Stars in our sky – MNO Citizen Spotlight

Cadence Cotter Wows

MNO Youth start-up idea wins big at Pow Wow Pitch 2023

Equestrian turned entrepreneur, 12-year-old Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) citizen Cadence Cotter,  dazzled at this year’s Pow Wow Pitch competition bringing home the Youth Prize (and a neat $500) for her passion project, Manes & Reins Equestrian Co.

This was not Cadence’s first Pow Wow Pitch rodeo, having been previously selected as a youth semi-finalist in 2021 with her pitched subscription “Pony Pal Box,” at just 10 years old. This year, Cadence returned to the competition with more experience, focus, and an unbridled enthusiasm for her new equine-oriented business.

“During the COVID lockdowns I had an idea of making a subscription box called the Pony Pal Box filled with cool things for other young equestrians like me,” says Cadence. “Unfortunately, I didn’t have the time to really spend to make it happen, because I wanted to focus on training my new pony and become a better rider.”

“Now that I’m a bit older, and now that my pony is older too, I’ve decided that I want to make my own business, making and selling cool things for ponies and riders just like me.”

Cadence’s online store Manes & Reins Equestrian Co. sells a variety of items including pony and horse crafts, show ribbon holders, brushes, and personalized accessories, like stall / tack locker signs. Her business developed out of a passion for the equestrian world and a desire to financially support her own interests, like riding lessons and show jumping.

Cadence also expresses her gratitude to the MNO for investments in helping support her passions. “I’ve been VERY lucky to receive extra-curricular funding through the MNO’s Early Learning and Child Care (ELCC) program towards the cost of my riding lessons the last few years. This extra help has made it possible for me to be a better rider and finally be able to attend a real horse show series with my pony Myah.”

Beginning as a grassroots initiative, the Pow Wow Pitch competition provides aspiring Métis, First Nations and Inuit entrepreneurs with resources, mentorship and support, and has developed an extensive network of other like-minded business leaders. This year, the 2023 Pow Wow Pitch competition brought 22 aspiring entrepreneurs to the Summer Solstice Festival at Mādahòkì Farm in Ottawa, Ontario. For more information on this year’s winners and ways to be involved see:

The MNO wishes the best for Cadence and her new business and congratulates her for that winning Pitch!