Four Indigenous entrepreneurs advance to the Finals
Last night, Pow Wow Pitch, North America’s premier pitch competition for Indigenous entrepreneurs, presented in partnership with RBC, Shopify and Facebook, announced Cree and Objiway Executive Producer of Kejic Productions Erica Daniels from the Peguis First Nation in Manitoba as the 2021 Pow Wow Pitch Prairies Winner.
Erica has won $500 and has advanced to the Finals along with Tasha Power, Co-Founder and CMO of Kanatan Health Solutions from Saddle Lake Cree Nation, AB; Devon Fiddler, Founder & CEO of SheNative Goods from Waterhen Lake First Nation, SK; and, Harlan Wade Kingfisher, Founder & CEO of Smudge the Blades from Sturgeon Lake First Nation, SK. The four entrepreneurs are advancing to the Finals for a chance to win $25,000 to grow their businesses.
This Summer, 1,642 Indigenous entrepreneurs from across Turtle Island (Canada, the United States and Mexico) submitted one-minute video pitches of their businesses to win funds and support.
Last night, twenty-five Indigenous entrepreneurs from the Prairies pitched to a panel of judges, including RBC Vice President of Indigenous Banking Herb ZoBell; Shopify Support Advisor Cassie Singer; EDC National Lead for Indigenous-Led Exporters Todd Evans; Pow Wow Pitch Alumni and serial entrepreneur Matthew Nahdee; and, Canada Post Director of Parcels and eCommerce Luke Misczyk.
Pow Wow Pitch’s Founder Sunshine Tenasco announced the judges’ selection of the entrepreneurs advancing to the Finals and the regional winner.
The 2021 Pow Wow Pitch Prairies Winner is Executive Producer of Kejic Productions Erica Daniels. Kejic Productions is a Winnipeg-based production company that provides a wide variety of video production services, photography and graphic design.
“This was my second year applying for Pow Wow Pitch,” said Erica Daniels. “I wanted to return because it is such an excellent opportunity to network and market your business. In addition, prize funds would help me expand and provide opportunities for up-and-coming Indigenous filmmakers.”
Also moving onto the Final is Tasha Power, Co-Founder and CMO of Kanatan Health Solutions. Kanatan manufactures small-batch natural health products like hand sanitizers, handwash soaps, lotions and balms, and face masks.
“We applied to Pow Wow Pitch to help us get the word out about our business and to share how we have grown,” said Tasha Power. “Through Pow Wow Pitch, we are benefiting from mentorship and gaining recognition for our community.”
Devon Fiddler started SheNative Goods in 2014 as its CEO and Chief Changemaker. SheNative is a brand of leather goods and sustainable apparel dedicated to instilling inner strength and confidence in women.
“I felt that now was the time to apply to Pow Wow Pitch because SheNative has been gaining momentum after some major pivots,” said Devon Fiddler. “If I were to win, the $25,000 would contribute to expanding our design facilities, investing in production equipment, training employees, and contracting a digital marketing agency.”
The final Prairies entrepreneur advancing to the Final is Harlan Wade Kingfisher, Founder & CEO of Smudge the Blades, an Indigenous hockey apparel brand and clothing line for Indigenous youth, parents, kokums, mushums and hockey players. Smudge the Blades fosters pride and invests in opportunities for Indigenous youth to play hockey through its scholarship program.
“I applied to Pow Wow Pitch to join a ‘deadly’ community of Indigenous-owned businesses and to take my brand to the next level,” said Harlan Kingfisher. “Prize funds would support our marketing efforts, website upgrade, inventory for the holiday season, collaborations with Indigenous graphic artists, and our scholarship program.”
“Congratulations to Erica, Tasha, Devon and Harlan on advancing to the 2021 Pow Wow Pitch Finals,” said Sunshine Tenasco, Founder of Pow Wow Pitch. “Your resilience, creativity and commitment to celebrating and sharing our diverse Indigenous culture while making an impact is a testament to how our unique style of business can and will create a better future for us all.”
“Pow Wow Pitch is a tremendous showcase of Indigenous innovation and entrepreneurship,” says Dale Sturges, National Director for Indigenous Financial Services at RBC. “Indigenous entrepreneurs play a critical role in creating innovative solutions, sustainable communities, economic prosperity. It’s an honour for RBC to be part of the Pow Wow Pitch this year as we play our part to put a spotlight on Indigenous innovations and share their inspiring entrepreneurial stories with Canadians at large. We’re so proud of all of our participants, finalists and winners, and we will continue to support their growth and success in the future.”
“We’re honoured to be a part of the Pow Wow Pitch competition and play a role in supporting these incredibly innovative entrepreneurs as they start and scale their businesses,” said Garrick Tiplady, Vice President and Country Director, Facebook & Instagram Canada. “Congratulations to the semi-finalists and we wish them the best of luck in the next round!”
Click here to watch the Prairies Semi-Finals.
Erica, Tasha, Devon and Harlan are advancing to the 2021 Pow Wow Pitch Finale set to air on October 20, 2021. The entrepreneurs are pitching to win one of the following prizes: $3,000 for the Alumni Choice Prize, $5,000 for 3rd place, $10,000 for 2nd place, and $25,000 for 1st place.
Voting remains open for the People’s Choice Award until midnight on September 26. Everyone can vote for their favourite entrepreneur to get an Express Pass to the Grand Finale. There is one vote per person. Vote now.
Everyone can also register for free to watch the Pow Wow Pitch Finals to watchErica, Tasha, Devon and Harlan pitch for the big prizes, airing on October 20. Click here to register now.