Indigenous entrepreneur from Toronto, Ontario, wins $1,000 and advances 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 Jordan Smith, the Red River Métis Founder of Renterii from Toronto, Ontario, as the 2023 Pow Wow Pitch Technology Winner. Jordan 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 Friday, Sunshine Tenasco, Founder of Pow Wow Pitch, emceed the action-packed program, where the nine Technology Semi-Finalists had the opportunity to pitch their tech innovations and businesses in one minute for their chance to win.
Judges included Carrie Batt, Vice-President of Business Markets of Ontario North and East at RBC; Kyle Brennan Shàwinipinesì, Build Native Program Manager Shopify; Ross Strachan, Lead Technical Program Manager at Mastercard; Spencer Callaghan, Director of Brand & Communications at CIRA; and Scott Tizzard, Senior Relationship Manager at EDC.
“I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to pitch and the chance to grow as an entrepreneur on the national stage,” said Jordan Smith, Founder of Renterii. “Pow Wow Pitch has given us all a platform to inspire people from our communities to follow their own dreams.”
Renterii is a rental share app that allows its users to rent everyday items with convenience. Founder, Jordan Smith, created Renterii to innovate the way we share and buy and to “connect communities through sharing”. Jordan hopes to expand Renterii’s community across Canada, establish trusted rental partners with Indigenous businesses, and to further promote the app through digital marketing.
Jason Thomas, Founder of GeoFireFlow, was honoured as the Runner Up of the Technology Semi-Finals. In addition, the judges provided three Honourable Mentions to Tracy Persson, Founder of My Breast Day Inc.; James McInnes, Founder of Prompty; and, Courtney Hanak, Founder of Oonnie Food Technologies.
“Congratulations to Jordan Smith on advancing to the 2023 Pow Wow Pitch Finals for the second year in a row– a demonstration of perseverence,” said Sunshine Tenasco, Founder of Pow Wow Pitch. “We are so proud of your growth and the innovation Renterii will bring to communities everywhere. Renterii is good for the environment, economy and community and has the potential to scale globally–the right idea at the right time! Jordan, we look forward to watching your impact grow throug your business.”
“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 Jordan Smith on advancing to the next round.”
Jordan 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.