Inaugural program focuses on growing Indigenous-owned businesses
Accelerator run by SOAR will host five up-and-coming Indigenous businesses
Toronto, June 7, 2023 – SOAR, a grassroots initiative to support Indigenous entrepreneurs, is launching a first-of-its-kind-accelerator this month to address gaps in support for high-growth Indigenous-owned businesses in Canada. Its goal is to propel five Indigenous companies (who are all already making over $1M in revenue) to increase their revenue by at least five times over the next 12 months.
Co-presented by Square, BDC and Futurpreneur, the SOAR Accelerator is a unique 2.5 day program (June 14-16) that provides executive-level training and mentorship to build skills and capacity, organizes meetings with major buyers with the goal to create purchase orders, and creates connections between successful Indigenous business owners on a similar path. The inaugural cohort includes: Cheekbone Beauty, Indi City, MINI TIPI, Sequoia, and Wabanaki Maple.
“SOAR Accelerator fills an important gap by providing a platform for high-growth Indigenous-owned businesses in Canada,” says Sunshine Tenasco, a Co-Creator of SOAR, Founder of Her Braids and Pow Wow Pitch, and Author of Nibi’s Water Song. “It’s about more than just financial success; it’s about building confidence, opening doors, and leveraging the ecosystem to empower the Indigenous economy, one entrepreneur at a time. The caliber of selected entrepreneurs and partners like Square, BDC, and Futurpreneur highlight that SOAR Accelerator is reconciliation and reclamation in action.”
According to NACCA, there are more than 50,000 Indigenous-owned businesses in Canada. save less access to capital, and lack the mentors and networks required to grow their business. In addition, intersectionality (being Indigenous and part of another underserved group such as women or part of the LGBTQ2+ community) poses additional barriers.
The SOAR accelerator was created to help knock down such barriers. Jenn Harper, Founder and CEO of Cheekbone Beauty, one of this year’s participants, is grateful for the support of serial social entrepreneur Sunshine Tenasco.
“I am ecstatic to be a part of this extraordinary opportunity alongside other visionary Indigenous entrepreneurs,” said Harper. “Reflecting on my journey, it is humbling to see how far we have come. It is not just about my vision but also the profound healing that has shaped my path. Cheekbone Beauty is more than beauty products. It is about empowering Indigenous communities, the power of representation and uplifting voices, and creating lasting change for a better future. Through SOAR, I am recommitting to our shared vision, where Indigenous strength and resilience propels us forward.”
The accelerator builds on the success of the 2022 SOAR Digital Gathering that brought together more than 1,000 Indigenous entrepreneurs virtually from across Canada. The gathering creates a safe and inclusive space for sharing, learning and connecting in the spirit of encouragement, friendship and collaboration, grounded in sacred teachings. This year’s event, happening September 21, is expected to attract more than 1,500 entrepreneurs. Register today at soarcircles.org.
SOAR is a grassroots initiative powered by Indigenous-led organizations, Indigenous entrepreneurs, and aligned industry partners working together to unite and support Indigenous entrepreneurs to build thriving businesses and grow together. We enhance, develop, and accelerate growth for current and aspiring Indigenous entrepreneurs in a sustainable way through programs and resources grounded in Indigenous values and teachings. Learn more at soarcircles.org or find us on Instagram.