Business Profile: Neechie Gear is a purpose-driven clothing company with an aim to support young athletes and foster a love of sport. It is more than just clothing, it’s about ‘changing the world one t-shirt at a time.’
His Story: The Canadian brand with a social conscience
Kendal Netmaker grew up on Sweetgrass First Nation, Saskatchewan and had little opportunity to be involved in any extra-curricular activities as a youth, until one pivotal day where his friend’s family reached out to provide the necessary support. This allowed Kendal to be part of many sports teams and continue with his education.
Kendal created the clothing company, Neechie Gear, when he was a student at the University of Saskatchewan. He understood then the value of creating a socially branded clothing line that gives back to youth in communities by encouraging and supporting participation in sport. As a tribute to his past, and with the assistance of world renowned Aboriginal author, Neal Mcleod, the term Neechie was ‘born’ – it is a slang form of “my friend” in the Plains Cree language.
The Women Entrepreneurs of Saskatchewan Inc. connected Kendal with the Canadian Youth Business Foundation (CYBF), where he received financing, mentoring and business resources. CYBF matched Kendal with CYBF mentor Denis Prud’homme who provides advice and support to help the young entrepreneur run his business.
For Kendal, being an entrepreneur “has enabled me to create my own path as opposed to being limited by working for someone else. Just being able to witness people wearing and appreciating our clothing and the social aspects we support is so powerful,” explained Kendal.
“Being a CYBF entrepreneur has opened doors that I wouldn’t have had access to doing it all alone. I think every entrepreneur should take advantage of their start-up finances and resources”
- Kendal Netmaker, Neechie Gear
“Having my CYBF mentor, Denis Prud’homme, has been instrumental for motivating me to do the best that I can, especially when decision making can be extremely risky.”
- Kendal Netmaker, Neechie Gear
Women Entrepreneurs of Saskatchewan Inc.
Women Entrepreneurs of Saskatchewan Inc. is a non-profit membership organization that works with women who are considering starting a business, purchasing a business, or who are operating an existing business. Women Entrepreneurs of Saskatchewan serves to complement, rather than duplicate, the services of other organizations in supporting women entrepreneurs and in promoting entrepreneurship as a career option for girls and women. Visit www.womenentrepreneurs.sk.ca.
The Canadian Youth Business Foundation (CYBF) is a national non-profit organization dedicated to growing our nation’s economy one young entrepreneur at a time. We look at character, not collateral, when providing youth aged 18-39 with pre-launch coaching, business resources, start-up financing and mentoring to help them launch and sustain successful businesses. CYBF has been recognized as a global leader in advancing youth entrepreneurship, is a founding member of the global G20 Young Entrepreneurs’ Alliance (G20 YEA), the Canadian member of the Prince’s Youth Business International, and the Canadian Host of Global Entrepreneurship Week (November 18-24, 2013). Visit www.cybf.ca.