PHOTO: Matthew Nahdee, Pow Wow Pitch Alumni and successful serial entrepreneur supports the creation of Pow Wow Pitch Alumni Prize

Collecting firewood for the future

September 18, 2021

Pow Wow Pitch Alumni Matthew Nahdee launches Alumni Prize 

Today, Pow Wow Pitch, North America’s premier business pitch competition for Indigenous Entrepreneurs, announced the creation of the Pow Wow Pitch Alumni Prize to award a 2021 Pow Wow Pitch Finalist funds to support their business. 

Pow Wow Pitch launched seven years ago at the Ottawa Summer Solstice Pow Wow as a platform for Indigenous vendors to showcase their businesses and receive mentorship and support for their businesses. 

Pandemic lockdowns pushed the competition online, and this year, more than 1,600 Indigenous entrepreneurs from across Turtle Island pitched for their chance to win Pow Wow Pitch support and funds. 

Seven years in, Pow Wow Pitch Alumni are now at the forefront of Indigenous entrepreneurship and have built thriving businesses that benefit their communities. 

This year, Pow Wow Pitch Alumni and serial entrepreneur Matthew Nahdee presented the idea to create an Alumni Prize, whereby Alumni would pitch in funds to build a pot and select a Finalist to receive the Alumni Prize. 

“Pow Wow Pitch value was incalculable to my life,” said Nahdee. “Both the hard and soft skills acquired during the competition made me a better entrepreneur and grounded me in terms of the purpose and meaning of indigenous enterprise. I thought that this kindness should manifest into an alumni association where we show the same support and passion everyone at the Pow Wow Pitch showed me.”

In its first year of the Alumni Prize, Nahdee has pitched in $2,500 and is inviting Alumni to get involved in making this a growing prize for new Pow Wow Pitch entrepreneurs. Alumni who pitch in will gain a vote to help to select the recipient of the fund. 

“Investment in our people’s future aligns with our Seven Generation Philosophy,” said Nahdee. “As an Anishinaabe man, I have to be mindful that all I do impacts the next seven generations. By sharing and combining resources, our generation can do more good things for the future generations in more good ways.”

Nahdee hopes his initial Investment will kindle a fire for the future. 

“An Elder once called me a ‘Firewood Gatherer.’ He meant that the resources I collect are for the community. The Pow Wow Pitch is the best conduit for the burning of the firewood I collect. The Pow Wow Pitch adds wood to our people’s future and present fire.”

According to Nahdee, this is just the beginning. 

“Over time, I would love to see a Trust or Endowment fund set up, where all Alumni can contribute to, fund and coordinate philanthropic endeavours in our communities. Us. Helping. Us.”

Alumni and Indigenous entrepreneurs wishing to become involved with the Pow Wow Pitch Alumni Prize and Fund are invited to email