PHOTO: Group photo of 2024 Kamloopa Pow Wow Pitch Winners, Judges, Mentors, Pitchers, and Pow Wow Pitch Team. Photo by Mary Putnam.

Dolly Kruger, SilverSky Cradle & Casket wins Kamloopa Pow Wow Pitch

July 2, 2024

Sn’pintktn Indian Band business owner wins $5,000 and a spot in the 2024 Pow Wow Pitch Grand Finale in Kamloops, British Columbia

On June 28 and 29, 2024, Pow Wow Pitch, an Indigenous-led non-profit organization that empowers and supports Indigenous entrepreneurs with access to capital, mentorship, training, and support, presented in partnership with RBC, Shopify, and Mastercard Canada, and in collaboration with CFDC of CIFN and ANTCO, announced Dolly Kruger, Founder of Silversky Cradle & Casket, from the Sn’pintktn Indian Band (Penticton, BC) as the 2024 Kamloopa Pow Wow Pitch Winner. The First Nation-owned business has won $5,000 for their business and will advance to the 2024 Pow Wow Pitch Grand Finale where they will get the chance to win the grand prize of $25,000.

There were 31 Indigenous entrepreneurs who pitched their businesses live at the Kamloopa Powwow in Kamloops, British Columbia, for their chance to win cash prizes to advance their businesses.

Sunshine Tenasco, Founder of Pow Wow Pitch, hosted 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 the evening of Friday, June 28th, judges April Paul, Women’s Business Support Officer at ANTCO; Keante Joe, Program Ambassador of DREAI at CFDC of CIFN; Ashley Michel, Founder & Owner of 4 Generations Creations; Jonathan Critch, Manager of Small Business Marketing at Canada Post; and Preeti Hiro, Regional Coordinator at EDC, shortlisted the ‘Top 10’ entrepreneurs to advance to round two. 

The following morning on Saturday, June 29th, the Top 10 were paired up with mentors from RBC, Canada Post, Futurpreneur, CFDC of CIFN, ANTCO, and 4 Generations Creations, to help them polish their presentations before they pitched one last time to judges Tracy Antoine, Senior Director of Indigenous Programs and Policies at RBC; Mansur Mirani, Vice President of the Vancouver Tech Hub at Mastercard; George Casimir, General Manager at CFDC of CIFNPat Fosbery, CEO of ANTCO; and Holly Atjecoutay, Director of Indigenous Entrepreneur Startup Program at Futurpreneur.

“Winning here today at Pow Wow Pitch has truly been a blessing,” shared Dolly Kruger, Founder of SilverSky Cradle & Casket and 1st Place Kamloopa Pow Wow Pitch Winner. “It is a token to go one step further and is a reminder to continue striving for what you believe in. When you’re an entrepreneur, you’re independent, and this is a reminder to continue believing in yourself, that you can do it, and you can make a difference.”

SilverSky Cradle & Casket is a funeral arrangement service that offers personalized and hand-crafted caskets and urns that incorporate traditions that honour Indigenous practices for the passed. Dolly is a carpenter by trade and created SilverSky after the unfortunate passing of her son and having no traditional services to turn to. Dolly shared in her pitch that she passes along her knowledge to her children and youth community members to continue the tradition. She also shared that she would use the funds to secure a dedicated workshop for her craft and a place to teach her team.

The 2nd Place $2,500 Prize Winner and Fan Favourite $500 Prize Winner was Janelle Alladina, Founder of Indiginize Creation, a fashion and retail business that specializes in custom, one-of-a-kind hats that tell stories with themes from traditional art. Janelle plans to expand her community impact by collaborating with Indigenous artists to showcase an array of art from different cultures on her custom hats. “My experience here today was so heartfelt,” shared Janelle Alladina. “I felt so much gratitude and I’m so thankful to be taking space, especially on my homelands. My vision for the future is to inspire more of our Indigenous people to take back our spaces and to lead with your heart.”

The 3rd Place $1,000 Prize Winner was Patrice Pelegrin, Founder of Skukwza Cleaning Services, a cleaning service offering judgement free services to those struggling with mental health. Patrice’s own experiences as a single mother motivated her to help others. She shared in her pitch that she will use her funds to help secure regular team members so she can continue servicing her community. “I want to thank my community for their support and for encouraging me to sign up for Pow Wow Pitch,” shared Patrice Pelegrin. “I do believe that our elders and youth are our future and that connecting the two will create a positive impact.” 

The Youth $500 Prize Winner was Delissa Isaac, the 12-year old Founder of Rerun The Runway, a thrift and consignment store that promotes ecologically mindful shopping. In an effort to curb the impacts of fast fashion, Delissa was inspired by turning to her mothers closet when looking for something new to wear. Delissa shared in her pitch that she will use the funds to increase Rerun The Runway’s online visibility and to secure a new store space. “Thank you to my mentor and my mom for teaching me and encouraging me,” shared Delissa Isaac. “I’m planning to use my prize to get a bigger shop so we can grow.”

“Congratulations Dolly, Janelle, Patrice, and Delissa,” said Naomi Sarazin, Executive Director of Pow Wow Pitch. “Your stories, entrepreneurial journeys, and businesses exemplify the creativity and resilience of Indigenous entrepreneurship. Your commitments to making a meaningful impact in your communities is remarkable and inspiring to all. Continue striving for your dreams because you are all making a difference!”

“Congratulations to the remarkable winners of this year’s Kamloopa Pow Wow Pitch,” said Melissa Mathias, Treasurer of Kamloopa Powwow Society. “Partnering with Pow Wow Pitch for the third consecutive year fills us with immense pride. Our unwavering commitment to this collaborative initiative stems from our dedication to championing Indigenous entrepreneurs in our community and we are so proud of the incredible business leaders of our community who stepped up and shared their pitches, great work everyone.”

All those who pitched are automatically entered into the Turtle Island (North American) Pow Wow Pitch competition and will be welcomed into the Pow Wow Pitch community for ongoing support. All pitchers have gained access to a free Indigenous Startup Program, the opportunity to have their products and services be considered to be featured in the annual Pow Wow Pitch Box and on Pow Wow Market for socially-conscious customers looking to ‘Buy Indigenous,’ and will receive a free .CA domain courtesy of CIRA, and a 60-day free Shopify Trial.

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