Supporting vendors to scale from pow wows stalls to global markets
Today, Pow Wow Pitch, North America’s premier pitch competition for emerging Indigenous entrepreneurs, announced a national partnership with Export Development Canada to support Indigenous entrepreneurs to start global businesses from day one.
Indigenous Canadians are starting businesses at twice the rate as non-Indigenous Canadians, and Indigenous women are starting businesses at five times the rate as non-Indigenous women. Support for Indigenous creators, makers, artists and entrepreneurs has yet to keep pace with what the Indigenomics Institute projects will be a $100B economy by 2030.
Last year, Pow Wow Pitch engaged hundreds of Indigenous entrepreneurs across Canada who expressed ambition to grow sustainable and global businesses to benefit their communities. Pow Wow Pitch founder, Sunshine Tenasco, recognized the need to provide more significant support to help Indigenous vendors reach their global ambitions through mentorship, training, storytelling, and building inroads with partners to accelerate their success.”
“It’s important for the business support ecosystem in Canada to meet Indigenous entrepreneurs ‘where they are’ and to recognize that ‘where they are’ is perfectly fine,” said Sunshine Tenasco, Founder, Pow Wow Pitch. “I am proud to be working with EDC to build a path for Indigenous entrepreneurs to grow in the way they see best, whereby the ecosystem follows their lead and supports their vision, rather than the other way around.”
EDC is committed to supporting Indigenous companies in Canada in achieving their international business goals. The organization has teams dedicated to bettering the inclusiveness, diversity and equity in and around its business. In 2020, EDC launched an Indigenous exporter strategy and began work on its first supplier diversity program, which has a goal of creating more opportunities for diverse businesses within its own supply chain. The organization served 77 Indigenous-led businesses in 2020, facilitating $119.3 million in business.
“Indigenous nations were traders long before the arrival of the first European settlers, and this natural, entrepreneurial trading spirit is just as strong today,” said Todd Evans, National Lead for Indigenous Exporters, EDC. “EDC is committed to supporting Indigenous entrepreneurs on their export journey, and we are proud to partner with Pow Wow Pitch to make our services accessible and relevant for this important segment of Canada’s exporters.”
The partnership between EDC and Pow Wow Pitch involves global expansion training, engaging EDC employees as mentors, adjudicating the pitch competition, and contributing prize dollars for winning entrepreneurs.
In addition to supporting the global expansion of entrepreneurs, this year, Pow Wow Pitch is also scaling globally, beginning its international development to the United States to showcase entrepreneurs across Turtle Island.
To learn more about the partnership between Pow Wow Pitch and EDC, visit powwowpitch.org/edc.