Photo provided by Enactus University of Saskatchewan

14th Annual Indigenous Youth Idea Challenge celebrates Indigenous entrepreneurial spirit and achievements

Breanna Pochipinski

The Indigenous Youth Idea Challenge (IYIC), sponsored by Affinity Credit Union, is Enactus University of Saskatchewan's longest-running project. The initiative allows for Indigenous youth from across Saskatchewan to gain assistance from the student group so that they can become further educated on how to create a business. Enactus organizes workshops with Edwards lecturers and business professionals to help IYIC participants develop their businesses and business plans

"IYIC has created a tight-knit community with areas all around Saskatchewan," President of Enactus, Sanderson Evanovich said. "We have many youth coming from hours away to attend these workshops."

Once the plans are created, the IYIC participants submit their business plans, and if picked, get to pitch the business in front of a panel of judges at the IYIC Gala. In addition, the top three winners of the competition are awarded start-up capital to put towards their business.

The IYIC Gala celebrates Indigenous entrepreneurship while bringing together the participants, workshop presenters, and sponsors. On February 13, 2020, the IYIC Final Gala 2020 was held, where the finalists presented their ideas to a panel of judges.

The panel of judges consisted of four business professionals, including Cara Bahr from Affinity Credit Union, Bremdon Demerais from Gabriel Dumont Insititute, Keith Willoughby from Edwards School of Business, and Spencer Nikkel from Curbie.

This year the five finalists for the IYIC were:
- Aleah Tait and Shanice Beauchene, RedWaters Bagging
- Chanesty Maluga and Taylor Okanese, Waywayseecappo Shuttle
- Chavez Ezaneh, FN Keys (Indigenous Language Keyboards)
- Muskoday Youth Business Club: 3R Innovative Imaging (Re-Use, Re-invent, Re-cycle)
- Stephanie Grace Gamble, C, Lysias Designs Fashion Studio

Enactus also unveiled the Under 19 Student award this year. The Under 19 category was designed to encourage Indigenous youth to use their entrepreneurial spirit at a young age. The winner of the new category was 3R Innovative Imaging.

For the three main prizes, C. Lysias Designs Fashion Studio won first place. FN Keys won second place. Redwaters Bagging won third place.

C. Lysias Designs is a fashion studio. C. Lysias Designs stands for 'creatively love your successful individual authentic self'. During her presentation, Gamble talked about how her idea came from her love for designing. "Fashion with a Passion for Social Change" is the mission statement of her company. The next step for her business is to create a fashion studio for Indigenous designers and offer fashion design classes

About Enactus University of Saskatchewan 
Enactus is a not-for-profit student-led organization that sees the opportunity of using entrepreneurship and business strategies to implement community empowerment projects to address any social, economic, and/or environmental issues in our community.

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