On September 7, Pow Wow Pitch, North America’s premier pitch competition for Indigenous entrepreneurs, presented in partnership with RBC, Shopify, and Mastercard, announced three winners of the Consumer Semi-Final category:
Consumer Bath, Body and Beauty Winner: Shay Dekock-Kruger, the Penticton Indian Band Founder of HOLO EYES from Penticton, British Columbia.
Consumer Retail Winner: Chelsee Pettit, the Aamjiwnaang Founder of aaniin retail inc. from Tkaronto, Ontario.
Consumer Products Winner: Tanis Simpson, the Inuvialuit Founder of Qiviut Inc. from Nisku, Alberta.
Each winner has won $1,000 and is advancing to the Finals for a chance to win $25,000 to grow their businesses.
A reflection of Secwepemc values, Ashley’s business integrates Indigenous approaches throughout. “A big lesson that I implement is putting the good vibes and energy into anything I am doing,” she says, stressing the importance of positive energy in her work.
Her advice for aspiring entrepreneurs is heartfelt: “Build a strong support system… Staying grounded in your culture and beliefs will help shape your mindset. Be prepared to adapt and learn as you go. Set big goals and little goals – and celebrate all you have accomplished!”
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.
When asked about the Indigenous approach to entrepreneurship, Shay’s face lights up, “The essence of Indigenous entrepreneurship is the value of family and community. In HOLO EYES, I ensure that we foster a sense of community. Every product, every photoshoot, and every mobile service is a step towards bringing people together.”