Pow Wow Pitch scales Turtle Island to spotlight Indigenous entrepreneurs
2021 marks a year of massive growth for Pow Wow Pitch as it scales its Pitch Competition and programming for Indigenous entrepreneurs across Turtle Island.
Pow Wow Pitch Founder, Sunshine Tenasco, Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg entrepreneur started Pow Wow Pitch seven years ago to build a supportive community of Indigneous entrepreneurs.
“I started Pow Wow Pitch because I believe entrepreneurship is the path to self-sufficiency,” said Founder Sunshine Tenasco. “Being on Dragon’s Den changed my life. When Brett Wilson and Arlene Dickenson invested and believed in me, it gave me the courage to continue my entrepreneurship journey. I hope Pow Wow Pitch helps to give that gift to someone else.”
Last year, Pow Wow cancellations due to pandemic closures meant that Pow Wow Pitch had to move online, which enabled Indigenous entrepreneurs from across Canada to participate. With the success of the move to digital, this year Pow Wow Pitch is now open to any Indigenous entrepreneur across Turtle Island to cover Canada and the United States.
The 2021 Program includes a Pow Wow Pitch Competition with the largest cash prizes yet; a Pow Wow Pitch Box program to market and distribute Indigenous-owned products; an Indigenous Startup Program to provide free mentorship, training, resources and exposure to Indigenous entrepreneurs; the Indigenous Entrepreneur Awards to celebrate Indigenous entrepreneurial icons, and, a new Pow Wow Pitch Podcast featuring unfiltered conversations of impact, healing, and reconciliation through entrepreneurship.
To stand and scale the programs, partnerships and production, Tenasco, brought onto the Team, longtime collaborators and co-founders of Startup Canada, Victoria Lennox, M.S.M. as Executive Producer and Cyprian Szalankiewicz, M.S.M. as Creative Producer.
“I have spent my career building sustainable impact organizations and initiatives that encourage, support and celebrate entrepreneurship and which unite and strengthen business ecosystems,” said Victoria Lennox. “I am thrilled to support Sunshine in her vision and to lead this phase of Pow Wow Pitch establishment and growth to realize our complete vision of building a thriving global Indigenous entrepreneurship platform, no less recognized than the Dragon’s Den.”
To mark this new chapter, Pow Wow Pitch launched a new brand and website look this week.
“I have always been so inspired by the entrepreneurs that pitch at Pow Wow Pitch,” said Creative Producer Cyprian Szalankiewicz. “The new Pow Wow Pitch brand puts Indigenous entrepreneurs at the centre of our work and celebrates them as bringing that ‘wow factor’, surrounded by a circle representing a spotlight and a community of trust and support.”
To support the strategic growth and direction of Pow Wow Pitch, a new Advisory Council will support the Team to build scalable and sustainable growth plans and partnerships. Advisory Board Members include Pow Wow Pitch Alumni and CEO of Cheekbone Beauty Jennifer Harper, CEO of NACCA Shannin Metatawabin, Diversity, Inclusion and Youth Deputy Minister, Gina Wilson, Shopify Global Indigenous Programs Lead David Pereira, and RBC Vice President of Commercial Markets Winnipeg, Aaron Martyniw.
“I am so proud to see how far Pow Wow Pitch has come,” said Gina Wilson. “I look forward to contributing advice to help guide this initiative to support more Indigenous vendors and entrepreneurs to succeed.”
“Pow Wow Pitch marked an important milestone for the beginnings of Cheekbone Beauty,” said Jennifer Harper. “The mentorship and exposure I received, the friendships I formed, and the community of support that rallied around me and continues to cheer me on have been priceless. I am delighted to contribute to this next phase of Pow Wow Pitch’s journey to grow its impact.”
Throughout the month of June, Pow Wow Pitch will announce new partnerships with industry leaders, new collaborations with Indigenous artists and businesses, drop its first podcasts, and announce the opening of applications for the 2021 Pow Wow Pitch and Indigenous Entrepreneur Awards.