Indigenous entrepreneurs from Winnipeg, BC, Saskatchewan take home top prizes
Pow Wow Pitch, Canada’s premier pitch competition for emerging Indigenous entrepreneurs, announced Erica Daniels, Founder and CEO of Kejic Productions as the 2023 Winner of the competition and the recipient of the Grand Prize of $25,000.
Following a qualifying Semi-Final Round, the top 25 Indigenous entrepreneurs, from more than 2,400 applications from across Canada and the United States, went head-to-head pitching their businesses to an esteemed panel of Judges as part of the 2022 Pow Wow Pitch presented in partnership with RBC, Shopify, Meta and Mastercard.
Hosted by Sunshine Tenasco, the creator of Pow Wow Pitch, the showdown featured entrepreneurs from nations across Turtle Island like the Mi’kmaq, Mohawk and Algonquin, Cree, Inuit, Métis and Squamish.
The entrepreneurs pitched to an esteemed panel of Judges who scored and selected the winners. The 2022 Judges included the 2021 Pow Wow Pitch Winner Harlan Kingfisher, Founder and CEO of Smudge the Blades; Tamer Gabbour, Senior Account Manager at RBC; Carey Calder, Program Lead for North America & APAC Regions at Shopify; Debbie Reid, Indigenous Policy Manager at Meta; and Christy Buchanan, Director of Account Management at Mastercard.
MEET THE WINNERS
The First Place Prize of $25,000 presented by RBC and Shopify went to Erica Daniels, Founder & CEO of Kejic Productions, from Peguis First Nation in Manitoba. Erica’s business, Kejic Productions, is a Winnipeg-based company that creates, develops and produces films and community and corporate videos, provides event photography and marketing services, and supports Indigenous youth with on-the-job training. Watch Erica’s pitch.
“I have always been inspired by capturing the stories of my community through video,” said the First-Place 2022 Pitch Winner Erica Daniels. “Our passionate female team of Indigenous filmmakers are creating with an authentic perspective and are amplifying Indigenous voices for cultural revitalization, education and social change.”
Erica plans to use the $25,000 to hire and train aspiring Indigenous filmmakers, purchase high-grade production equipment and move into a large studio to provide ongoing training for Indigenous youth.
“It was so exciting to see so many people pitching and our community really thriving,” Erica goes on to say. “This is my third time pitching, so I just want to encourage everyone not to give up and to thank our community for all the support they give us. I also want to encourage Indigenous entrepreneurs to continue to take up space, use their voices, use their gifts and always support one another. We are the seventh generation breaking cycles and blazing trails for our young ones.”
The Second Place Prize of $10,000 presented by Mastercard went to Sean Rayland-Boubar, Founder of Winnipeg-based Red Rebel Armour from Sagkeeng First Nation. Red Rebel Armour is an authentic streetwear brand on a social mission to support reentry into the workforce. Watch Sean’s pitch.
“Pow Wow Pitch has given me a chance to grow as an entrepreneur and as a person, helping me get out of my comfort zone,” said Sean Rayland-Boubar. “There are so many awesome businesses out here, and I am thankful and proud of this accomplishment.”
The Third Place Prize of $5,000 presented by Meta went to Ruby Daniels, the 16-year-old Founder of 3R Innovative Imaging from One Arrow First Nation in Saskatchewan, a student-run business that repurposes old cabinet doors into one-of-a-kind art.
“You can accomplish anything when you put in the time and effort and build a strong team,” said Ruby Daniels. “We hope our success will inspire other youth following in our footsteps to become positive change makers. We want the youth to push through even if they’re scared because the best opportunities are terrifying but most rewarding.” Watch Ruby’s pitch.
ALUMNI PRIZE RECIPIENTS
In addition to announcing the top three winners, three Finalists were also awarded Alumni Prizes of $5,000, a prize pooled together by Pow Wow Pitch Alumni who have benefited from the program and community and matched with the support of Mastercard.
