Celebrate Indigenous Entrepreneurship: Applications Now Open for 2024 Indigenous Entrepreneur Awards

April 3, 2024

April 3, 2024 | Pow Wow Pitch, a grassroots non-profit organization supporting and empowering Indigenous entrepreneurs, proudly announces the commencement of applications and nominations for the 4th Annual Indigenous Entrepreneur Awards.

The awards continue their mission to celebrate excellence and remarkable achievements in Indigenous entrepreneurship, recognizing outstanding Indigenous entrepreneurs and Indigenous-owned businesses across Canada.

Presented in collaboration with esteemed partners RBC, Shopify, and Mastercard Canada, and with the valued support of the Export Development Canada, Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada, Sklar Wilton & Associates, and Raven Indigenous Capital Partners, these awards stand as a testament to the resilience, innovation, and cultural richness of Indigenous entrepreneurship.

Eligible applicants must be Indigenous entrepreneurs with a minimum of three years of business operation in Canada. Applications and nominations will remain open until June 5, 2024, culminating in the announcement and celebration of winners during a digitally broadcast awards presentation on November 13, 2024.

Naomi Sarazin, Executive Director of Pow Wow Pitch, expressed, “The Awards are a beacon of recognition for the entrepreneurial spirit and success within Indigenous communities. They provide a vital platform for celebrating resilience and reconciliation through the lens of entrepreneurship.”

Tracy Antoine, Senior Director of Indigenous Programs and Policies at RBC reiterated the importance of the Awards, stating, “The contribution of Indigenous entrepreneurs to our economy is immeasurable – their leadership inspires innovation, collaboration and plays a critical role in fostering stronger, more inclusive communities. Through our support for the Indigenous Entrepreneur Awards, we are proud to continue our efforts in recognizing the potential and talent of Indigenous innovators and celebrating their inspirational stories of entrepreneurship.”

Kyle Brennan Shàwinipinesì, Build Native Indigenous Entrepreneurship Program Manager at Shopify, emphasized the significance of celebrating Indigenous ingenuity and excellence, saying, “Through our partnership with Pow Wow Pitch and support of the Indigenous Entrepreneur Awards, Shopify proudly amplifies the exceptional contributions of Indigenous entrepreneurs. Their innovation and dedication exemplify the strength of ancestral wisdom and pave the way for sustainable prosperity.”

Sasha Krstic, President of Mastercard Canada, reinforced the importance of recognizing the successes of Indigenous entrepreneurs, saying, “by championing Indigenous entrepreneurs, we ensure their voices are heard and seen. Together, with Pow Wow Pitch, we are building a future where everyone can reach their full potential, contributing to a more prosperous and inclusive society.”

Todd Evans, National Lead for Indigenous Exporters at Export Development Canada, highlights that celebrating Indigenous people through the Indigenous Entrepreneur Awards is a testament to “honoring the resilience, innovation, and cultural richness of Indigenous entrepreneurs. Together, we pave the path towards a future where Indigenous entrepreneurship not only thrives but leads.”

Keith Henry, President and CEO of the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC), expresses being honoured to support Pow Wow Pitch in uplifting Indigenous entrepreneurs through the Awards, stating, “our shared commitment to amplifying Indigenous Peoples and businesses making strides in the tourism industry fosters economic opportunities, while also preserving our cultural heritage for generations to come.  Moreover, ITAC’s vision is to help make Canada the global leader in Indigenous tourism by 2030. The importance of Indigenous tourism entrepreneurs are essential in helping meet this goal, as they contribute to growth in Indigenous-owned and operated tourism businesses, job growth and contributions to Canada’s GDP.”

Libier Gomez, Managing Director of Sklar Wilton & Associates, shares the importance of highlighting the achievements of Indigenous entrepreneurs, stating, “the positive impact of Indigenous entrepreneurs across Turtle Island shines bright and enriches our economy. Sklar Wilton & Associates is so proud to show our support in this year’s Indigenous Entrepreneur Awards by highlighting exceptional community leaders, paving the way for future generations.”

Althea Wishloff, General Partner of Raven Indigenous Capital Partners, reinforces the importance of recognizing Indigenous achievements within entrepreneurship, emphasizing, “The impact of Indigenous entrepreneurs resonates deeply within our communities, igniting economic resurgence and cultural vitality. Raven Indigenous Capital Partners, rooted in our commitment to empowering Indigenous entrepreneurs and fostering economic sustainability, proudly champions Indigenous excellence. We are dedicated to showcasing exemplary leaders who embody our values of credibility, accountability, and transparency, thereby inspiring future generations to thrive.” 

The Indigenous Entrepreneur Awards stand as a testament to the vitality of Indigenous entrepreneurship, serving to empower entrepreneurs and bolster the growth and prosperity of Indigenous businesses. To apply or nominate, please visit powwowpitch.org/awards.

For media inquiries or further information, please contact:
Keely Thompson-Cook at keely@powwowpitch.org.