Vancity takes reconciliaton in action in TV series “Bears’ Lair.”

Inspired by popular shows Dragons’ Den and Shark Tank, Bears’ Lair is a reality business competition that focuses on supporting Indigenous entrepreneurs, featuring a judge panel of Indigenous business leaders, community role models, and champions for inclusion - 'The Bears.'

The first season of Bears' Lair aired on September 2022 on the Aboriginal Peoples TV Network (APTN) with support from Vancity as one of the show’s leading sponsors. Geena Jackson, Founder and Executive Producer of Bears’ Lair TV, shared:

"I am so thrilled to have Vancity as a lead sponsor for the Bears' Lair TV Series. Vancity is one of the most progressive leaders in supporting small businesses to start, expand, grow and succeed. Vancity has always been a reconciliation champion that inspires, elevates and educates entrepreneurs and businesses every step of the way."

With leading sponsorhip from Vancity, the shooting of season 2 began in May 2023 and is set to air during the summer of 2024.

Empowering entrepreneurs and forming connections.  

This Indigenous-owned and -produced TV series is quite different from other business pitch shows. The contestants, all Indigenous entrepreneurs, retain full ownership of their business as they compete for a share of $180,000 in cash prizes.

Every contestant walks away with money and, most importantly, hours of business coaching and a support network of other Indigenous entrepreneurs.

“Vancity’s participation in this series is a very important step for us as we continue our efforts to support Indigenous entrepreneurs and businesses in their path to healing, sustainability, and financial success,” said Michelle Laviolette, Director of Indigenous Banking Strategy at Vancity.  

A special guest appearance.

During the first season, Vancity's previous President and CEO - Christine Bergeron - appeared as a guest judge in the show’s semi-finale episodes. This upcoming season will have a very special Vancity guest once more - Nez Aquino, CEO of Vancity Community Investment Bank.

“It was an honour to represent the Vancity Group as a guest judge for the second season of Bears’ Lair,” said Nez. “Indigenous entrepreneurship has always been, and will continue to be, a driving force of Canada’s economy. We all have a lot to learn from the ways Indigenous values and business models are ingrained in community and mindful of creating positive impact.”

Stay tuned for more updates on season 2 of Bears' Lair! 

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