Kendal Netmaker is one of Canada’s leading entrepreneurs and speakers, from Sweetgrass First Nation, SK. He was raised by a single mother who cared for Kendal and his three younger sisters while growing up in poverty and few chances for opportunity.
In grade 5, Kendal’s life changed forever when his best friend from South Africa helped him to play soccer by paying for his soccer fees and driving him to games/practices. This act of kindness opened up a whole other world for him that he would have never otherwise experienced. Two years later, when the family was relocating, they gave Kendal’s family their car; it was a life-changing gift that helped his mother access all kinds of basic necessities that had previously been difficult – and meant that Kendal and his sisters could now take part in after school sports.
The incredible generosity of his childhood friend’s family inspired Kendal to give back when he launched his company, Neechie Gear® – a lifestyle apparel brand that empowers youth through sports. A percentage of all Neechie Gear® profits go toward funding underprivileged youth to take part in sports. While finishing two degrees from the University of Saskatchewan, Kendal worked on growing the brand, which was founded out of Kendal’s small, one-bedroom apartment. After graduation, Kendal opened several stores while sharing his story as keynote speaker. The brand is now sold to consumers across North America through exclusive retail partners and online.
To date, Kendal has founded and invested in 5 businesses, the author of Driven To Succeed and won over 25 business awards, including runner-up at the YBI Global Entrepreneur of the Year & one of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40®. Kendal speaks professionally to thousands of people each year on resilience, leadership and the power of telling your story.
He lives with his wife and two children in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, where he continues to run his company and provide executive leadership coaching to organizations.
Kendal is on a mission to empower entrepreneurs and leaders around the globe by demonstrating that regardless of where you come from and what you have gone through in your life, you have the power to enact change. Become who you were born to be!
- 2020 CANIE Indigenous Entrepreneur Award – Praries
- 2019 Canada’s Top 40 Under 40®
- 2019 NACCA National Indigenous Youth Entrepreneur of the Year Award
- 2019 Raj Manek – Ravi Maithel Find-A-Way Award – Entrepreneurship
- 2019 Driven To Succeed – Canada Book Award Winner
- 2019 Finalist in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards – Motivational
- 2018 Keyano College – Distinguished Alumni Award
- 2018 Better Business Bureau of Saskatchewan Torch Award – Aboriginal Business
- 2017 StartUp Canada Social Enterprise of the Year Award – Prairies
- 2016 Published Case Study in the Ivey School of Business
- 2016 Canadian Business Change Agents – One of Canada’s future business leaders
- 2015 University of Saskatchewan College of Education Wall of Honour
- 2015 Saskatchewan RedCross Young Humanitarian of the Year Award
- 2015 Runner-up – Youth Business International Entrepreneur of the Year
- 2015 CCAB National Youth Aboriginal Entrepreneur Award Recipient
- 2015 Indspire Award – Youth First Nation
- 2014 University of Saskatchewan Alumni of Influence Award Recipient
- 2014 Selected Entrepreneur to represent Canada at the Global Entrepreneurship Congress in Moscow, Russia.
- 2014 Featured Case Study in the Canadian Foundation for Economic Education – Entrepreneurship, The Spirit of Adventure
- 2013 NCAIED Res Arizona $20,000 Business Plan Competition Winner
- 2013 Sype Volta Award – Saskatchewan Young Entrepreneur of the Year
- 2013 Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce Youth Entrepreneur of the Year – Finalist
- 2013 Better Business Bureau Torch Award – Retail Category
- 2013 CBC Future 40 Recipient
- 2013 Mclean’s Magazine Future Leaders 25 Under List
- 2013-2016 Nominee in the Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce Sabex Awards
- 2012 Saskatoon’s Finest Entrepreneur Award Winner
- 2012 Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce Abex Award Winner – Community Involvement
- 2012 Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce Abex Award Winner – Aboriginal Partnership
- 2011 $1500 winner in the Progress2Capital Business Plan Competition.
- 2011 NSBA Young Promising Entrepreneur Finalist
- 2011 One of thirty entrepreneurs selected to represent Canada at the G20 Young Entrepreneur Summit
- 2011 ACE (Enactus Canada) Saskatchewan Student Entrepreneur Provincial Champion
- 2011 Wilson Centre i3 Idea Challenge – $10,000 Winner
- 2011 CANDO Economic Developer of the Year – Aboriginal Private Sector Business Award Winner
- 2011 B.Ed and B.A from the University of Saskatchewan
- 2010 1st Place in the Aboriginal Youth Idea Challenge Business Plan Competition