Bears' Lair TV - A Reality Show with REAL Impact

"It's time for an innovative reality TV series to shine a spotlight on the diversity, resiliency and Spirit of Indigenous Businesses across the nation."
Geena Jackson (Tsetasyia), Executive Producer, Bears Lair TV 

How did we select the 18 Contestants for Season 1?

The 18 Indigenous entrepreneurs selected for Season 1 joined the Bears’ Lair team online for a ‘Meet & Greet’ webinar with our leadership team, first Coach and TV series producers who shared ‘TV Show Appearance Tips.’ 

  1. Over 60 hours of group training webinars and individual coaching sessions were provided by phone, email and virtual meetings to help polish their pitches and presentation skills before March 1st, 2022.
  2. Everyone travelled to North Vancouver/Squamish Nation lands to join us for filming at Spirit Works Gallery.
  3. Contestants finally met each other, Bears’ Lair Coaches, our Judges and TV crew in-person (although COVID-19 safety protocols limited our gathering size).
  4. All nine (9 episodes) were filmed in early March; the series will be broadcast on national, primetime TV on APTN in fall of 2022.

What is the ‘Flow of the Show’?  

We were thrilled that 18 Contestants embraced our ‘Spirit of Co-opetition’ that we hoped to create….They were co-operative and collaborative – helping each other, making connections and thrive in a ‘healthy competition.’  They worked to prepare and practice their 3-minute pitches to the panel of Indigenous business experts – The Bears – and Guest Judges on episodes to try to earn their share of $180,000 in prize money available in Season 1 of Bears’ Lair. 


Check your local listings for our primetime slot or sign up for Bears’ Lair News.

Then tune in to follow the 9 episodes and the journeys of 18 Indigenous business owners competing for their share of $180,00 in prize money available during Season 1 of Bears’ Lair TV! 

Each 30-minute episode will feature brief background stories and inspiring ‘pitches’ of the 18 diverse Contestants:

  • During the first 6 pitch episodes –> with 3 Contestants per show –> there’s 6 Episode winners of $10,000
  • Then on 2 semi-final episodes –> with 3 Contestants per show –> 4 advance to the season finale
  • Then on the Season finale –> with 4 fnalists –> 1 Contestant wins $100,000!

But the fun – and our wealth redistribution – doesn’t end after the Season Finale! 

For 4 weeks after the season finale airs on APTN, the #BearsLairCommunity can vote to award 4 runner-ups with $5,000 each.

Bear’s Lair winners will be required to do follow-up interviews to show our team and viewers how they used their prize money to ‘Make Shift Happen’ for their business and their community – so EVERYBODY wins! 

It's time to Feed the Spirit of Indigenous Business

...with some Indigenous TWISTS on edu-tainment reality TV!

Creating a Feeling of Personal Connection

(Because we all need to feel more CONNECTED these days! )

Emmy Award-winning editor Katherine Griffin has worked on well-known reality shows that span every theme: exploring ‘famous family’ dynamics, finding love, building teamwork, finding love and pursuing career excellence. In an interview with Paula Goldberg, She explained the on-going popularity / draw of reality TV:  


I think the personal connection that viewers feel toward these shows, and the people or situations in them, is exactly what gives the shows their longevity. Reality TV is essentially “slice of life” storytelling.


Challenging Mainstream Reality Competitions

The priorities of the world are shifting.

The Bears’ Lair crew knew that a reality TV series could help nurture authentic connections among and for other Indigenous entrepreneurs.

We also recognize that most shows often focus on purely capitalist concepts that are literally foreign or frustrating to our community.

Here’s a few reasons that the Bears challenges the ‘other’ shark-like business shows that often celebrate only Western or capitalist/colonial values…

Respect from ‘The Bears’

Our Contestants WILL NOT have to:

  • Convince Judges that they investing their money will earn them significant financial 
      …because our Bears award PRIZE money that we raised from sponsors. 
  • Deal with Judges who may be condescending or combative
    …because our Bears and Guest Judges committed to honour our ‘Spirit of Co-opetition’ : cooperation + collaboration in a supportive, healthy competition.
  • Give up control or a portion of their business to an outsider
    …because Indigenous ownership and self-determination are keys to economic Reconciliation.
  • Get locked into complex, long-term contracts to meet obligations
    …because winners know that the follow-up stories they will provide us are like a ‘moral contracts’ that hold eberyone accountable to the #BearslairCommunity.

Respect for their ‘Purpose’

Our Contestants WILL NOT be pressured to:

  • Prioritize profit over respecting their people, culture and the environment
    …because our Contestants were CHOSEN because they strive to meet the Quadruple Bottom Line: balancing People, Planet, Profit AND Purpose.
  • Outsource, change production methods or suppliers to save money
    …because we respect their goals to create and keep jobs in their community, source or gather materials locally and respect their Traditional practices and Knowledge that make their products and services unique.
  • Think about short-term gains or building personal wealth 
    …because we know the value of shared prosperity, community impact and focus on sustainability.
  • ‘Scale up’ or expand to simply build up then sell later
    …because we know Indigenous businesses are often kept within families to build community prosperity. 

We Showcase & Celebrate Indigenous Values in Business

The Bears’ Lair crew began to think about how we could create a TV series that could showcase and celebrate these Indigenous values that are woven into so many businesses…

We included some ‘FUNdamental ‘twists’ in our approach to honour and celebrate the Spirit of Indigenous Business.

Want to be a Guest Judge on Season 2 of Bears' Lair TV?

Consider stepping up – and stepping into the spotlight – to join our panel of Bears next year!

Thunderbird Level Sponsors have an incredible opportunity to appear as a Guest Judge on Season 2 of the Bears’ Lair!

There’s limited spaces to join us on stage! Interact with the Bears’ Lair crew, our Contestants, the core team of Indigenous business expert of Judges – ‘The Bears’ – and other CSR #Reconciliaction champions who support us as Thunderbird Level sponsors. Join the excitement next year to help reward even more courageous Contestants pitching their plans to try to earn their share of prize money next season!

We appreciate all Sponsors who helped us create Season 1 of Bears’ Lair to be broadcast to a national TV audience through APTN and our online community. 

BUT, if you’re interested in joining The Bears as a Guest Judge on one episode of the next series,  email us immediately to discuss securing your spot with The Bears!

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Consider joining us as a Guest Judge on Season 2!