Mitacs backs Pow Wow Pitch to support innovative Indigenous businesses

Mitacs signs on as Seed Sponsor of Pow Wow Pitch to provide access to commercialization, R&D, and support for Indigenous entrepreneurs.

Today, Pow Wow Pitch, North America’s premier pitch competition for emerging Indigenous entrepreneurs, announced Mitacs as a Seed Sponsor to support Indigenous entrepreneurs access training, mentorship, funding, and a platform to showcase and celebrate their stories.

Pow Wow Pitch launched seven years ago at the Ottawa Summer Solstice Pow Wow, founded by local Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg entrepreneur Sunshine Tenasco, with the support of local mentors, judges, and sponsors.

In 2020, with pandemic cancellations of pow wows, Pow Wow Pitch moved online to reach hundreds of Indigenous entrepreneurs across every province and territory. This year, Pow Wow Pitch is scaling across Turtle Island, expecting more than 1,000 pitchers from across the continent.

To complement the pitch competition, Pow Wow Pitch is also launching a free Indigenous Startup Program to provide training and mentorship, a podcast to share inspiring conversations with entrepreneurs, and the Indigenous Entrepreneur Awards to celebrate and showcase Indigenous entrepreneurial icons.

Mitacs is fully committed to working with Indigenous peoples and creating equitable access to our programs. Indigenous Pathways offers several benefits—including sourcing of talent and cost reductions—to Indigenous-owned organizations or organizations that hire Indigenous interns.

“It’s so important to ensure the ecosystem is working together and that Indigenous entrepreneurs are harnessing the power of universities, colleges and all available resources to help them succeed,” said Sunshine Tenasco, Founder of Pow Wow Pitch. “We are so proud to be working with Mitacs to support the next generation of Indigenous innovators connecting to Mitacs programming and the wider university and college community to access talent, R&D, and commercialization support.”

Mitacs will help adjudicate the Quebec Semifinals, provide the top 25 finalists with a workshop, and contribute prize dollars for winning entrepreneurs through this partnership.

“Mitacs is extremely proud to sponsor the Pow Wow Pitch and support Indigenous businesses. As we drive for inclusive innovation, we are delighted to support Indigenous entrepreneurs with skills training, networking, mentorship, and resources such as access to funding and talent,” said John Hepburn, PhD, Mitacs CEO and Scientific Director.

To learn more about the partnership, visit

About Mitacs:

  • For more on our Indigenous partnerships, visit: Mitacs | Indigenous
  • Mitacs is a not-for-profit organization that fosters growth and innovation in Canada by solving business challenges with research solutions from academic institutions. 
  • Mitacs is funded by the Government of Canada along with the Government of Alberta, the Government of British Columbia, Research Manitoba, the Government of New Brunswick, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Government of Nova Scotia, the Government of Ontario, Innovation PEI, the Government of Quebec, the Government of Saskatchewan, and the Government of Yukon.