Indigenous entrepreneur from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan wins $1,000 and advances to the Pow Wow Pitch Finals.
On September 14, Pow Wow Pitch, North America’s premier pitch competition for Indigenous entrepreneurs, presented in partnership with RBC, Shopify, and Mastercard, announced Jacob Cyr, the Pasqua First Nation Founder of Treaty Four Tech from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, as the 2023 Pow Wow Pitch Startup Idea Winner. Jacob has won $1,000 and is advancing to the Finals for a chance to win $25,000 to grow his business.
More than 2,000 Indigenous entrepreneurs from across Canada and the United States applied to Pow Wow Pitch this year for their chance to win cash prizes and advance to the Pow Wow Pitch Finals. From the 2,000 applicants, 130 were selected as Semi-Finalists and provided with training and mentorship to prepare for their semi-final pitch to the Judges.
Last Thursday, Sunshine Tenasco, Founder of Pow Wow Pitch, emceed the action-packed program, where the seven Startup Ideas Semi-Finalists had the opportunity to pitch their innovative ideas and community initiatives in one minute for their chance to win.
Judges included Tracy Antoine, Senior Director of Indigenous Programs and Policies at RBC; Kyle Brennan Shàwinipinesì, Build Native Program Manager at Shopify; Bea Jimenez, Senior Specialist of Product Management and Product Owner at Mastercard; Noah Wilson, Senior Business Development Manager at Futurpreneur; and Sarah Aghvami, Director of Best Buy Health at Best Buy Canada.
“I decided to pitch my innermost childhood dreams because I knew if I did, I might be able to inspire someone who struggled like I did,” said Jacob Cyr, Founder of Treaty Four Tech. “I know many more will pursue a future in tech and I want them to know that everything they can think of is doable.”
Jacob Cyr is the innovative visionary behind the virtual reality and 3D storytelling model, Treaty Four Tech. Treaty Four Tech is an immersive VR experience that offers original stories and comic books such as Jacob Cyr’s, Homer The Dog. Jacob shared in his pitch that he wishes to fully establish his games on his own website and to expand to other game developers. “My winnings are going to bring the tech needed to launch this technical art and media service along with my games,” said Jacob. “When my platform launches I look forward to the exciting challenge of getting more voices and stories out there.”
Tyler Leslie, Founder of PowwowPaint, was honoured as the Runner Up of the Startup Ideas Semi-Final. In addition, the judges provided two Honourable Mentions to Jett Burden, Founder of Sacred Trails and Todd Pruden, Founder of Syllabatics.
“Congratulations to Jacob Cyr for being the first ever entrepreneur to be recognized as the Winner of the new Startup Ideas category,” said Sunshine Tenasco, Founder of Pow Wow Pitch. “It all starts with an idea and it takes courage to share your idea with the world. Jacob possesses an infectious and collaborative entrepreneurial spirit and with his skill, passion and work ethic, we know he will make waves with Treaty Four Tech and inspire the next generation of youth in STEM. Keep going Jacob, we are rooting for you!”
“Pow Wow Pitch is a tremendous showcase of Indigenous innovation and entrepreneurship, and the stories and achievements of this year’s semi-finalists are a testament to their creativity and entrepreneurial spirit,” said Michael Ferencich, Senior Vice President, Business Financial Services, RBC. “We’re so proud of all our participants and semi-finalists, and we will continue to support their growth and success in the future.”
“Being involved in Pow Wow Pitch is not just an honour, it’s a privilege to witness the creativity and innovation of Indigenous entrepreneurs,” said Kyle Brennan Shàwinipinesì, Build Native Program Manager at Shopify. “It’s a reminder of the resilience and strength of our communities and the power of entrepreneurship to create positive change. Shopify has played a proud role in supporting Pow Wow Pitch, so it is exciting to see how things have grown over the years. What an incredible opportunity for Indigenous entrepreneurs!”
“At Mastercard, we’ve been inspired by the innovative thinking and solutions brought forward by all the Indigenous entrepreneurs involved in this year’s Pow Wow Pitch,” said Sasha Krstic, President of Mastercard in Canada. “The future is brighter when Indigenous entrepreneurship is recognized, supported and celebrated, and we are honoured to play a role in continued success and growth of these entrepreneurs. Congratulations to all the pitchers and congratulations to Jacob on advancing to the next round.”
Jacob will now advance to the Pow Wow Pitch Finals to pitch for the Grand Prize of $25,000, which broadcasts online on October 19th. Visit www.powwowpitch.org for more information.