On March 23, 2021, we hosted our first-ever Pitch Competition. This competition was an exclusive platform for Indigenous and immigrant small businesses to pitch their business, connect with other Indigenous and immigrant small businesses and entrepreneurs, and win amazing cash prizes. Indigenous and immigrant-owned small businesses need platforms tailored to their specific needs so that they can successfully showcase their businesses. This competition was catered to these entrepreneurs and small business owners, as too often they face challenges with business exposure and access to networking opportunities outside of their immediate cultural groups.
We’re so excited to announce the winners of this year’s inaugural competition! Learn more about each of them and their businesses below.
Immigrant Best Overall
Immigrant Youth: Roshan Water Solutions
Formed in 2017, Roshan Water™ is an Edmonton-based startup company with roots at the University of Alberta, Canada. The foundational concept of their product, VeloCens™, was developed by co-founders, Parmiss Mojir Shaibani, PhD and Amirreza (Amir) Sohrabi, PhD through their academic work.
Roshan Water™ Solutions helps organizations of all sizes involved in water and wastewater treatment, testing, and management to improve both water quality and human health. What sets them apart is their unique approach to solving an existing water quality monitoring problem, and putting the solution into the hands of groups who are responsible for water safety to use when and where it is needed.
Infused Mediterranean Foods was started by chef and entrepreneur Ruba Alqishawi in 2017. Noticing a need in the vegan ready-to-serve and frozen takeaway category, she created Infused Mediterranean Foods starting with authentic recipes handed down within her culinarily talented family and added her original and unique twist of ﬂavour combinations and varieties to create the current line-up of Infused products.
CLAVIS is an intuitive platform for homeowners to decorate their homes with their choice of shoppable furniture and accents, founded by Abby Aiyeleye. Their vision: to simplify and enhance the homebuyer’s design experience, helping homeowners to unleash their creativity and bring their imagination to life in an immersive 3D/VR studio.
Native Diva Creations makes First Nations culturally appropriate jewellery and accessories. Each piece is created with a modern ﬂair bringing together the traditions of pow-wow beadwork and urban street. Designer Melrene EagleSpeaker is from the Blood Tribe in southern Alberta. She designs and creates all of the pieces for the small business. Native Diva Creations is an award-winning accessory business and provides additional services such as custom design work, and bulk wholesale to various gift-shops and museums, and handmade pieces.
Founded in 2018 by two best friends, Blue Ring Media is driven to make your business successful. Co-founder Joel English-Dubois conducted a national survey that found 80% of respondents question their marketing effort, including their brand. Stats show that more Indigenous-owned businesses in Canada exit compared to entering the market across different industries. Combining these two findings was the drive behind Blue Ring Media.
We want to acknowledge that in the province of Alberta we are situated on the traditional territories of Treaties 4, 6, 7, 8 and 10, ancestral homeland of diverse First Nations groups, Métis and Indigenous people whose ancestors have walked this land since time immemorial and whose histories, languages and cultures continue to influence our vibrant community. We pay respects to the Indigenous people of this land, past, present and future, while recognizing their cultural heritage, beliefs, and relationship to the land on which we reside.