The Aboriginal Youth Idea Challenge (AYIC) is a business plan competition run by Enactus University of Saskatchewan that provides startup and expansion capital to aboriginal youth ages 16 – 35 across Saskatchewan.

One of the Idea Challenge’s most successful participants is Kendal Netmaker.

Kendal launched a clothing company, Neechie Gear (“Neechie”, slang for “my friend” in Plains Cree language), a socially conscious brand that grew by 350% in a single year while employing 15 Aboriginal people and supported over a dozen youth based sports teams.

Today, Neechie Gear is committed to giving a portion of proceeds to help underprivileged kids to play sports!


Neechie Gear Founder and CEO, Kendal Netmaker, grew up on Sweetgrass First Nation, Saskatchewan. He was single-parented, came from a low-income family and had little opportunity to be involved in any extra-curricular activities as a youth.

In elementary school he met a life-long friend from South Africa who literally changed his life forever. His friend noticed Kendal was skilled in soccer and wondered why he wasn’t playing on sports teams. Kendal told his friend that he had no way of paying the registration fees and had no means traveling to and from the games/practices.

Soon after, his South African friend pulled him aside and said, “Kendal, I told my parents what you told me and they want to pay for your fee to play on my soccer team and we can even drive you to the reserve after all games/practices.”

Kendal was astounded that someone so kind would do this for him and accepted the opportunity. This allowed Kendal to be part of many sports teams and continue with his education. This family eventually gave Kendal’s family a running vehicle which enabled him and his sisters to become involved in sports that carried them through high school and into university.

Kendal has been part of, and witnessed what sports can do for youth by developing elite athletes and future leaders!

Without his friends’ help, Kendal wouldn’t have a landed a college volleyball scholarship after graduating high school, finish university and create an award-winning company!