Indigenous entrepreneur from Winnipeg, Manitoba, wins $1,000 and advances to the Pow Wow Pitch Finals.
On September 14, Pow Wow Pitch, North America’s premier pitch competition for Indigenous entrepreneurs, presented in partnership with RBC, Shopify, and Mastercard, announced Simon Monteith, the Opaskwayak Cree Nation Founder of Simon the Scientist from Winnipeg, Manitoba, as the 2023 Pow Wow Pitch Youth Winner. Simon Monteith has won $1,000 and is advancing to the Finals for a chance to win $25,000 to grow his business.
More than 2,000 Indigenous entrepreneurs from across Canada and the United States applied to Pow Wow Pitch this year for their chance to win cash prizes and advance to the Pow Wow Pitch Finals. From the 2,000 applicants, 130 were selected as Semi-Finalists and provided with training and mentorship to prepare for their semi-final pitch to the Judges.
Last night, Sunshine Tenasco, Founder of Pow Wow Pitch, emceed the action-packed program, where the five Youth Semi-Finalists had the opportunity to pitch their budding businesses and community initiatives in one minute for their chance to win.
Judges included Tracy Antoine, Senior Director of Indigenous Programs and Policies at RBC; Kyle Brennan Shàwinipinesì, Build Native Program Manager at Shopify; Bea Jimenez, Senior Specialist of Product Management and Product Owner at Mastercard; Noah Wilson, Senior Business Development Manager at Futurpreneur; and Sarah Aghvami, Director of Best Buy Health at Best Buy Canada.
“I had lots of fun last year with Pow Wow Pitch and I wanted to try it again,” said Simon Monteith, Creator of Simon the Scientist. “Pow Wow Pitch gave me a lot of knowledge and ideas to help my business get a kick start. The competition also helped me get into the news and increased my outreach and opportunities. I really enjoyed how nice everyone in the Pow Wow Pitch community is!”
Simon Monteith, the ten-year-old, Opaskwayak Cree, is the online creator behind Simon the Scientist. Simon began sharing science experiments at home in 2020 and since then has created the social media presence of Simon the Scientist known across Turtle Island. He is inspiring Indigenous youth through his science experiments, live streams, and educational videos. Simon plans to expand the impact of Simon the Scientist by incorporating merchandise with designs from Indigenous artists.
Cambria Wichmann, Founder of Resilience Rising, was honoured as the Runner Up for the Youth Semi-Final. In addition, the judges also provided an Honourable Mention to Kiera Tootoosis, Founder of Bear Hugs.
In addition, Pow Wow Pitch also announced the recipients of the 2023 Tech-4-Youth Technology Grants, in partnership with Best Buy Canada, to nine Indigenous youth. All youth pitchers and several youth Alumni of Pow Wow Pitch, were announced to receive free tech from Best Buy to support them in moving their businesses forward. To read the full story, click here.
“Congratulations to Simon Monteith for preserving to pitch for a second year in a row to win the Youth Semi-Final and to now move onto the 2023 Pow Wow Pitch Finals,” said Sunshine Tenasco, Founder of Pow Wow Pitch. “Simon, you are an inspiration and role model for Indigenous youth, sharing the wonders of science and tradition! Congratulations also to all of the Youth Semi-Finalists, you were all so great – keep going! The future of the next generation is so bright!”
“Pow Wow Pitch is a tremendous showcase of Indigenous innovation and entrepreneurship, and the stories and achievements of this year’s semi-finalists are a testament to their creativity and entrepreneurial spirit,” said Michael Ferencich, Senior Vice President, Business Financial Services, RBC. “We’re so proud of all our participants and semi-finalists, and we will continue to support their growth and success in the future.”
“Being involved in Pow Wow Pitch is not just an honour, it’s a privilege to witness the creativity and innovation of Indigenous entrepreneurs,” said Kyle Brennan Shàwinipinesì, Build Native Program Manager at Shopify. “It’s a reminder of the resilience and strength of our communities and the power of entrepreneurship to create positive change. Shopify has played a proud role in supporting Pow Wow Pitch, so it is exciting to see how things have grown over the years. What an incredible opportunity for Indigenous entrepreneurs!”
“At Mastercard, we’ve been inspired by the innovative thinking and solutions brought forward by all the Indigenous entrepreneurs involved in this year’s Pow Wow Pitch,” said Sasha Krstic, President of Mastercard in Canada. “The future is brighter when Indigenous entrepreneurship is recognized, supported and celebrated, and we are honoured to play a role in continued success and growth of these entrepreneurs. Congratulations to all the pitchers and congratulations to Kelly on advancing to the next round.”
Simon will now advance to the Pow Wow Pitch Finals to pitch for the Grand Prize of $25,000, which broadcasts online on October 19th. Visit www.powwowpitch.org for more information.