Dreams Etched in Concrete: The Journey of Ricky Dankewich and Blackstone Concrete
Passion, resilience, and an unwavering vision to make an impact – are the pillars that characterize the entrepreneurial journey of Ricky Dankewich, the Founder and CEO of Blackstone Concrete, who belongs to Cat Lake First Nations and lives in Dryden, Ontario. As a Semi-Finalist in the 2023 Pow Wow Pitch competition, Ricky’s vision isn’t just about business success; it’s about lighting a beacon for others.
Driven by an innate desire to “inspire others to take that next step in life,” Ricky’s motivation for starting Blackstone Concrete was rooted in the power of dreams and the will to chase them. “If I can do this,” he shares, “anyone that has a dream owes it to themselves to take that leap of faith and do what you love in life to make their family and community proud.”
Specializing in decorative concrete, Blackstone Concrete provides various services, from resurfacing deteriorating concrete surfaces to creating designs that mimic natural textures like wood grain and stone. The versatility of their offerings spans from residential uses to large-scale applications in shopping malls, educational institutions, hotels, and more. With an edge in delivering products that can withstand deicing salt, extreme climates, and UV rays, their strength lies in “virtually unlimited designs, patterns, textures, and colour options.”
Ricky’s vision for Blackstone Concrete transcends mere profit. His ambition is rooted in his desire to give back. “I am building my business with a vision of providing employment opportunities to our at-risk Indigenous youth,” he states.
The journey, however fulfilling, hasn’t been without challenges. Ricky admits the hurdles faced during the inception: “Finding capital to start the business.” Traditional banking routes were almost inaccessible due to credit score constraints. But Ricky’s spirit remained indomitable. “I did not give up,” he asserts, emphasizing that the path, though challenging, is worth every hurdle.
Yet, it was a blend of destiny and preparedness that led him to Pow Wow Pitch. “Someone…sent me the link to pitch,” he recalls. The platform offered more than just an opportunity to present a business idea; it affirmed Ricky’s determination. For Ricky, the guidance of Pow Wow Pitch Mentors Colin Gervais from Mitacs and Edward Duschl from RBC was pivotal.
Ricky’s advice to budding Indigenous entrepreneurs mirrors his journey: “Don’t let fear hold you back! Don’t let that stop you from achieving everything you want.”
In gratitude, he shares, “I would like to thank Pow Wow Pitch for starting this organization. Without them, many of us wouldn’t get the attention [or the] opportunity to achieve our dreams.”
With Blackstone Concrete, he hasn’t just laid a foundation for a thriving business and cemented his legacy as an inspiration for many.
Register to watch Ricky pitch at the Professional Services Semi-Final Online Watch Party on September 11, 2023, at 6 PM ET and vote for Ricky to win the 2023 People’s Choice Prize (#12) before September 17, 2023.