SISTERS SAGE WINS THE 2020 POW WOW PITCH
Indigenous entrepreneurs take home $25,000 in prizes
Ottawa, ON – October 20, 2020 | Today, Pow Wow Pitch, Canada’s premier pitch competition for emerging Indigenous entrepreneurs, announced Lynn-Marie Angus, Co-Owner of Sisters Sage as the 2020 National Winner of the competition and the recipient of the grand prize of $10,000.
Following a qualifying Semi-Final Round, this afternoon, Canada’s top 25 Indigenous entrepreneurs went head-to-head pitching their businesses to an esteemed panel of judges as part of the 2020 Pow Wow Pitch presented by RBC with the support of Shopify, Canada Post, BDC, and NACCA.
Co-Hosted by Sunshine Tenasco, CEO of the Pow Wow Pitch, and Ashley Callingbull, the first Indigenous woman in Canada to win the Mrs. Universe title, the final showdown featured entrepreneurs from nations coast to coast to coast like the Mi’kmaq, Mohawk and Algonquin, Cree, Inuit, Metis and Squamish.
The Young Entrepreneur of the Year Prize of $1,000 awarded to an Indigenous youth under the age of 30 and presented by Shopify, went to Gavin Deconte, Founder of Decontie Clean, a commercial and residential cleaning business seeing a surge in demand due to COVID-19.
“I am honoured to win the Youth Prize as a huge validation for Decontie Clean,” said Gavin Decontie. “Pow Wow Pitch is a great platform to promote my business and the funds will help me to purchase new equipment to grow my business.”
The Third Place Prize of $2,500 presented by BDC went to 9-year-old Mya Beaudry, of Gatineau, QC- Founder of Kokom Scrunchies, an e-commerce business selling handmade scrunchies named after inspiring women.
“Being the youngest Pow Wow Pitcher, I feel so proud to have made the ‘Top 3’!” said Mya Beaudry. “I just want to inspire others to follow their dreams too and am so happy that everyone likes Kokom Scrunchies as much as I do.” Mya plans to use the prize funds to purchase new fabrics and to develop a line of products for her customers.
The Second Place Prize of $5,000 presented by Canada Post went to Leigh Joseph, Owner of Sḵwálwen Botanicals, an Indigenous plant-based skincare and wellness brand that honours ancestral knowledge and celebrates Squamish culture.
“Participating in the Pow Wow Pitch helped me to focus on the core essence of my business and share that with the world, all while being amongst the most inspiring Indigenous entrepreneurs and leaders in Canada,” said Leigh Joseph. “I am using the prize funds to purchase equipment that will help me scale production, as well as enhance my packaging and customer experience.”
The 2020 Pow Wow Pitch Winner presented by RBC went to Lynn-Marie Angus, Co-Owner of Sisters Sage, an Indigenous Wellness brand, combining the traditional with the modern, located in New Westminster, BC.
“More than anything, Pow Wow Pitch has made me feel truly connected to an amazingly supportive network of Indigenous entrepreneurs,” said Lynn-Marie Angus. “Winning is a huge confidence booster for me professionally and personally and has helped me to get Sisters Sage more visibility, which also inspires other Indigenous entrepreneurs to start up.” Lynn-Marie will be using the $10,000 prize to move her business out of her basement and into a renovated garage with a bigger production space and capacity to bring on employees.
“This year Pow Wow Pitch scaled nationally and I have been blown away by the passion, resilience, impact and comradery of all of the semi-finalists, finalists and winners,” said Sunshine Tenasco, CEO of Pow Wow Pitch. “Congratulations to Gavin, Mya, Leigh and to Lynn-Marie. Each of you displays the promise and vision of Canada’s Indigenous entrepreneurs and I know that you all have bright futures ahead.”
“Congratulations to all the winners!” said Dale Sturges, National Director, Indigenous Financial Services, RBC. “Thank you for participating in the Pow Wow Pitch. Your creativity and innovative ideas are going to change the world.”
Canadians are invited to enjoy the products made by the Pow Wow Pitch cohort by purchasing the Pow Wow Pitch Box available through Indiegogo. Featuring products from ten Indigenous entrepreneurs, each Box directly supports Indigenous entrepreneurs through purchasing their products and contributes to the development of Canada’s first Seed Fund for Indigenous-Led Ventures.
Founder, Pow Wow Pitch
About Pow Wow Pitch
Pow Wow Pitch is an entrepreneurship program for emerging Indigenous entrepreneurs, which provides a safe, supportive, collaborative, empowering and culturally supportive environment that addresses the unique challenges of Indigenous entrepreneurs and aspiring Indigenous entrepreneurs. Pow Wow Pitch enhances, develops and accelerates the growth for current and aspiring Indigenous entrepreneurs in a sustainable way through programs and resources. Community leadership through volunteerism is promoted as a reflection of respect and reciprocity as the foundation of the Pow Wow Pitch. Creating opportunities for Indigenous entrepreneurs to shine. For more information, visit https://www.powwowpitch.org/.
About RBC Indigenous Financial Services Group
For more than 100 years, RBC has been building strong relationships with First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities across Canada. We are committed to serving Indigenous governments, communities, organizations, businesses and individuals by creating opportunities for sustainable economic development through access to banking and capital, community and social development, employment, education and training and procurement. RBC also provides donations and grants that support Indigenous interests. More information is available at rbcroyalbank.com/indigenous.