Two First Nations entrepreneurs make it to the final of the pitch competition

Two Prairie First Nations entrepreneurs take one step closer to a $ 25,000 grand prize after being selected for the final of the Powwow Pitch, a national competition for Indigenous entrepreneurs.

“I am just honored and thrilled to be able to share more about what we do at Kejic Productions and hopefully receive a little more support to… grow our business and provide more of these opportunities to Indigenous youth,” said Erica. Daniels.

Daniels, of the Peguis First Nation, is the executive producer of Kejic Productions, which provides video production, graphic design and web development services in Winnipeg.

She got her start in the video production world as a youngster by participating in a multimedia program offered at the Broadway Neighborhood Center in 2007. In 2017, she started Kejic Productions when she saw a demand for video productions. and a need for aboriginal people. be responsible for telling Aboriginal stories.

“It’s a really exciting time,” Daniels said.

“We really have to claim our space … to live.”

Last year, Daniels qualified for the final of the Powwow Pitch competition, a partnership between RBC, Shopify and Facebook, but did not win the grand prize.

She said she had to overcome some doubts before entering the competition a second time, but is happy that she made the decision to continue.

“I really learned not to give up and to keep trying and keep seizing as many opportunities as possible that are available to Indigenous entrepreneurs,” Daniels said.

She said if she won, she would use the $ 25,000 to expand her production team and invest in new video equipment and technology.

Blur the blades

Harlan Kingfisher is a full-time energy engineer who last year launched Smudge the Blades, a clothing line for the Indigenous hockey community, as a side business.

The father of four is from Sturgeon Lake First Nation in Saskatchewan, located approximately 150 kilometers north of Saskatoon. He now lives in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta with his family.

He said he applied to the Powwow Pitch competition primarily for networking opportunities, and said he was surprised to be chosen as one of the finalists.

“I’m so proud to jump and scream… I’m so proud of my brand and our journey,” Kingfisher said.

Harlan Kingfisher says he was surprised by the success of his business after the first year of operation. (Submitted by Harlan Kingfisher)

If he wins, he said he would use the money to expand his company’s digital marketing by getting more opportunities to feature TikTok influencers and athletes.

Kingfisher said he would eventually like to see his clothes on the shelves of major hockey stores across the country.

This is the seventh year of the Powwow Pitch competition, which was initiated by Sunshine Tenasco.

Tenasco, from Kitigan Zibi Anishinaabeg, about 120 kilometers north of Ottawa, said the competition went national last year and expanded to include all of North America this year.

She said the competition is an entry point for entrepreneurs pitching their ideas and networking helps people grow their businesses.

“I think it’s pretty awesome to see how we can help and be a part of everyone’s story, even if it’s just a tiny minute. I feel like it’s what it is, ”Tenasco said.

The grand prize winner will be announced on October 20.

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