Saskatoon

Justin Trudeau gives shout out to Sask. entrepreneur over Instagram

A Saskatoon entrepreneur got a surprise shout out from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who praised the local business in an online Instagram post.

Neechie Gear Inc. founder Kendal Netmaker reposted the shout out on his Instagram

Kendal Netmaker is the founder of aboriginal-centred clothing company, Neechie Gear Inc. (CBC)

It's not often your business gets a shout out from the Prime Minister of Canada.

But for Kendal Netmaker, founder and CEO of Neechie Gear Inc., he got the surprise of a lifetime after Justin Trudeau tagged his company on an Instagram post, applauding his apparel businesses' initiative of giving five per cent of its profits to help underprivileged kids get into sports.

"I've  been working my butt off for the last five years and I think these kind of little things are just ways of showing you that your work is paying off," Netmaker told CBC News.

"So for me, when I get these opportunities, it more so helps me to keep moving forward in a positive way and I know I'm on the right path."
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gave a shout out to Neechie Gear Inc. founder Kendal Netmaker on Instagram, applauding his business and the commitment to make a difference in the local community. (CBC)

Neechie Gear Inc. was born five years ago as a University of Saskatchewan project and it blossomed into a brand and a business Netmaker has managed ever since graduation.

He said the idea behind giving back to underprivileged children comes from his personal past, where his best friend helped Netmaker get into soccer at a young age.

"Him and his family paid for my fees, and so it had a big effect on my overall life leading up until this present time. So when I had a chance to create something, I was able to brand that same mission of how they helped me into a business," Netmaker explained.

Instagram profile feature

The events leading up to Justin Trudeau's post on Instagram began a few weeks back when Netmaker answered a call from employees at Instagram looking to feature him alongside six Canadians who, after graduation from a post-secondary institution, have been positive contributors to society.

"They read about me and my brand and they wanted to feature me, so I was very honoured to be part of this," he said, adding he only had to give his permission to the social media site. He had no idea Canada's prime minister was involved.

"This first showed up on Justin Trudeau's personal account and then I reposted it from what he had posted, so I posted it on my personal account @NeechieGear," he said.

The exposure has inspired Netmaker to continue to help those in need around him.  

"This gives me a fist pump to keep moving forward so these little things help a lot with that."

Netmaker won CBC Saskatchewan's Future 40 in 2013. He was a Future 40 judge in 2015 and 2016.

With files from CBC's James Hopkin

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