A new podcast transmitting from Yellowknife is tuning into stories of Indigenous entrepreneurs in the North.
Venture Out, produced by entrepreneur-support organization EntrepreNorth dropped its first episode on May 26.
The first two episodes, now available on all podcast platforms and on EntrepreNorth’s website feature Yellowknife-based Gwich’in jeweller Tania Larsson and Leena Evic, an Inuk businesswoman who founded the Piruvik Centre, a language and culture institute in Iqaluit.
“It’s sort of a play on the word ‘venture’ which is another word for a business,” said producer and host Xina Cowan, who is also a community manager with EntrepreNorth.
“We also think of it as entrepreneurs across the North taking a leap of faith and courageously heading out there and opening these businesses because they have the willingness and dream to do it. They’re doing something that maybe hasn’t been done before.”
Travis Mercredi from Outland Sound Design is the show’s co-producer and audio engineer.
EntrepreNorth members planned the podcast for about two years and began producing the first episodes last fall.
“We have the privilege of working with incredible Indigenous entrepreneurs across the North who have compelling stories,” Cowan said. “Whenever we host a networking event and they have the opportunity to share their stories it’s always such a highlight and people are so inspired by what they’re doing. So we thought, why not create a podcast platform so more people can hear their stories, even people outside the North?”
Cowan said she also hopes Venture Out can bring supportive currents to the airwaves for potential or budding business owners.
“Entrepreneurship in the North can be challenging and sometimes you can feel alone. It’s important to hear other peoples’ stories. And it’s important for people to hear what’s actually involved in building a business. It’s a very vulnerable thing to put a business forward, especially in a small community. It takes a lot of guts and courage.”
Photographer Jamie Stevenson and artist and Down to Earth gallery-owner Rosalind Mercredi are confirmed future guests on the program.
“We’ll be growing the list. With time, I hope we can talk with entrepreneurs all across the circumpolar Arctic (as far away as) Alaska and Russia,” said Cowan.
The producers aim to keep selection criteria broad for future episodes to include Indigenous business people of all ages and expertise.
“They don’t have to be new business owners. For example, Rosalind Mercredi has been in business forever. We’ll have folks who are new in business and folks who’ve been doing it for a long time,” Cowan said.
She added that listeners don’t have to be particularly business-oriented to appreciate the podcast.
“What we hear are incredible stories of creative problem solving and growth and healing and joy. These are compelling human stories.”
The first season will include 10 episodes, which will be released every three weeks.