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Indigenous-Owned Businesses to Watch

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Indigenous entrepreneurs are building incredible businesses in a good way, connected with Indigenous values and culture, to preserve the land and make life better for our communities. 

Indigenous entrepreneurs are building incredible businesses in a good way, connected with Indigenous values and culture, to preserve the land and make life better for our communities. 

Each year, I have the privilege of meeting thousands of Indigenous entrepreneurs through Pow Wow Pitch, a pitch competition for Indigenous businesses to get noticed, get funding, and grow with the support of a safe and values-driven community. This National Indigenous History Month, I am excited to partner with Media Planet to put the spotlight on six incredible Indigenous-owned businesses and to share their advice for emerging Indigenous entrepreneurs.

Jenn Harper headshot
Jenn Harper, Founder and CEO of Cheekbone Beauty

“Be consistent. Wake up every day and do something to push the business forward.”

Jenn Harper from Northwest Angle 33 First Nation is the Founder of Cheekbone Beauty, a B-Corp cosmetics brand based in St Catharines, Ontario, known for creating high-quality, cruelty-free beauty products designed for low environmental impact and maximum wearability.

Mya Beaudry headshot
Mya Beaudry, Founder and CEO of Kokom Scrunchies

“Don’t be shy. Set goals. Sell something you love. And have a support team.”

The creator behind Kokom Scrunchies, Mya Beaudry, is a talented 11-year-old Algonquin from Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation. Since starting Kokom Scrunchies in the fall of 2019, Mya has always ensured that all Kokom Scrunchies are handmade with love in Canada.

Harlan Kingfisher, Founder and CEO of Smudge the Blades

“Don’t be afraid to reach out for support. Indigenous entrepreneurs are happy to help you along the way and answer any questions. We need more Indigenous businesses, so get your business started today.”

Harlan Kingfisher is a husband, a dad of four, Plains Cree, a hockey player from Sturgeon Lake and the founder of Smudge the Blades, a hockey apparel brand that brings laughter and pride to his community and provides hockey scholarships to Indigenous youth.

Bernice Clarke, Founder and CEO of Uasau Soap

“Trust in yourself and trust in the unknown. Be okay in the unknown and know that the path will unfold as you walk it.”

Bernice Clark is an Inuk Founder from South Baffin Island living in Iqaluit, Nunavut, who is a role model and inspiration for other Inuit. Uasau Soap (pronounced ooh-ah-sow) draws inspiration from prehistoric Inuit tradition and the Nuna. Inuktitut, Nuna means everything found on the land and in the sea. Each of their hand-made products replenishes and nourishes your skin.

Michaelee Lazore, Founder and CEO of Sequoia

“Entrepreneurs should definitely get a website using a service like Shopify because the entire world can discover your business.”

Sequoia was founded in 2002 by Michaelee Lazore as a bath and body product business, Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk) from Akwesáhsne and Northern Paiute from Nevada. The product design, production, and packaging are done locally in the working studio, and ingredients are ethically sourced.

Leigh Joseph, Founder and CEO of Skwálwen Botanicals

“Dig down into the greater ‘why’. In those moments when you feel exhausted, impostor syndrome, and overwhelmed, think back to your very personal ‘why’ to connect to culture, gain strength, strengthen your identity, and create pathways for others.”

Leigh Joseph is the Skwxwú7mesh Founder and CEO of Skwalwen Botanicals, an Indigenous plant-based skincare brand celebrating ancestral plant knowledge and connection to the land. Leigh uses her business to share her love for her culture and the land, share her story and process struggles of intergenerational trauma and lack of access to the land. It has been a platform for her advocacy, leadership and impact.

Mīgwetch to Jenn, Mya, Harlan, Bernice, Michaelee and Leigh for sharing their advice with us. You can support emerging Indigenous entrepreneurs this National Indigenous History Month by shopping their companies and purchasing the 2022 Pow Wow Pitch Box, filled with beautiful and high-quality products by emergy Indigenous entrepreneurs.

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