Edwards students celebrate Indigenous entrepreneurial achievement

Mikaila Ortynsky

As the Edwards School of Business celebrates Indigenous achievement and entrepreneurial spirit, students are creating opportunities to celebrate young Indigenous entrepreneurs.

“[The program] is one of a kind,” said 2019 Indigenous Youth Idea Challenge winner, Alexandra Jarrett. The 13th annual Indigenous Youth Idea Challenge (formerly Aboriginal Youth Idea Challenge) was hosted by Enactus University of Saskatchewan, a student group housed in the Edwards School of Business. For Jarrett, a special part of the program was the organizing committee, a group of students learning to run projects while tackling the triple-bottom line (environmental, financial, and social issues).

The mission of Enactus was something Jarrett could relate. Her business, Axis Imagery, is a social-driven, community-minded photography and workshop enterprise focused on driving opportunity for Indigenous youth.

Jarrett said the funds she won would help ensure sustainability of her business over the next five years. 
This year at the final gala, all five finalists were women entrepreneurs. “Being a women myself in business, watching other women success is amazing, and it’s motivational to see the power of what women can do in the business world,” said Enactus University of Saskatchewan president Jill Wolkowski.

The pitches ranged from expansion of an existing makeup studio to development of a greeting card company focused on hiring Indigenous artists.

Both Wolkowski and Enactus faculty advisor Tyler Case acknowledged the ideas for businesses had strong ties to the entrepreneurs’ roots and culture. “Each participant had their own background story and had a purpose which was a highlight of their businesses,” said Wolkowski.

Complementing the university’s strategic focus on Indigenization for University Plan 2025, Enactus University of Saskatchewan annually hosts the Indigenous Youth Idea Challenge. In the month of January, participants learn fundamentals in eight areas over four weekends on a range of topics from accounting to business modelling using the Business Model Canvas.

As she enters her final year of business, Wolkowski is hopeful the competition will advance and highlight Indigenous entrepreneurs for years to come.

The full list of finalists included:
• Alexandra Jarrett, Axis Imagery 
• April Moosomin, Makeup by April Dawn
• Betty Pewapsconias, Neechimoose Novelties 
• Amber Belanger, Beacon Bistro and Social Club
• Aubrey-Anne Pewapisconias-Laliberte, Pimatisiwin Lodge

The Indigenous Youth Idea Challenge was generously supported by Affinity Credit Union.

About Enactus University of Saskatchewan
Enactus is a student-led community that creates projects that tackle the triple-bottom line (environmental, financial, and social issues). For more information about the Indigenous Youth Idea Challenge and Enactus University of Saskatchewan, visit enactussask.com

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