Indigenous entrepreneur from Guelph, Ontario, selected from more than 2,000 applications for a chance to win $25,000
On July 31st, 2023, Pow Wow Pitch, North America’s premier pitch competition for Indigenous entrepreneurs, presented in partnership with RBC, Shopify, and Mastercard, announced Lisa June Byers, Founder and CEO of LJ Turtle Aromatherapy, who is Ojibwa, Scottish and Irish, as a 2023 Pow Wow Pitch Semi-Finalist. Lisa was selected from more than 2,000 applicants and is advancing as a Semi-Finalist for a chance to win $25,000 to grow their Social Enterprise.
Lisa submitted a 1-minute video pitch on June 20th on Instagram to raise funds to support the Woodland Cultural Centre’s new language program — ‘Cycle of Ceremonies’; their long-term vision for their Social Enterprise is to see more residential school buildings transformed into historical landmarks and sites of conscience.
“This is my second time making it to the semi-finals. Last year’s roster of Indigenous entrepreneurs was fierce and looks to be so again this year.” said Lisa June Byers, Founder and CEO of LJ Turtle Aromatherapy. “Joining the Pow Wow Pitch Community has been very rewarding – meeting a community of Indigenous entrepreneurs and discovering their passions has been heart warming. I’ve also met with amazing mentors who were very encouraging and helpful.”
Lisa’s business is local-to-the-Guelph area, situated on the Between the Lakes Treaty No. 3 (1792), and boasts the largest selection of aromatherapy diffuser jewelry on Turtle Island, most of which Lisa handcrafts themself. They studied to become a Certified Aromatherapy Health Professional with the Canadian Federation of Aromatherapists in 2014 when they experienced personal life challenges and losses. Their aromatherapy education and Indigenous heritage inform both the quality and selection of the 100% pure essential oils they carry as well as their jewelry designs. Lisa also carefully and artfully designs, crafts, and felts their collection of aromatherapy felted diffusers – for use in your car, office and home.
In 2017 the Truth and Reconciliation Commission called for a national plan to commemorate the sites of former residential school buildings. The former ‘Mohawk Institute’ is being renovated by the Woodland Cultural Centre in Brantford, Ontario. To address historical gaps in knowledge Lisa's fundraising effort includes education to highlight that many residential school buildings have been demolished and their histories simply forgotten.
“Congratulations to Lisa on advancing to the Semi-Finals,” said Sunshine Tenasco, Founder of Pow Wow Pitch. “We look forward to spotlighting and sharing Lisa’s business with the Pow Wow Pitch community and growing together.”
Lisa will now benefit from expert pitch training and one-to-one mentorship with Industry leaders. Lisa will pitch their social enterprise to a panel of Judges on Tuesday, September 5th at 6 p.m. EST as part of the Not-for-Profit Semi-Finals and, if successful, will win $1,000 and advance to the Finals for a chance to win $25,000. To watch Lisa pitch, register here.
“Being able to fundraise for Woodland’s new language program -- ‘Cycle of Ceremonies’ -- is incredibly fulfilling and humbling,” said Lisa. “My participation in Pow Wow Pitch will help me grow the Social Enterprise capacity of LJ Turtle. My focus is to bridge this historical and cultural gap in knowledge through my foraged and handcrafted diffuser acorns – I want to see these acorns and their message of hope and resilience in more museums, art-galleries, and university gift shops across Turtle Island.”
To Interview Lisa June Byers, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 226-706-7642.