A local Indigenous entrepreneur prepares his pitch for a prize of $ 25,000

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By: Calvi Leon, reporter at the Local Journalism Initiative

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A native London entrepreneur is looking to take his business to the next level by competing for a prize of $ 25,000 in the final round of a national pitch competition.

Steven Vanloffeld, a London resident of Saugeen First Nation, is one of 29 entrepreneurs from Turtle Island (North America) preparing to pitch their business in the final round of Powwow location October 20.

Vanloffeld, owner of eSupply Canada Ltd., an office supplies, janitorial and industrial supplies company, was named one of four finalists for Ontario after pitching his company to the regional semi-finals on the 22nd. September.

“Honestly, I’m a little shocked, but I was hopeful,” Vanloffeld said of the final. “I practiced this pitch in the allotted time. Each competitor had one minute, but I didn’t want to overtake.

Vanloffeld was selected as a semi-finalist among more than 1,600 Indigenous entrepreneurs from Canada and the United States, including three others in southwestern Ontario, who applied this year.

At Pow Wow Pitch Final , he will have two minutes to pitch and convince the judges why he should win.

“It’s going to be fierce,” Vanloffeld said of the competition. “I mean, you’ve got the top 20, all the right arguments (and) all the strong companies. I think it will come down to: are you able to stick to what you say you’re going to do? With the prize money, he said.

In addition to the prize of $ 25,000, a prize of $ 10,000 for second place and $ 5,000 for third place are also up for grabs.

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Like Vanloffeld told The Free Press in early September , winning the top prize would allow eSupply Canada to expand to 300 Indigenous-owned franchises across Canada.

“There is nothing that businesses don’t need to operate that we don’t provide,” Vanloffeld said. “What sets us apart from the competition is that we operate a drop-shipping model, which means we source directly from domestic manufacturers and wholesalers.

“We don’t have warehouses, which allows us to pass these savings on to our customers, which allows us to be very competitive.

The prize money would also help him strengthen what he calls “the return component” of his business.

One percent of its sales go directly to the eSupply Canada Future Leaders scholarship program, which supports Indigenous post-secondary students in business, economics, law and trades.

Four full-time employees and an intern run eSupply Canada, but Vanloffeld said he plans to grow his business “exponentially” over the next 18 months.

Until recently, there weren’t many growth opportunities for emerging Indigenous entrepreneurs and businesses, he added.

This is why Sunshine Tenasco, from the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation in western Quebec, decided to launch Pow wow pitch Seven years ago.

“Especially if you live in First Nations communities, access to capital is not the same as if you are Canadian,” Tenasco said of the importance of giving Aboriginal entrepreneurs opportunities for growth.

“By being able to present Indigenous entrepreneurs in this way, we are creating a place where you can come, introduce yourself and buy from everyone involved in the pitch. . . Our goal is just to lift ourselves up, put the spotlight on and say, “You’re awesome, keep going. “”

If you are going to


Pow Wow Pitch, a national pitch competition for Indigenous entrepreneurs


Final broadcast on October 20 at 6 p.m.


Register for free on


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