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Young Aboriginal Entrepreneur Award

About the Award

CCAB and ESS Support Services Worldwide, a division of Compass Group Canada, are proud to present The Young Aboriginal Entrepreneur Award. This award highlights the enterprising spirit of Indigenous business leaders under the age of 35 and honours impressive young entrepreneurs who are driving the Indigenous economy forward.

This prestigious award comes with a $10,000 cash prize to benefit your business.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Canadian resident of First Nation (Status or Non-Status), Inuit or Métis ancestry under the age of 35
  • Self-employed for a minimum of one year
  • Must submit a 30-60 second video about the nominee and their business
  • Nomination to include any business accomplishments to date, challenges, financials, and growth projections
  • Individuals can self-nominate for this award

Nominations for 2024 are being accepted until September 30, 2023. The award will be presented at the 40th Anniversary Award Gala, May 29, 2024.


Candidates are deemed ineligible if they have an existing formal relationship with CCAB (e.g. Board of Directors, CCAB Staff member, Award Sponsor, etc.)

Most Recent Winner


2023 Young Aboriginal Entrepreneur

Lesley Hampton

Lesley Hampton is an Anishinaabe Artist and Fashion Designer focused on mental health awareness, body positivity, and authentic representation in fashion and media. Lesley is a member of Temagami First Nation, located in northern Ontario, and she identifies as an adult ‘Third Culture Kid’ with her formative years spent in Canada’s Arctic and Atlantic, Australia, England, Indonesia, and New Caledonia. This amalgamation of her Anishinaabe indigeneity and her international nomadic upbringing nurtured a passion for socio-cultural causes.

She is the Creative Director of LESLEY HAMPTON, an Indigenous-owned, women-led, size-inclusive clothing and accessory brand based in Toronto, ON. She is also a model/content creator and speaker on Indigenous entrepreneurship and diversity in fashion. Lesley aims to decolonize euro-centric standards in the fashion industry, inspire the next decade of Indigenous leaders and entrepreneurs, and create space for empowerment and representation in fashion, media, and beauty.

Giving back to our community and building a more inclusive tomorrow are some of Lesley’s main goals with her business. Streams of giving include monetary donations, partnership-focused support, and mentorship opportunities including internships with students from George Brown College and Seneca College.

Lesley has been described as “an important Indigenous face in the Canadian fashion landscape” by the Globe and Mail, number one Canadian Brand to keep your eye on from VOGUE, and “Wherever her career takes her, activism and style will always go hand-in-hand” according to The National Post.


Past Winners


2022 Young Aboriginal Entrepreneur

Dakota & Jesse Brant

Co-Founders of Sapling & Flint

Teyotsihstokwáthe Dakota Brant & Yonenyà:kenht Jesse Brant are twin sisters and Mohawk turtle clan women from the village of Ohswé:ken (Six Nations of the Grand River Territory). They are co-founders of Sapling & Flint; a wholesale & retail jewellery manufacturer specializing in gold & sterling silver, based in Ohswé:ken.

Jesse, a goldsmith, wampumcutter and member of the Canadian Jeweller’s Association, and Dakota, a regalia maker and visual artist with a background in small business management, brought their talents together with the goal of using ecommerce to create arts-based jobs for themselves, their community, and to raise the profile of Indigenous art as a nationwide brand.

Sapling & Flint was founded in 2017 with the motto “Conversation pieces that share the story of Turtle Island” and has since become award winning. In 2018 they won a CHCH TV Business Excellence Award and the 2018 Powwow Pitch. In 2019 they were selected from over 5000 entries to win Paypal Canada’s Small Business makeover contest and in honour of their work lobbying for equitable access to internet & opportunity in Indigenous communities were recognized with the 2020 Athlohsa Peace Award. Their work has been featured by Maclean’s magazine, the Globe & Mail, TrailBlazher magazine, the Toronto Star, Paypal Canada, Shopify Canada and more.

Sapling & Flint continues to grow, creating job opportunities that are revitalizing traditional silversmithing in Ohswé:ken, bringing quality products to the Canadian market and placing Dakota & Jesse as Indigenous women entrepreneurial leaders in the Canadian Jewellery industry.



Erica Daniels

2021 Young Aboriginal Entrepreneur

Erica Daniels

Founder & Owner, Kejic Productions 

Erica Daniels is Cree/Ojibway from Peguis First Nation. She began her journey through Just TV, a multimedia program for at-risk youth in the inner city of Winnipeg. Today, she is an award-winning director and producer and, at just 29 years old, owner of her own media company Kejic Productions.

Elder Dave Courchene Jr. named her company Kejic, meaning The Sky in Anishinabemowin, symbolizing that there are no limits to our dreams and what we can achieve.

Erica won the first-ever Indigenous Film Award presented at the 2019 Indigenous Music Awards. Her latest film, Run As One – The Journey of the Front Runners, won two Golden Sheaf Awards and was nominated for a Canadian Screen Award and the Banff World Media Festival Award.

