For budding entrepreneurs, Raphaëlle’s advice is straightforward yet profound. “Surround yourself. There are so many people out there who can help you and inspire you. Connect with them. Keep an open mind. Believe in yourself and work hard.”
For budding entrepreneurs, Carissa’s advice is profoundly spiritual and grounded: “You can decolonize your business and do what feels right and is in alignment with your values.” She encourages authenticity, urging entrepreneurs to “stay connected to passion and purpose” and to perceive rejection as guidance from the Creator.
For aspiring entrepreneurs, Felisha has a straightforward piece of advice: “Go for it and figure it out as you grow.” She emphasizes the importance of learning from mistakes and not waiting for the “right time” to start. According to her, every small step, even if it’s just 10 or 15 minutes a day, brings you closer to your goals.
For Rachael, the most enriching part of her journey is seeing the transformation of her clients. “The best part of what I do is that I get to empower other women to create their own Freedom Life, on their terms. I love witnessing the transformation of my clients and seeing them step into their full potential.”
Tanya’s entrepreneurial journey is a testament to resilience. This summer, she hosted the first-ever “Honouring Anishnabe” section at Alliston Ontario’s potato festival. An event that, for the first time in 51 years, acknowledged the Indigenous community. “Being an entrepreneur has helped me give our people a voice in my small town here in Ontario,” she remarked.
From battling self-doubt to confronting her fear of public speaking, Shayna’s journey with Skoden Hair Ties has propelled personal and professional growth. However, her resilience has shone through each hurdle. “As an entrepreneur, it’s natural to face self-doubt and question your own worthiness. But it’s important to remember that these feelings are common and do not reflect your true abilities,” she reflects.
Inspiration often has roots in personal experiences, and for Kelly and Ramona, it’s no different. Kelly recalls the indomitable spirit of her grandmother, an educator who ventured back to college at sixty. “She always gave back to her community even when she didn’t have a lot to give,” Kelly reflects. This commitment to community and relentless spirit reverberates in their work ethos.
When it comes to inspiration, Tim fondly reminisces about his experiences with the Hon. Murray Sinclair and his grandfather, George Blondin. “Being part of his journey with the TRC, I witnessed the different ways and degrees of advocating for survivors.” His grandfather, who despite immense personal loss, continued to live with dignity, serves as another beacon of inspiration for Tim.
Shelly Perley’s advice to budding Indigenous entrepreneurs is both simple and profound. “Lead from your heart and make sure you enjoy what you do. There will be many roadblocks, but a drive and passion for the work will help push you through. Be yourself and open to trying new things. As long as there is passion for it, there is a will and a way.”
Burrden Acres was conceived not just as a venture, but a means to offer a culturally rich healing. Situated amidst nature, this unique organization provides an ‘on-the-land, out-of-office’ therapeutic environment. Drawing from the Seven Grandfather Teachings and the medicine wheel, Shannon’s curriculum has been a beacon of hope for many. As she says, “Most of our clients leave feeling a deeper connection with not only their paired equine, but also themselves.”
First-Place Winner, Lisa Perley-Dutcher, Founder and Director of Kehkimin, a non-profit Wolastoqey Language Immersion School, founded her school with the purpose to replenish and revitalize the traditional language and knowledge of the Walostoqey people. “Pow Wow Pitch is supporting something that is so vital to our people and our language,” said Lisa. “[with the funding and in-kind support] we can make sure that our new students are well supported.”
Donna candidly shares, “One of the most rewarding parts of being an entrepreneur is the independence and flexibility.”However, Tremble doesn’t shy away from acknowledging the challenges, citing uncertainty as the toughest obstacle. “The uncertainty of it all is the most challenging part,” she admits. But, she also praises the pivotal role market research played in guiding her venture’s trajectory.
For budding Indigenous entrepreneurs, Skyler’s advice is,”Go for it,” he urges. Amplifying his commitment to fostering the spirit of entrepreneurship, he adds, “We need more of us, I am here for it and will do anything to help support.” A special nod goes to Futurpreneur for their unending support in his journey.
On Indigenous approaches to entrepreneurship, Esther feels a sense of pride and empowerment. “It’s been empowering to connect with other Indigenous entrepreneurs. It makes me happy to be showing my children and grandchild what I have been able to do. And hoping this lives on to them with whatever they desire to be.”
Sharon’s entrepreneurial journey is filled with pride and challenges alike. She beams with pride, mentioning, “I am most proud of the impact this program that I created has and can have on the women I support.” However, like all entrepreneurs, she acknowledges the hurdles, stating the most challenging aspect is “getting the word out and finding the funding to enable Indigenous women to take the program.”