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Social entrepreneur recognized for mission to end boil water advisories

Innovation and Entrepreneurs Foundation will honour Mark Marsolais-Nahwegahbow, founder of Birch Bark Coffee Company

A Whitefish River First Nation entrepreneur is being nationally recognized for his work raising funds to equip Canada’s First Nation communities with access to clean water.

On May 28, Mark Marsolais-Nahwegahbow, founder of Birch Bark Coffee Company, will receive a Canada Innovation & Entrepreneurship (CANIE) Award during a digital ceremony celebrating winners from Ontario.

CANIE Awards are bestowed by the Innovators and Entrepreneurs Foundation to recognize excellence in Canadian innovation and entrepreneurship.

The Foundation is a national charity dedicated to educate and promote innovation and entrepreneurship among aspiring and well-established business owners in marginalized communities.

Marsolais-Nahwegahbow launched Birch Bark Coffee Company in 2018.

The Ottawa-based company sources and blends organic, certified fair trade coffee, and proceeds from the sale of every bag go toward the purchase of water purification systems for Indigenous homes across Canada.

Marsolais-Nahwegahbow’s goal is to install a water purification system in every Indgienous home that currently does not have access to clean water, including those in more remote regions whose communities have been on long-term boil water advisories, in some cases for decades.

“This award is not only about Birch Bark Coffee,” Marsolais-Nahwegahbow said in a Foundation statement.

“It is about all the people who care about change and have joined our journey.”

Marsolais-Nahwegahbow is one of 40 recipients of CANIE Awards, which are given out according to regions across the country.

This year, due to COVID-19, awards will be announced during five digital ceremonies, starting with the Ontario recipients tonight.



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