Top 4 in British Columbia, Advance to the Pow Wow Pitch Finals
The popular Pow Wow Pitch, North America’s premier pitch competition for Indigenous entrepreneurs, presented in partnership with RBC, Shopify and Facebook, saw 1,642 Indigenous entrepreneurs from across Turtle Island (Canada, the United States and Mexico) compete for the grand prize. Out of the 1,642 competitors, 150 were selected for the Semi-Finals. Last week, we discovered the Top 25 who will be advancing to the Finals - 4 of which were in BC.
Those that have advanced to the finals are Teresa of FILL, Anthony Wingham, Co-Founder of Nuez Acres from the Waceya Society, Langley; Ecko Aleck, Founder & Artist at Sacred Matriarch Creative from Nlaka’pamux and Pentlatch First Nations; and, Derek Douglas, Co-Founder of True Dispensers (formerly Triden Dispensers) from the Oneida Nation of the Thames.
Last night, the entrepreneurs from British Columbia pitched to a panel of judges, including RBC Vice President of Indigenous Markets Tracy Antoine; Shopify Indigenous Entrepreneurship Program Manager Tracy Ridler; Raven Indigenous Capital Partners Chief Investment Officer Stephen Nairne; Raven Reads Founder and CEO Nicole McLaren; and, Canada Post Director of Parcels and eCommerce Luke Misczyk.
Pow Wow Pitch’s Founder Sunshine Tenasco announced the judges’ selection of the entrepreneurs advancing to the Finals and the BC Winner.
Also moving onto the Finals is Anthony Wingham, Co-Founder of Nuez Acres, a family-owned business that provides hand-harvested skin, hair and wellness products using pure pecan oil.
“I applied to Pow Wow Pitch to build awareness of our products and brand,” said Anthony Wingham. “Prize funds would be used for target ad campaigns, SEO optimization and scaled marketing efforts to grow our business.”
Ecko Aleck, Founder & Artist at Sacred Matriarch Creative, supports Indigenous youth and women with healing and transformation through safe spaces, creative practices and sacred storytelling, sharing ancestral knowledge and decolonizing practices.
“We applied for Pow Wow Pitch to raise funds for the branding, program packaging and website relaunch to support or expansion,” said Ecko Aleck. “We are building a mobile studio, underpinned by a decolonized social enterprise, co-created by Indigenous youth for Indigenous youth.”
The final BC entrepreneur advancing to the Final is Derek Douglas, Co-Founder of Triden Dispensers, which provides touch-free dispensers and refill programs to promote a circular economy and eliminate excessive plastic waste produced from the cleaning products industry.
“I applied for Pow Wow Pitch to connect with a community of collaboration,” said Derek Douglas. “We would use prize funds to support the environment and health of Indigenous communities by introducing our dispensers to Indigenous communities across Turtle Island.”
“Congratulations to Teresa, Anthony, Ecko and Derek on advancing to the 2021 Pow Wow Pitch Finals,” said Sunshine Tenasco, Founder of Pow Wow Pitch. “Your resilience, creativity and commitment to celebrating and sharing our diverse Indigenous culture while making an impact is a testament to how our unique style of business can and will create a better future for us all.”
“Pow Wow Pitch is a tremendous showcase of Indigenous innovation and entrepreneurship,” says Dale Sturges, National Director for Indigenous Financial Services at RBC. “Indigenous entrepreneurs play a critical role in creating innovative solutions, sustainable communities, economic prosperity. It’s an honour for RBC to be part of the Pow Wow Pitch this year as we play our part to put a spotlight on Indigenous innovations and share their inspiring entrepreneurial stories with Canadians at large. We’re so proud of all of our participants, finalists and winners, and we will continue to support their growth and success in the future.”
“We’re honoured to be a part of the Pow Wow Pitch competition and play a role in supporting these incredibly innovative entrepreneurs as they start and scale their businesses,” said Garrick Tiplady, Vice President and Country Director, Facebook & Instagram Canada. “Congratulations to the semi-finalists and we wish them the best of luck in the next round!”
Teresa, Anthony, Ecko and Derek are advancing to the 2021 Pow Wow Pitch Final set to air on October 20, 2021. The entrepreneurs are pitching to win one of the following prizes: $3,000 for the Alumni Choice Prize, $5,000 for 3rd place, $10,000 for 2nd place, and $25,000 for 1st place.