Indigenous entrepreneur from Winnipeg, MB wins $1,000 and advances to the Pow Wow Pitch Finals.
On September 5th, Pow Wow Pitch, North America’s premier pitch competition for Indigenous entrepreneurs, presented in partnership with RBC, Shopify and Mastercard, announced Kelly Kristin, the Shamattawa First Nation Founder of Indigenous Parents Community from Winnipeg, MB, as the 2023 Pow Wow Pitch Non-Profit Semi-Final Winner. Kelly has won $1,000 and is advancing to the Finals for a chance to win $25,000 to grow her 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.
Tonight, Sunshine Tenasco, Founder of Pow Wow Pitch, emceed the action-packed program, where the eight Non-Profit Semi-Finalists had the opportunity to pitch their non-profit organizations and community initiatives in one minute for their chance to win.
Judges included Matthew Nahdee, Alumni Champion of Pow Wow Pitch; Glenna Tapper, Senior Manager of Communications at CIRA; Crystal Muldoe, Senior Manager of Indigenous Markets at RBC; and Kate Karn, Director of Public Policy and Changeworks at Mastercard.
“I am so excited to funnel [the prize funds] back to the Indigenous community and help more people reach their educational and professional goals,” said Kelly Kirstin, upon winning the semi-final competition. “Community is where my passion lies and they deserve all the support I can put in place for them.”
Kelly Founded the Indigenous Parents Community to create a community for Indigenous parents to support them on their personal, professional, and parental journeys. The Indigenous Parents Community provides mentorship, networking and leadership programs to help support parents in professional settings and to gain skills to help them navigate career challenges and personal growth. “We organize networking events and workshops that bring Indigenous parents and professionals together, creating meaningful connections and collaboration opportunities,” said Kelly.
Kelly pitched to win funds to expand her programming and sponsorship as a non-profit organization. The Indigenous Parents Community provides mentorship, workshops and event attire to support parents in their job search and interview journeys.
The judges congratulate Kelly for a job well done in her presentation, especially in her organization and ability deliver her message to a wide audience. The Indigenous Parents Community was selected for its potential and strong community impact.
This is Kelly’s second attempt pitching at Pow Wow Pitch. Speaking to her fellow Indigneous entrepreneurs, Kelly shares, “I have learned to never give up in the face of barriers like colonialism. I have learned to value the power that one single voice can have, let alone the power of many. Don’t stop. Don’t give up. You’re valuable, you’re unique, you’re needed.”
“Congratulations to Kelly Kristin on her win to advance to the 2023 Pow Wow Pitch Finals,” said Sunshine Tenasco, Founder of Pow Wow Pitch. “The Indigenous Parents Community is an organization that is doing such important work to uplift and impact parents. We look forward to spotlighting and sharing Kelly and the Indigenous Parents Community with the Pow Wow Pitch community and growing together.”
Alongside selecting a winner, the judges also acknowledge the Runner Up for the Non-Profit Category. Jasmine LaBillois, Founder of Msit No’kmaq Forest & Nature School, iwas recognized for a compelling presentation and her work to foster Indigenous education.
In addition, the judges provided two honourable mentions. Daniel Stonechild, Founder of FN Basketball Inc, received an honourable mention for creating change and impact for Indigenous youth through sport. Esther Maud, Founder of Wabshkaa Animkii Benesii After-School Program received an honourable mention for her efforts to bring Indigenous culture to the classroom.
“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 Kelly on advancing to the next round.”
Kelly 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.