A passionate storyteller, Erica is dedicated to sharing her community’s stories with the hopes of paving a way for other Indigenous women and young Indigenous storytellers to help close the gap for Indigenous representation in the media



2020 Young Aboriginal Entrepreneur

Shelley Stewart

Owner, Bar S Ventures

Raised in Douglas Lake on her parents’ ranch, Shelley Stewart’s father was a rancher and logger and her mother, an accountant. At age 8, Shelley told her father she would buy a logging truck when she got old enough so they could work together every day. At age 19, this ambitious young Syilx woman acquired her first logging truck and became an entrepreneur.

Now the owner of Bar S Ventures, Shelley began in the forest industry as a log hauling contractor shortly after the devastating McGillivray fire that consumed over 11,000 hectares of British Columbia’s forests in the summer of 2003. Today, Bar S Ventures specializes in conventional log harvesting and log hauling activities.

Over the last 15 years, Shelley has grown Bar S Ventures from a single truck venture to a full- phase, conventional logging operation, along with road building and log hauling divisions, and employing 27 full-time employees.

Bar S Ventures is among the largest forest sector employers in the interior of British Columbia and is an industry leader in fibre utilization. By optimizing the fibre, there is significantly less waste left in the forest, more wood enters into the markets, and employment opportunities in local communities are increased.



Kylik Kisoun Taylor
Tundra North Tours

Kylik is of Inuvialuit, Gwich’in and Scandinavian descent.  He grew up in Ontario hunting, trapping and mushing dogs with his father.  In 2003 Kylik made a permanent move to Inuvik, Northwest Territories where he felt a deep connection to his Inuvialuit and Gwich’in roots, his family, the land and his culture.

His uncles, Gerry Kisoun and Dennis Allen, as well as his Daduk (grandfather) Victor Allen, constantly took Kylik out in the bush where he learned the way of the land.  They taught him the stories of his people and important cultural traditions and knowledge.  Gerry helped him get his first caribou and Dennis taught him to build a bush camp.  His Daduk Victor told him the old stories.  With the help of his family, Kylik was able to become rooted in his culture and acquire the knowledge and skills needed to be out on the land on his own.

In 2006 Kylik started Up North Tours (now operating as Tundra North Tours) with the dream of being able to share his love of the Arctic and all it has to offer with visitors from around the world.  As a bonus, he now spends a large portion of his time out on the land that he loves so much!

Kylik serves as a member of the Board of Directors on both the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada and Northwest Territories Tourism.   He is one of Canadian Travelers Top 40 under 40.



Jordan Jolicoeur

Jordan Jolicoeur, President & CEO of Carvel Electric has proud Métis roots originating from the Interlake Region of Manitoba. Carvel Electric, founded by Jordan’s father Sylvio in 1997, had Jordan and his older brother Joel working evenings and weekends learning the electrical trade. Jordan, always an entrepreneur at heart, has a passion for business. In 2013 he decided to take over the family company after working throughout the province in many industrial and commercial settings. Handed down an old pickup truck, a bag of tools and a vision, Joel and Jordan, together, have grown Carvel Electric from a small residential service company to working with some of North America’s largest Railroads and Pipeline Companies. Together they pride themselves on building connections, creating community, and are guided by the strong values of a “handshake approach” to business. Carvel Electric has a vision to become a leader in Aboriginal employment and skills development.



Isabell Ringenoldus

Isabell Ringenoldus (First Nations), owns and operates TAWS Security, which provides physical security, mobile patrol security as well as many technological solutions and value added services to empower their clients and staff. TAWS Security is based on the Fort McMurray #468 First Nation in Anzac, Alberta. 100% of their ownership and management team are local Fort McMurray residents. Following the unfortunate and devastating event of the Fort McMurray wildfire, TAWS Security was able to showcase their ability and resources to immediately deploy both management and trained guards to the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo hours after the fire started. The Chief Operating Officer of TAWS Security was promptly appointed the position of Director of Private Security Service.



Jacob Pratt

Jacob Pratt is the founder and creative director of Wambdi Dance, and is a Dakota/Saulteaux member of the Cote First Nation in Saskatchewan. Wambdi was started in 2012, and is a First Nations performance and events company that provides music and dance performances, cultural camps, youth motivational workshops, and traditional storytelling. Wambdi’s aims are to represent First Nations/Native American people positively with pride and respect for their cultures and values; and to support First Nations/Native American talent by providing them with the opportunity to develop their own personal cultural identity. Jacob’s many talents include men’s traditional dancing, hoop dancing, and native flute playing. His debut album “Eagle Calls” won an Aboriginal Peoples Choice Award for Best Flute Album. He plans to expand Wambi nationally, and do international events that showcase the strength and vitality of First Nations in Canada.




Kendal Netmaker

Kendal Netmaker, Sweetgrass First Nation, Saskatchewan is the Founder and CEO of Neechie Gear™ – a lifestlye apparel brand conceived and built in part to empower Aboriginal youth through participation in sports.



Award Sponsor


Savannah Olsen

Savannah Olsen, Cree from Saddle Lake, Alberta is the proud proprietor of the Old Faithful Shop located in Vancouver’s historic Gastown district. The shop is a modern day version of a general store that would have existed on its cobblestoned corner street over a hundered years ago. Savannah’s store boasts simple hand crafted products designed to stand the test of time inspired by a product mix that doesnt exist anywhere else.