Regina teenager is a semi-finalist in contest supporting indigenous entrepreneurship

A Regina teenager has a chance to win a contest for her business skills.

Telia LaFontaine, founder of Ohana Designs is among the 150 semi finalists in the Pow Wow Pitch contest, a competition that recognizes Indigenous entrepreneurs across North America. Originally there were around 1600 contestants in the contest.

LaFontaine, along with her two sisters decided to create Ohana Designs in April of 2021 after their father was diagnosed with a chronic illness and LaFontaine felt the business could be a way to help out her family. Ohana Designs offers jewelry to their consumers including such products as rings, bracelets and earrings.

Working alongside her two sisters has brought the family closer together according to LaFontaine. “We’ve been able to grow closer together and have a stronger relationship especially me and my sisters. We all have different jobs in the business, and we’re able to work together really nicely which has been a lot of fun.”

LaFontaine is one of 10 youths that has reached the semi-final portion of the Pow Wow Pitch.  She has been working alongside with a couple of mentors in preparation for a pitch that will be made to the judges of the competition on Wednesday. The presentation is a minute long where LaFontaine will explain her business and the motivational reasons behind her starting it up. That is followed by judges deliberations that will last for a couple of minutes.

Since LaFontaine is competing in the youth category, she is eligible for the $1,000 top prize for youths. The overall winner of the Pow Wow Pitch will receive $25,000.

LaFontaine is no stranger to giving back to the community, she was named the Junior Citizen of the Year back in 2020 and performs singing and dancing for senior homes. She says performing is a great chance for her to educate others on her ancestry background. She recently wrote 500 birthday cards for 4 senior homes in Regina and has completed projects for CityKidz Regina and Sofia house. LaFontaine noted that one of the future goals of Ohana Designs is to sponsor a child in the CityKidz Regina program.

Ohana Designs is available through Facebook and Instagram and also at With These Hands in Regina.

The winners of the Powwow Pitch will be announced in September.

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