PHOTO: Trisha Pitura (left), Co-Founder of MINI TIPI, presenting the MINI TIPI Prize to Marisa Dube (right), Founder of Eiralize Lashes at the 2023 Ottawa Summer Solstice Pow Wow Pitch.

MINI TIPI Gives Back: Three Extra Prizes for Indigenous Entrepreneurs at Ottawa Summer Solstice Pow Wow Pitch

June 27, 2023

$3,000 in additional prizes donated for this year’s Summer Solstice Pow Wow Pitch

On Saturday, June 24th, Pow Wow Pitch, North America’s premier pitch competition for Indigenous entrepreneurs, presented in partnership with RBC, Shopify, Mastercard, Invest Ottawa and ADAAWE, announced its 2023 Ottawa Summer Solstice Pow Wow Pitch Winners. Amongst those winners, were an additional three prizes, courtesy of MINI TIPI

“MINI TIPI is super excited to be part of Pow Wow Pitch,” said Trisha Pitura, Co-founder of MINI TIPI. “We’ve actually pitched three times, participating as entrepreneurs. To see the progress we have made from the opportunities we’ve received from Pow Wow Pitch is unbelievable. We love and support everything that Pow Wow Pitch does for entrepreneurs to give them that space and stage to stand out, dream big, and tell their story. This year we really wanted to allow entrepreneurs to have more opportunities, so MINI TIPI has given three prizes of $1,000 each, from entrepreneur to entrepreneur, to lift each other up and to see us all succeed together.”

Two of these prizes were presented during the Top 10 announcement and were selected by the first-round of judges, Jason McDonald, Business Development Manager at Futurprenuer Canada, Relay Tangie, Director of Finance at NACCA, Lindley Graham, Director of Small Business Marketing at Canada Post, Paula Hopkins, Director of Entrepreneurship at Invest Ottawa, Karla Briones, Founder of Immigrant Entrepreneur Canada, and Shehnila Sayeed, Communications Specialist at CIRA

The Community Impact Prize was awarded to the pitcher that showed passion and dedication to giving back to Indigenous communities and helping others. The Start Up Prize was awarded to the pitcher that is at the beginning stages of their entrepreneurial journey but also showed great potential and drive.

The Community Impact Prize of $1,000 was awarded to Alexandra Whiteduck, Co-Progrect Manager of Project Nibi, for her commitment  to gain access to clean water to Indigenous communities. Project Nibi is a student-led social enterprise based at the University of Ottawa that focuses on investigating and creating a sustainable way to tackle the water crisis affecting Indigenous communities across Canada. Alexandra was also selected into the Top 10. “I feel so honoured to win this award and to make it into the Top 10,” said Alexandra. “I’m super excited to see how everyone comes out after being mentored and seeing everyone’s new pitches!” Alexandra goes on to say about the Pow Wow Pitch experience, “It’s just one minute of your life but it could change your life forever.”

The Start Up Prize of $1,000 was awarded to Shannon David, Owner of Shannon David Leather Creations, in recognition of her potential and drive to succeed. Shannon David Leather Creations specializes in traditional weaving using leather materials. She pours her spirit into her creations, making each design so unique. “I’m so thankful a friend told me about Pow Wow Pitch,” said Shannon. “The event was so professional and welcoming. I really felt the love and I made connections that will help my small business. Nia:wen to the Pow Wow Pitch Family, I will use this big check to purchase leather and continue to grow my business.”

The judges also made an honourable mention to Kona Decoursey, Owner of Love, Koko, for her artistic drive and courage. Kona took home a bundle of gifts including a MINI TIPI bag and Pow Wow Pitch swag. Love, Koko is a streetwear brand that captures Indigenous design in urban style clothing. “It was a real feel good moment for me, I was very honoured,” said Kona.

Pow Wow Pitch welcomed Trisha Pitura, Co-founder of MINI TIPI to the judges table for Round 2, where she listened to and judged the Top 10 pitches, from which she selected the winner of the third MINI TIPI Prize of $1,000.

The MINI TIPI Prize of $1,000 was awarded to Marissa Dube, Founder of Eiralize Lashes for her all around presentation, attention to product quality, and potential to scale. Eiralize Lashes is a woman- and Indigenous-owned beauty brand that is dedicated to giving back and making beauty affordable. “I’m really happy that I did the Pow Wow Pitch,” said Marissa. “The main push for me was to practice public speaking and winning the money was just a bonus. I’m glad I got to take home $1,000 from MINI TIPI. I will definitely do it again next year and I’m excited for the virtual competition!”

In addition to all of the prizes won this weekend, MINI TIPI stepped up again to give back to the Pow Wow Pitch community by awarding Desiree Streit, Founder of Friday Night Beading Club with a MINI TIPI mentorship opportunity. Trisha saw great potential in Desiree’s Bougie Board, which is a beading tool that allows beaders to take their craft wherever they go with ease. “I’m really thankful for the opportunity that Pow Wow Pitch is here and makes it accessible for Indigenous entrepreneurs like myself, who are just starting out to network and get their products out there and be a part of a community which is really important to me,” said Desiree. “And that businesses like MINI TIPI have come up through the channels and are now mentoring young business owners like myself.”

“We live for full circle moments like this,” said Sunshine Tenasco, Founder of Pow Wow Pitch. ”We are so thankful to Trisha and Mélanie, for giving back to the community in this way. MINI TIPI understands the importance of reciprocity and investing in future generations.”