Sydney Jacobs, owner of Kenniwaa (rear left), Mark Marsolais-Nahwegahbow, owner of BirchBarkCoffee (rear right), Toby Shannan, COO, Shopify (front left), Sunshine Tenasco, founder of Pow Wow Pitch, (front right).

Shopify Expands Support for Pow Pow Pitch

May 27, 2021

Supporting every Indigenous entrepreneur to sell online

Today, Pow Wow Pitch, North America’s premier pitch competition for emerging Indigenous entrepreneurs, announced Shopify’s expanding support as the global commerce company becomes a co-presenting sponsor for the 2021 Indigenous-led program. 

Pow Wow Pitch launched seven years ago as a grassroots pitch contest for vendors at the Ottawa Summer Solstice Pow Wow. Shopify started sponsoring the competition from its early years with its own roots in Ottawa, and has grown its support each year as the competition expands to support more entrepreneurs. 

Pow Wow vendors have had to move their businesses online in response to pandemic lockdowns. Shopify’s goal is to make the transition as seamless as possible to move from Pow Wow stalls to online sales. Last year’s Pow Wow Pitch winners, Vancouver-based Sister’s Sage and Skwalwen Botanical and Quebec-based Kokom Scrunchies, are excellent examples of Indigenous-led businesses built on Shopify. 

“I want to help every Indigenous creator, maker, builder and entrepreneur to feel supported, celebrated and appreciated, as they share their culture and heart through their businesses,” said Sunshine Tenasco, Founder of Pow Wow Pitch. “Through our partnership with Shopify, I hope to scale our support across Turtle Island, supporting Indigenous entrepreneurs across Canada, the U.S. and Mexico to get online, sell online, and see themselves as the business leaders they already are.”

This year, Pow Wow Pitch has expanded with an Indigenous Startup Program, a Podcast Series and Awards to complement the Pitch competition. This year, for the first time, it is also opening its pitch competition to Indigenous entrepreneurs across the United States. 

“Beyond the economic contribution and employment, Indigenous entrepreneurship is important for cultural perpetuity, strengthening communities, and showcasing some of the most luminous and vibrant economy building minds,” said Toby Shannan, Chief Operating Officer of Shopify. “Shopify is committed to reducing barriers to Indigenous entrepreneurship, and is proud to continue sponsoring and empowering with Pow Wow Pitch.”

Shopify’s Indigenous Programs Lead, David Pereira, will join the Pow Wow Pitch Advisory Board with an eye on global expansion of the Indigenous-led grassroots initiative. Shopify plans to support Pow Wow Pitch by partnering on webinars, hosting a hack-a-thon, contributing mentors to pitchers, adjudicating the competition, and contributing prize dollars for winning entrepreneurs. 

To learn more about the partnership between Pow Wow Pitch and Shopify, visit