Saskatoon’s most promising Indigenous entrepreneurs are ready to accelerate their growth thanks to SREDA’s SOAR kihiw paskîyâkêwin Indigenous Entrepreneurship Competition presented by PIC Group. SOAR concluded this past Thursday with a Pitch Finale and cultural celebration held at Dakota Dunes Resort. There, the top five finalists pitched their businesses to a panel of expert judges, with $45,000 in prize money awarded. Finalists also received a special gift – eagle feather artwork created by youth in the Almighty Voice Education Centre Business Club on the One Arrow First Nation.
Open to majority Indigenous-owned businesses in the Saskatoon Region, SOAR received many applications this year from entrepreneurs representing a wide range of industries. The top 15 were chosen for the Coaching Round, where each entrepreneur took part in one-on-one coaching sessions with local business experts specializing in finance, legal considerations, marketing, business strategy and entrepreneurship. The experts provided guidance for both the business and the entrepreneur. After sharpening these entrepreneurial skills, the top five finalists were selected to advance to the next round.
At the Pitch Finale, the top five finalists were given five minutes to present their business idea, progress so far and plans for growth. All five impressed the judging panel, with Christine Marie of Awasis Boutique taking home the top prize of $15,000.
Congratulations to the SOAR Finalists:
Timothy Hudy, Theo Clean Janitorial Services
Alicia Hrbachek, Ally’s Cake Creeations
Joshua Turner, JT’s Beach Cafe and Tiki Bar
Christine Marie, Awasis Boutique
Delaney King and Cole Tait, Preventative Measures Ltd.