Join Emcee Sunshine Tenasco, Kitigan Zibi Annishnebeg entrepreneur, author and activist, as she kicks off the 2023 SOAR Digital Gathering of Indigenous Entrepreneurs presented by Square and BDC.
Rachel Petero, Māori Founder of Rise Global, opens the SOAR gathering with a karakia (blessing), a ritual of Māori Indigenous Polynesian people of mainland New Zealand (Aotearoa) used to call upon and recognize the influence of atua (spiritual or supernatural beings/gods), our ancestors, and other aspects of the environment and our whakapapa (lineage/history) to invoke spiritual protection and guidance.
SacRED is a modern-day digital shape-shifter, storyteller through movement and medicine woman of the heart, on a mission to support all people and the planet to recognize truths of the past and present while returning to a natural rhythm of well-being for future generations. SacRED performs a spoken word and song that speaks to the rising of Indigenous leaders, entrepreneurs and innovators.
Martin Gurerro, Square’s Policy Partnerships & Community Education and Sandra Odendahl, BDC’s Senior VP & Head of Sustainability and Diversity, share opening remarks as the co-presenting partners of the 2023.
Opening Keynote: Leading the Rise: Indigenous Entrepreneurs Powering the Indigenomic Revolution
Carol Anne Hilton beckons Indigenous entrepreneurs into the heart of indigenomics. Unravelling its essence, she emphasizes their unique role in fueling an Indigenous economic renaissance. Through motivating calls to action, Carol urges each entrepreneur to recognize their individual power and collective impact, fostering an economy deeply rooted in Indigenous values and visions.
Opening Circle: Our Collective Rise through Building Community
Join esteemed Indigenous business leaders Jolene Laskey (Wabanaki Maple), Michaelee Lazore (Sequoia Soaps), and Jenn Harper (Cheekbone Beauty) as they share their entrepreneurial journeys. From challenges faced to milestones achieved, their tales emphasize the significance of community and collaboration. Together, they present a united front, championing the future of Indigenous entrepreneurship.
Make and Meaning Mini-Workshop: Indigenous Wit 101 with Janelle Niles
Step into a laughter-lit journey where Indigenous culture meets comedic brilliance. Janelle Niles of Got Land Comedy presents a hearty giggle session followed by heartfelt tales from her Indigenous entrepreneurial path. Engage in a workshop melding traditional wisdom with modern wit, reminding us all: in our rich tapestry of tales, a good laugh is ancestral gold.
Our Way Circle 1: Succeeding as Co-Founders
Venture into the heart of collaborative entrepreneurship with the dynamic duos behind MINI TIPI and Indi City. Trisha Pitura & Mélanie Bernard, alongside Angel Aubichon & Alex Manitopyes, unpack the journey of building Indigenous-led businesses with another entrepreneur. Discover the synergy of shared vision, the trials, triumphs, and the unmatched magic of co-creating legacies.
Our Way Circle 2: Indigenous Commerce and Consumer Trends
Presented by Square, dive into the future of Indigenous commerce with leading entrepreneurs Cece Meadows (Prados Beauty), Anthony Wigham (Nuez Acres), and Mark Marsolais-Nahwegahbow (Birch Bark Coffee). Moderated by Martin Guerrero of Block's Policy Partnerships & Community Impact team, this panel offers insights on e-commerce trends, evolving customer preferences, and the potential of automation. Discover strategies to ensure your business remains dynamic and true to Indigenous values.
Our Way Circle 3: Support for Indigenous Entrepreneurs in Canada
Learn about four organizations supporting Indigenous entrepreneurs - the Canadian Council of Aboriginal Business, the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada, the Indigenous Innovation Initiative, and the Canadian Minority Supplier Council. From tailored support to value-driven initiatives, discover how to harness an ecosystem of partners as new pathways to grow your business.
Performance: Tanya Snow's Inuit Throat Singing in Katajjaq Style
Experience the profound art of Inuit throat singing, or katajjaq (ᑲᑕᔾᔭᖅ), with Tanya Snow, an Inuk from Rankin Inlet, Nunavut, now based in Yellowknife, NT. Immersed in the craft since her teens, Tanya uniquely blends traditional Inuit melodies with contemporary rhythm. While throat-singing traditionally involves two people, often in playful contests, Tanya's solo performance emerges from displacement due to wildfires. Let her transport you through Canada's Arctic heritage, preserving an ancient tradition while infusing it with fresh vitality.
Make and Meaning Mini-Workshop: Embracing Movement with Shayla Stonechild
Join Shayla Stonechild, a Mètis and Nehiyaw Iskwew from Muscowpetung First Nations, in an invigorating yoga session that melds the ancient and the contemporary. As the trailblazing face of "Yoga Journal" Magazine and founder of the “Matriarch Movement”, Shayla's approach bridges Indigenous empowerment with holistic well-being. This session goes beyond traditional yoga; it's a journey of self-discovery and embodiment. Shayla's guidance invites entrepreneurs to embrace sacred movement, allowing the rhythm of the breath to inspire fluidity in business and life. Step onto your virtual mat and experience a transformative flow, designed to awaken energy, enhance focus, and foster a vibrant entrepreneurial spirit.
