This year’s Community Awards banquet will put a spotlight on those who work to make Outlook a better place with the presentations of the Jim Kook Citizen of the Year, Business of the Year, Youth of the Year, and Event/Group of the Year awards, but the event will also feature a guest speaker who has been making waves in the business sector for a number of years.
Kendal Netmaker, an Indigenous entrepreneur who grew up on the Sweetgrass First Nation in the province, is the founder of a popular clothing brand known as Neechie Gear, a lifestyle apparel brand that designates a portion of profits to help fund underprivileged youth to take part in sports.
Netmaker’s journey to become one of Canada’s top entrepreneurs and motivational speakers wasn’t an easy one, as he grew up with a single mother and lived on welfare, with no opportunities to be involved in after-school sports. That changed in Kendal’s grade five year, when his best friend from South Africa gave him a chance to take part in soccer, and Kendal never forgot that, especially when founding the Neechie gear brand.
Netmaker continued following on his own road to success, and after finishing two degrees from the University of Saskatchewan, he grew the apparel brand from a small, 1-bedroom apartment to a small kiosk, and then to several pop-up stores before opening a new headquarters in Saskatoon. The Neechie brand is now sold to consumers across North America through other exclusive retail partners, as well as online.
On top of that, Kendal launched Netmaker Enterprises, which focuses on helping others turn their passion into a successful business. He holds motivational talks, seminars and coaching sessions, and his travels have taken him around the globe, including speaking engagements as far as Dubai and Russia.
Netmaker’s intention is to empower young leaders across the country by showing people that “regardless of where you come from and what you have gone through, you can change it.”
The Community Awards banquet takes place on Friday night, March 31 at the Outlook Civic Centre.