IIndigenous entrepreneur from Yellowknife, Northwest Territories wins $1,000 and advances to the Pow Wow Pitch Finals.
On September 13, Pow Wow Pitch, North America’s premier pitch competition for Indigenous entrepreneurs, presented in partnership with RBC, Shopify, and Mastercard, announced Cole Clark, the Behchoko Founder of STLN LNDS from Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, as the 2023 Pow Wow Pitch Creative Winner. Cole Clark has won $1,000 and is advancing to the Finals for a chance to win $25,000 to grow his business.
More than 2,000 Indigenous entrepreneurs from across Canada and the United States applied to Pow Wow Pitch this year for their chance to win cash prizes and advance to the Pow Wow Pitch Finals. From the 2,000 applicants, 130 were selected as Semi-Finalists and provided with training and mentorship to prepare for their semi-final pitch to the Judges.
Last night, Keely Thompson-Cook, Communications Coordinator of Pow Wow Pitch and Founder of Strawberry Seeds Designs, emceed the action-packed program, where the seven Creative Semi-Finalists had the opportunity to pitch their businesses and community initiatives in one minute for their chance to win.
Judges included Ashley Phillips, Branch Manager at RBC; Kyle Brennan Shàwinipinesì, Build Native Program Manager at Shopify; Zhamila Zhakup, Associate Managing Consultant, Advisors Client Services at Mastercard; Tara Saunders, Director of Business Development at Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada; and Ivy Truong, Director of Art and Creative Strategy at Aritzia.
“I decided to apply for Pow Wow Pitch to build a platform to showcase the incredible talent Indigenous creators have,” said Cole Clark, Founder of STLN LNDS. “As an Indigenous artist myself, I truly believe our people bring so much joy and gratitude to each other and that feeling deserves to have a safe space on the Internet.”
STLN LNDS is a media and lifestyle brand and a platform for Indigenous creatives. Founder, Cole Clark, began STLN LNDS as a passion project to showcase all forms of Indigenous talent through media. “The goal of the SL Foundation is to celebrate and grow Northern and Indigenous-based recreational sport, music and fashion activities,” said Cole Clark.
Rachel Brimacombe, Founder of Valleyside Art was honoured as the Runner Up of the 2023 Creative Semi-Final. In addition, the judges also provided two Honourable Mentions to Ramona Emerson, Founder of Reel Indian Pictures and to Rebecca LaBillois, Founder of Apitjipeg Crafts.
“Congratulations to Cole Clark on advancing to the 2023 Pow Wow Pitch Finals,” said Sunshine Tenasco, Founder of Pow Wow Pitch. “Capturing Indigenous culture, fashion and sport is such an important part of our storytelling. We are so proud of your resilience, creativity, and passion to give back to your community and cannot wait to see where you go in the future!”
“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 Michael Ferencich, Senior Vice President, Business Financial Services, 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.”
“Being involved in Pow Wow Pitch is not just an honour, it’s a privilege to witness the creativity and innovation of Indigenous entrepreneurs,” said Kyle Brennan Shàwinipinesì, Build Native Program Manager at Shopify. “It’s a reminder of the resilience and strength of our communities and the power of entrepreneurship to create positive change. 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 an incredible opportunity for Indigenous entrepreneurs!”
“At Mastercard, we’ve been inspired by the innovative thinking and solutions brought forward by all the Indigenous entrepreneurs involved in this year’s Pow Wow Pitch,” said Sasha Krstic, President of Mastercard in Canada. “The future is brighter when Indigenous entrepreneurship is recognized, supported and celebrated, and we are honoured to play a role in continued success and growth of these entrepreneurs. Congratulations to all the pitchers and congratulations to Kelly on advancing to the next round.”
Cole will now advance to the Pow Wow Pitch Finals to pitch for the Grand Prize of $25,000, which broadcasts online on October 19th. Visit www.powwowpitch.org for more information.