New TV business competition invites Indigenous entrepreneurs into the ‘Bears’ Lair’

VANCOUVER — A new reality show is inviting Indigenous entrepreneurs to pitch their businesses to a group of sharp-toothed investors. The casting call has opened for season of “Bears’ Lair TV,” a televised business competition that’s set to air on APTN….

VANCOUVER — A new reality show is inviting Indigenous entrepreneurs to pitch their businesses to a group of sharp-toothed investors.

The casting call has opened for season of “Bears’ Lair TV,” a televised business competition that’s set to air on APTN.

Sparkly Frog Clan Productions says the nine-episode series will see 18 Indigenous entrepreneurs compete for prize money to support their ventures on the path to success.

A judges’ panel comprised of Indigenous leaders, known as “the Bears,” will select six contestants who each receive $10,000 before moving on to the next round to vie for a grand prize of $100,000.

Executive producer Geena Jackson says in a news release that the show is shaped by Indigenous values that aim to bolster the “quadruple bottom line — balancing people, planet, profit and purpose.”

The show strives to distinguish itself from other predator-themed TV business competitions by ensuring that contestants retain ownership of their enterprises instead of giving a cut to investors, awarding points to ventures with a social impact and offering mentorship in addition to financial backing.

The core panel of judges, who will sometimes be joined by a guest from a “Bears’ Lair” sponsor, include: Jackson of the Sechelt First Nation in B.C.; Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business president and CEO Tabatha Bull of Nipissing First Nation in Ontario; Tuccaro Group of Companies president and CEO Dave Tuccaro of the Mikisew Cree First Nation in Alberta; and Steel River Group president and CEO Trent Fequet from the Innu community of Pakuashipi in Quebec.

“It is time to feed the spirit of Indigenous business to showcase the diversity and resiliency of Indigenous entrepreneurs,” Jackson said in Tuesday’s news release. “It’s time for a reality show with real impact.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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