Expanding the ecosystem of support for Indigenous Entrepreneurs
Today, Pow Wow Pitch, North America’s premier pitch competition for emerging Indigenous entrepreneurs, announced NACCA – the National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association – is expanding its support as a Seed-Level Sponsor to help nurture the ecosystem and grow the funnel of Indigenous-owned businesses.
According to a recent RBC report, Indigenous businesses contribute more than $30 billion to Canada’s economy, with the Indigenomics Institute forecasting this will grow to $100 billion within five years. In large part, Indigenous entrepreneurs will drive this growth, starting businesses five times the national average, with Indigenous women starting businesses twice the rate as non-Indigenous women.
The rise of Indigenous entrepreneurs will strengthen economic recovery, regional growth, job creation, and reconciliation.
However, according to NACCA, Indigenous entrepreneurs report a lack of support, with less than 20 percent having accessed capital from financial institutions. Tailored programming for Indigenous entrepreneurs to startup and scale remains limited, fragmented, and fails to provide the trusted community and infrastructure necessary to generate real-entrepreneurial momentum.
Pow Wow Pitch launched seven years ago as a grassroots pitch contest for vendors at the Ottawa Summer Solstice Pow Wow. Last year, Pow Wow Pitch moved online due to pandemic lockdowns and attracted record-number participation from Inuit, Metis and First Nations entrepreneurs across Canada.
“Small businesses make up 71% of all jobs in Canada, and Indigenous People have a huge opportunity to participate”, said Shannin Metatawabin, CEO of NACCA. “That’s why NACCA is proud to support Pow Wow Pitch as a unique way to build excitement, interest and awareness of entrepreneurship as a career option while building an ecosystem to support Indigenous entrepreneurs.”
This year, Pow Wow Pitch has expanded with an Indigenous Startup Program, a more robust Mentorship Program, a Podcast Series, Indigenous Entrepreneur Awards, and is opening up the Pitch contest to Indigenous entrepreneurs across Turtle Island to include the United State.
“I would like Pow Wow Pitch to be a beacon of Indigenous entrepreneurship and to support Indigenous entrepreneurs with education, mentorship, inspiration, funding and a supportive and trusted ecosystem from start to scale,” said Sunshine Tenasco, Anishnabeg Founder of Pow Wow Pitch. “Our partnership with NACCA is an important step in connecting Pow Wow vendors and Indigenous entrepreneurs with Aboriginal Financial Institutions to build a path for growth.”
Mr. Metatawabin will join the Pow Wow Pitch Advisory Board supporting the growth ambitions of the Indigenous-led grassroots initiative. NACCA will support Pow Wow Pitch by partnering on webinars, engaging employees as mentors and adjudicators, and contributing prize dollars for winning entrepreneurs.