Twin sisters Dakota and Jesse Brant, of Six Nations of the Grand River, have another award to add to their collection.
The co-founders of Sapling and Flint, a jewelry manufacturer, are the 2022 winners of the the Young Aboriginal Entrepreneur Award.
The award, presented by the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business and sponsored by ESS Support Services Worldwide, recognizes the work of Indigenous business leaders under 35 and includes a $10,000 prize. The award will be presented during the council’s Central Canada Business Forum in Toronto on Feb. 24.
“Jesse and I went into business with three goals,” Dakota said. “First would be to use e-commerce and wholesale to create jobs in our home village of Ohsweken.
“Second, was to raise the profile of authentic Indigenous art and, lastly, to bring our products nationwide.”
She noted that as the business grows it is revitalizing traditional silversmithing in Ohsweken.
“We are so honoured CCAB recognizes us with this national award and that the jury has seen our passion, drive and want to share in our vision,” Dakota said. “Nya:wen (thank you) from the bottom of our hearts.”
The sisters, who are of the Mohawk Turtle Clan, started Sapling and Flint in 2017.
A goldsmith and wampum cutter, Jesse is a member of the Canadian Jewellers Association, while Dakota is a regalia maker and visual artist with a background in small business management. Together, they said they create pieces that share the story of Turtle Island.
Their work can be seen at www.saplingandflint.ca/ .
“For the first time in CCAB history, this award is shared among twin sisters with an extraordinary story as co-founding entrepreneurs with complementary talents,” said Tabatha Bull, the council’s president and CEO. “We couldn’t be happier to present this award to these two deserving and impressive Indigenous women who are setting an example for young enterprising hopefuls.”
In 2018, the sisters received the CHCH TV Business Excellence Award. That same year, they won top prize at PowWow Pitch, a which a grassroots community of Indigenous entrepreneurs.
In 2019, they received Paypal Canada’s small business makeover contest.
And, in 2020, the sisters got the Athlohsa Peace Award for a campaign to ensure equitable access to the internet and opportunities in Indigenous communities. Athlohsa is a Southwestern Ontario organization that provides a range of social services.
Sanjay Gomes, president, ESS Support, said his company is proud to sponsor the entrepreneur award.
“I congratulate Dakota and Jesse Brant for raising the profile of authentic Indigenous art, fashion and design,” he said. “Their hard work and dedication are an inspiration for other Indigenous women. The future looks bright for Sapling and Flint.”
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