SOAR Circle 1: Money As Medicine
Tenille K Campbell, a Dene and Métis poet, leads a pragmatic discussion on the vital role of funding for Indigenous entrepreneurs. With insights from experts Holly Atjecoutay (Futurpreneur), Althea Wishloff (Raven Indigenous Capital Partners), and Magnolia Perron (NACCA), attendees will gain clarity on the financial landscape, learn about tailored funding options, and garner actionable strategies for each stage of their entrepreneurial journey.
SOAR Circle 2: Navigating Global Markets for Indigenous Entrepreneurs in Canada
Learn how to take the first steps in charting your export journey with Todd Evans, National Lead for Indigenous Exporters at Export Development Canada, and Joella Hogan, Co-founder and CEO of Yukon Soap Company. They discuss Indigenous trade traditions, global opportunities, and Joella's global journey from the Yukon. Gain insights into merging ancestral wisdom with modern export strategies. Joella Hogan's journey unveils the challenges and triumphs of venturing beyond borders. Don't miss this opportunity for entrepreneurs seeking guidance and anyone curious about tradition and global commerce.
SOAR Circle 3: Funding Digital Growth: The Canada Digital Adoption Program
Aruna Dorai of the Business Development Bank of Canada unveils the Canada Digital Adoption Program, designed to empower Indigenous entrepreneurs with funds and guidance for their digital ventures. Joined by Darian Kovacs, the Métis founder of Jelly Marketing and Jelly Academy, they illuminate the program's offerings from a Digital Advisor's viewpoint. This session is your roadmap to understand, apply, and swiftly leverage the program to amplify your online business presence.
SOAR Circle 4: Starting Up North of 60: EntrepreNorth's Path for Indigenous Entrepreneurs
Presented by EntrepreNorth, Marketing Specialist Tanya Roach teams up with Dene Roots CEO, Misty Ireland, to shed light on the rewards and realities of launching and running a business in the North. Dive into firsthand experiences, tangible advice and resources EntrepreNorth offers to empower Indigenous entrepreneurs thriving above the 60th parallel.
Performance: Fawn Wood
Experience the mesmerizing sounds of Fawn Wood, the celebrated Cree and Salish musician from St. Paul, Alberta. Revel in melodies from her award-winning album "Kakike," which earned her the Juno Award for Traditional Indigenous Artist of the Year in 2022. A melodic journey through Indigenous tradition and contemporary artistry awaits.
Make and Meaning Workshop: Write a Song
Dive into the world of lyrical creation with hip-hop-electronic artist, Cody Coyote. Harnessing his rich Ojibwe heritage and experiences, Cody will guide participants through two evocative exercises: a 'Stream of Consciousness' reflection on nature and community and crafting a 'Legacy Piece' that delves into one's past, present, and future. This workshop will awaken your innate creativity and draw connections between songwriting, culture, and entrepreneurship, in line with the ethos of the SOAR Digital Gathering. Join this journey with Cody, and rediscover the power of words and culture in shaping artistic expression.
SOAR Short Stories: Milestones of Indigenous Entrepreneurs
Explore firsthand accounts from Indigenous entrepreneurs who scaled their brands beyond $1M in annual revenue. Learn from Trish Pitura and Mélanie Bernard of MINI, Angel Aubichon and Alex Manitopyes from Indi City, Michaelee Lazore of Sequoia Soaps, Jolene Johnson from Wabanaki Maple, and Jenn Harper of Cheekbone Beauty. These entrepreneurs, all SOAR Accelerator alumni, share their real-world challenges, strategies, and lessons. Choose one of these five narratives and gain practical insights from those who've been there.
Make and Meaning Workshop: Create Your Sacred Space with Ecko Aleck
Join Ecko Aleck, the visionary founder of Sacred Matriarch Creative, as she guides Indigenous entrepreneurs on how to infuse ancestral wisdom into their business environments. In this hands-on workshop, participants will learn tangible methods to integrate traditional teachings, circle wisdom, and land-based practices into their workspaces. Ecko's approach emphasizes the significance of aligning one's professional realm with cultural roots for enhanced productivity and spiritual grounding. By the end, entrepreneurs will possess a toolkit of strategies to transform their business surroundings into nurturing hubs that resonate with Indigenous values, ensuring a balanced blend of tradition and modernity in their entrepreneurial journey.
Closing Keynote: Your Ultimate Resiliency Formula with Kendal Netmaker
Indigenous entrepreneur Kendal Netmaker, hailing from Sweetgrass First Nation, unveils his journey from grassroots to greatness. In this empowering keynote, Kendal offers his Ultimate Resiliency Formula, tailored for Indigenous entrepreneurs. Learn to foster resilience, navigate challenges, and ignite your inner drive to create enduring legacies.
Closing Performance: DJ The Kaptain
To culminate SOAR 2023, we're elevating our spirits and celebrating our collective journey with the rhythmic beats of DJ The Kaptain. An Anishinabe and Inuk Two-Spirit artist, The Kaptain began their musical journey at the tender age of 16. Since then, they have grown into a force of nature on the decks, showcasing a deep passion and skill that resonates with audiences everywhere. As we conclude this remarkable gathering, let's come together in unity and rhythm, celebrating our shared experiences and the heights we can reach when we SOAR together.