Taalrumiq Christina King, who is Taalrumiq, Inuvialuit & Gwich’in and is currently living in British Columbia, creates original Inuit fine art, Inuvialuit couture garments and accessories and offers cultural consulting services such as sewing workshops, public speaking and Inuvialuit digital content. “I want to thank my parents, community, everyone who has supported me and the team at Pow Wow Pitch for creating such a supportive and positive platform and community,” said Taalrumiq. Watch Taalrumiq’s pitch.
Cece Meadows, the Founder and CEO of Prados Beauty, is Comanche and Yaqui from New Mexico. Prados Beauty is an inclusive and uplifting BIPOC beauty brand created to create space for Indigenous peoples throughout Turtle Island. “It is so difficult for Indigenous women-owned businesses to get funding. So to come to Pow Wow Pitch, to be honest and authentic and to be awarded an Alumni Prize is an honour,” said Cece. “This community is about spreading love and awareness, bringing Indigenous entrepreneurs across Turtle Island to the forefront, taking up space where we belong.” Watch Cece’s pitch.
Teresa Sanders, the Métis Founder and CEO of FILL- Vernon’s Refill Store in Vernon, BC, is the third recipient of a 2022 Alumni Prize. FILL is a refill store where customers ‘fill’ their cleaning and hygiene products using their existing containers to help keep plastic out of landfills and oceans. “It is important to value and protect our earth, and I am grateful that our community in the Okanagan has embraced that. I am honoured to be part of the Pow Wow Pitch community and proud to be part of the Alumni Network,” said Teresa. “This is a great time to be an Indigenous entrepreneur with our Indigenous worldview and values of protecting our earth being valued by the masses.”
“This year, Pow Wow Pitch returned to its roots on the powwow trail while using digital technology to engage and uplift Indigenous entrepreneurs across Turtle Island,” said Sunshine Tenasco, Founder of Pow Wow Pitch. “I have been blown away by the passion, resilience, impact and camaraderie of the semi-finalists, finalists and winners. The future is bright for Indigenous entrepreneurs and the Indigenous economy! Congratulations to Erica, Sean, Ruby, Taalrumiq, Cece and Teresa! Each of you displays the promise, vision and impact of Indigenous entrepreneurs, and I know you all have bright futures ahead. ”
“Congratulations to all of the Indigenous Entrepreneurship Award Winners,” said Dale Sturges, National Director for Indigenous Financial Services at RBC. “What a tremendous showcase of Indigenous entrepreneurs leading the way in innovation and creativity.”
“It was remarkable to participate 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 the 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 congratulate Erica Daniels, Sean, Rub and all those who participated in Pow Wow Pitch.”
“Congratulations to the 2022 Pow Wow Pitch winners!” said Sasha Krstic, President of Mastercard Canada. “At Mastercard, we know the future is brighter when Indigenous entrepreneurship is recognized, supported and celebrated. All of this year’s competitors demonstrated what it means to lead with creativity, resiliency and innovation.”
To watch the Grand Finale, click here.
To book an interview with Pow Wow Pitch Founder Sunshine Tenaco, Erica Daniels, Sean-Rayland Boubar, Ruby Daniels, Taalrumiq Christina King, Cece Meadows or Theresa Saunders, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Pow Wow Pitch
Pow Wow Pitch is an entrepreneurship program for emerging Indigenous entrepreneurs, which provides a safe, supportive, collaborative, empowering and culturally supportive environment that addresses the unique challenges of Indigenous entrepreneurs and aspiring Indigenous entrepreneurs. Pow Wow Pitch enhances, develops and accelerates the growth for current and aspiring Indigenous entrepreneurs in a sustainable way through programs and resources. Community leadership through volunteerism is promoted with respect and reciprocity as the foundation of the Pow Wow Pitch. For more information, visit https://www.powwowpitch.org/.