Shopify. “Although this event has a competitive element, it was incredible to feel the energy and spirit of community and connection between the entrepreneurs and partners. The Build Native team with Shopify has played a proud role in supporting Pow Wow Pitch, so it is exciting to see how things have grown over the years. What a great opportunity for Indigenous entrepreneurs!”
“At Meta, we are thrilled to support Indigenous businesses and entrepreneurs who are driving innovation and change in their communities,” said Debbie Reid, Indigenous Policy Manager at Meta. “Recognizing the importance of Indigenous voices and the limitless potential of Indigenous entrepreneurs is vital to the growth of the Canadian economy. We send our congratulations to Jason Lizotte on advancing to the next round and to all entrepreneurs who participated in Pow Wow Pitch.”
“At Mastercard, we’ve been truly inspired by the Indigenous entrepreneurs involved in this year’s Pow Wow Pitch as they’ve demonstrated such innovative thinking and solutions,” said Sasha Krstic, President of Mastercard Canada. “We are honoured to help support their continued success and see them grow. Congratulations to all the pitchers and congratulations to Jason on advancing to the next round.”
“CFDCofCIFN wants to congratulate all the pitchers at this years Kamloopa pow wow pitch,” said George Casimir, General Manager of CFDC of CFIN. “There were so many amazing business ideas coming from the entrepreneurs. Congratulations to the winners and we hope to support everyone in the near future as you all develop your business ideas.”
Jason will now advance to the Pow Wow Pitch Finals to pitch for the Grand Prize of $25,000, which broadcasts online on October 19, 2022. Visit www.powwowpitch.org for more information.