Three Indigenous entrepreneurs from across Turtle Island each win $1,000 and advance to the Pow Wow Pitch Finals.
On September 15, Pow Wow Pitch, North America’s premier pitch competition for Indigenous entrepreneurs, presented in partnership with RBC, Shopify, and Mastercard, announced three winners of the Fashion Semi-Final category, presented in partnership with Aritzia:
- Fashion Apparel Winner: Jodie Moonie, the Timiskaming First Nation Founder of Muusa from Notre Dame Du Nord, Quebec.
- Fashion Design Winner: Dante Biss-Grayson, the Osage Founder of Sky-Eagle Collection from Taos, New Mexico (USA).
- Fashion Shoes & Accessories Winner: Jason Picard-Binet, the Huron Wendat President of Bastien Industries from Wendake, Quebec.
Each entrepreneur has won $1,000 and is advancing to the Finals for a chance to win $25,000 to grow their businesses. In addition, each winner has won an Aritzia Fashion Grant of $2,500 and each Runner Up of the Fashion Category has won an Aritzia Runner Up Fashion Grant of $1,000. To read the announcement of the 2023 Aritzia Fashion Grants, click here.
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 Friday, Sunshine Tenasco, Founder of Pow Wow Pitch, emceed the action-packed program, where the twelve Fashion Semi-Finalists had the opportunity to pitch their fashion brands and businesses in one minute for their chance to win.
Judges included Cameron Skura, Senior Relationship Manager at RBC; Kyle Brennan Shàwinipinesì, Build Native Program Manager at Shopify; Nishita Padhy, Senior Analyst of Human Resources and Business Analytics, Mastercard; and Jackie Mckinley, Manager of Corporate Giving at Aritzia.
Fashion Apparel Semi-Final Spotlight
“This is my first time pitching and I wanted to be a part of the amazing Pow Wow Pitch community,” said Jodie Moonie, Founder of Muusa. “I’ve learned so much and met so many wonderful and inspiring people along the way.”
Muusa is an Indigenous- and women-owned scrub apparel brand that combines the beauty of traditional design with the functionality of healthcare wear. Founder, Jodie Moonie, created Muusa to create a product that makes the wearers feel comfortable, confident and empowered to best support the people that take care of everyone in healthcare. Jodie shares Muusa’s mission, “We’re here to make our healthcare workers shine, one scrub set at a time.”
To watch Jodie’s winning pitch, click here.
Jaret Smith, Founder of Unparalleled Clothing Company was honoured as the Runner Up of the Fashion Apparel Category and received an Aritzia Runner Up Fashion Grant of $1,000.
Fashion Design Semi-Final Spotlight
“My grandpa was one of our last elders, and each summer I would go on the powwow trail and help him,” said fashion designer and vetran Dante Biss-Grayson, Founder of Sky-Eagle Collection. “I came home from the war and started Sky-Eagle Collection with my family to celebrate and showcase our powwow traditions with my community and global runways.”
Sky-Eagle Collection is an Indigenous fashion house based in Taos, New Mexico, that celebrates the beauty of Indigenous culture and is committed to pushing the boundaries of Indigenous art by combining traditional with contemporary art styles. Dante pitched to expand his impact by designing and supplying uniforms for the casino industry and transitioning to in-community manufacturing to create more opportunities for local Indigenous people.
To watch Dante’s winning pitch, click here.
Raphaëlle Langevin, Founder of Matsheshu Créations, was honoured as the Runner Up for the Fashion Design Category and received an Aritzia Fashion Grant of $1,000. In addition, the judges provided an Honourable Mention to Wyatt Miller, Founder of Sparked Apparel.
Fashion Shoes & Accessories SemiFinal Spotlight
“As a former ITAC employee, I’ve always admired the work of the Pow Wow Pitch team,” said Jason Picard-Binet, Owner of Bastien Industries. “In April 2022, I decided to put an end to my career in tourism to pursue my dream of becoming an entrepreneur. When I bought Bastien Industries, it was clear to me that I was going to try out for the Pow Wow Pitch.”
Bastien Industries is a moccasin manufacturing company, originally founded in 1972 by the Bastien family and is owned today by Jason Picard-Binet. Bastien Industries crafts moccasins that represent the heritage of the Wendat people. Bastien Industries has taken strides to give back to the community through employment opportunities, sourcing everything locally, and a program that supports women reentering the workforce from the criminal justice system. Jason pitched to win funds to support him to scale digital marketing activities to grow online sales.
To watch Jason’s winning pitch, click here.
Janelle Alladina, Founder of Indiginize Creation, was honoured as the Runner Up of the Fashion Shoes & Accessories Category and received an Aritzia Fashion Grant of $1,000.
“Congratulations to Jodie, Dante, and Jason for moving onto the 2023 Pow Wow Pitch Finals,” said Sunshine Tenasco, Founder of Pow Wow Pitch. “It’s incredibly uplifting to see your creativity and innovation reshaping the fashion landscape. Your leadership in building Indigenous values, designs, and brands is transforming the fashion industry and inspiring others in your footsteps. From our communities to global runways, congratulations and good luck in the finals!”
“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 honor, 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 Jodie, Dante, and Jason on advancing to the next round.”
To watch the Fashion Semi-Final, click here.
Jodie, Dante, and Jason will now all 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.