ST. JOHN’s, OCT. 27, 2016 – Seafair Capital Inc., owned by Anne Whelan, was presented with the Corporation of the Year Award at NLOWE’s 2016 Entrepreneur of the Year Awards tonight. It is the first woman-owned business to receive the award, which recognizes corporations that assist in the development of women entrepreneurs and the active inclusion of women-owned businesses in their supply chain.
Seafair Capital Inc. is a private investment company that provides strategic leadership and expertise to its partner companies. This past April, the company launched its supplier diversity program, which encourages the use of diverse-owned vendors, including women-owned businesses, as suppliers. The company also announced its spending target of 25% of its discretionary spending with women-owned suppliers during its next fiscal year.
“As a woman-owned business, we really understand the challenges that women entrepreneurs face in trying to forge their way into the business world,” says Tammy Pike Farrell, Director of Shared Services and Legal with Seafair Capital Inc., “so by making a conscious effort to support these small to medium sized businesses through the supplier diversity program, it really helps us unlock their potential as they help us unlock ours.”
In addition to Seafair Capital Inc., seven women business owners were honoured at the 2016 Entrepreneur of the Year Awards.
Taking home the pinnacle award for the evening, Sharon Horan, founder and president of Atlantic Orthotics Ltd. and FIT For Work, was the recipient of the RBC Royal Bank Entrepreneurial Excellence Award.
Horan is a past winner of NLOWE’s Visionary Award, and she continues to have a vision for her company and the province as a whole. “Since being nominated, I’ve really thought about how important it is in today’s economic times to celebrate,” said Horan, “I think if we remain optimistic and we focus on the good things that are happening, such as the women owned businesses being profiled here tonight, that’s really good for our province overall.”
Sonja Maloney, owner of Jumping Bean Coffee franchise in Gander and former owner of Ultra Clear Water & Brewing Centre, took home the Youth Entrepreneur of the Year Award, sponsored by College of the North Atlantic, which recognizes a successful entrepreneur who is 35 years of age or under. Her advice for other young entrepreneurs is, “choose something you love, be fully committed, make sure you invest your time and your money back into the business so you can continue to grow. And have fun with it!”
Jenny Smith, President and Creative Director of Ray Creative Agency in St. John’s, was awarded the Start-up Award sponsored by Newfoundland and Labrador Credit Union, which recognizes a successful entrepreneur who has been in business for two to five years. Having worked in London, Paris, Toronto and Halifax, Smith is happy to be operating her business in her home province. “I’m honoured to be recognized among these other talented businesswomen and leaders who are passionate about building Newfoundland and Labrador’s economy. This province is so beautiful and inspiring; it motivates me to do better work. Many thanks to our wonderful local clients and to my amazing team.”
The winner of the Community Impact Award, sponsored by the Hebron Project, was Christina Dove, owner and Executive Chocolatier of Newfoundland Chocolate Company. Of learning that she would be receiving the Community Impact Award, Dove said, “It has been incredibly humbling. It’s been quite a privilege to connect with and be able to help such invaluable charities through awareness and fundraising initiatives.”
Mandy Woodland, owner of Mandy Woodland Law, won the Innovation Award, sponsored by Business Development Bank of Canada. “Innovation is important to my business and to any business,” says Woodland. “You have to be able to constantly serve the needs of your customers and to do that you have to find new ways to solve their problems.”
The Visionary Award, sponsored by Cox & Palmer, was awarded to Connie Parsons, owner of Connie Parsons School of Dance in St. John’s. “Winning this award has really made me think about what I’ve accomplished over the years,” said Parsons, “it’s helped me reflect on how I will evolve and lead my business in the future.”
Jill Knox Gosse and Lynne Wilson, owners of Wreckhouse Productions, a film production company based in St. John’s, were the recipients of the Export Award sponsored by Export Development Canada. On winning the award, Wilson notes, “It is really special because it is recognition from women who are in business in Newfoundland.” Knox Gosse adds, “It validates what we do and helps to keep us moving forward.”
“NLOWE is pleased to honour the achievements of the winners of this year’s Entrepreneur of the Year Awards,” says Hilda Broomfield-Letemplier, president of NLOWE’s Board of Directors. “This evening’s winners are helping create a stronger and more diverse business landscape in this province and we are happy to celebrate them and their contributions.”
The awards gala was attended by over 200 people including the Honourable Christopher Mitchelmore, Minister of Business, Tourism, Culture and Rural Development and Karen Appleby, Manager of International Business Development and Entrepreneurship for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency as well as other government representatives, members of the business community and industry professionals from across the province.
In addition to the 2016 Entrepreneur of the Year Award sponsors listed above, gala sponsors include, Gold Sponsor, Emera Newfoundland and Labrador.