2021 Indigenous Entrepreneurship Awards
November 4, 2021 | Tonight, Pow Wow Pitch, a non-profit organization supporting and celebrating Indigenous entrepreneurs, announced Gerald James Brandon from Dokis First Nation as a winner of the Up and Comer Award at the inaugural Indigenous Entrepreneurship Awards, which celebrate excellence and outstanding achievement and impact in Indigenous entrepreneurship.
A ‘60’s scoop survivor’, Gerald James Brandon, is an example of achievement through resilience and struggle.
In his teenage years, Gerry experienced homelessness, addiction and spent time in jail. Yet, he persevered to attain degrees in business, planning, culinary arts and teaching, mentoring young people and at-risk youth throughout his life.
Gerry and his wife returned to his childhood community in Northern Ontario to embark on a ‘retirement project’ to bring positive change.
Despite facing overt racism, construction and funding setbacks, Gerry opened L’Autochtone Taverne Americaine in 2019 as an upmarket urban ‘Bar & Grill.’
Gerry also resurrected a landmark convenience store in Haileybury called ‘Busters Mini Mart’ in February 2021 to help with pandemic travails.
Gerry employs 30 staff and has returned more than $500,000 to the community through wages, taxes and local purchases, with a goal of handing over ownership to the long-term team as a legacy that will continue to enrich the community.
Having just turned 60-years-old, Gerry is ‘just getting started’ and shares this award with his wife, co-workers and staff who have weathered the pandemic and remained resilient.
“The best part of the journey is the people,” said Gerry Brandon. “I am proud when I see our team buying their first homes, growing their families, growing as individuals and contributing to their community. This Award is for my spouse, co-workers, and staff in recognition and gratitude for their efforts, patience during the pandemic, for their commitment to the community.”
“It is an honour for us to celebrate and recognize excellence and outstanding impact in Indigenous entrepreneurship,” said Sunshine Tenasco, Founder of Pow Wow Pitch. “Gerry is using entrepreneurial skills to breathe oxygen and bring pride into his community. While Gerry claims just to be getting started, he is already making an impact through his example.”