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    December 2018

    Indigenous Youth Idea Challenge aims to promote new entrepreneurs

    Aspiring Indigenous entrepreneurs are getting the chance to give their projects a boost thanks to an annual business competition hosted at the University of Saskatchewan.

    The Indigenous Youth Idea Challenge run by the U of S branch of international organization Enactus takes place in January and February 2019. Applications are open for prospective Indigenous businesspeople ages 16 to 35.

    “The premise of this competition was to help young entrepreneurs turn their business idea into a business opportunity,” U of S Enactus vice-president Leon Zhu said.

    Applicants will get the opportunity to pitch their business ideas to a panel of experts at the end of the challenge. The winner gets a $10,000 prize to help with startup costs for the proposed venture.

    Last year’s winner was Michela Carriere’s Aski Hollistic Adventures, and a number of other well-known businesses are past winners. Companies including Neechie Gear, Bannock Express, Helen Oro Design Inc., Sweet Moon Photography, ShopIndig, SheNative and Neeched up Games were all listed by Enactus as past winners.

    U of S Enactus president Jill Wolkowski said part of their mission statement is to improve the community through business and entrepreneurship, so the idea challenge is a perfect event for them to do for the 13th year in a row.“When we did the assessment for this project 12 years ago, the unemployment rate among Indigenous individuals in the province was quite alarming,” she said. “So we wanted to tackle that issue.”Leading up to the announcement of the winner in February, participants get a chance to be involved in eight workshops to help develop their business plans to be as strong as possible for the final competition.Wolkowski said the number of applicants grew from 10 to about 30 in the last couple years, and that there isn’t a limit on how many they can take for the event.

    Applications for the next Indigenous Youth Idea Challenge are open until Dec. 28, 2018, and the form can be found online.

    Published: December 10, 2018

    • Posted By: Matt Olson
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    • Comments: 0
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