October 28, 2022

ST. JOHN’S, NL. – The Newfoundland and Labrador Organization of Women Entrepreneurs (NLOWE) hosted its annual Entrepreneur of the Year Awards on Thursday, October 27, 2022, at the St. John’s Convention Centre. The event celebrated successful women entrepreneurs whose businesses contribute to the economy of this province. This year eight individuals received awards for their positive impact throughout Newfoundland and Labrador.

Kathie Hicks, co-owner & CEO of Spirit of Newfoundland, received the pinnacle Entrepreneurial Excellence Award, sponsored by RBC. This award recognizes a long-time entrepreneur who has significantly impacted the economy and whose success is an inspiration for other women in business. Operating from the Masonic Temple in downtown St. John’s, Spirit of Newfoundland is the longest-running dinner show in Newfoundland and Labrador. For twenty-five years, guests have enjoyed gourmet food and hit performances from some of our province’s most talented musicians, actors, singers, and chefs. Kathie says remembering her roots, connecting with guests, and personalizing their experiences has maintained business through economic ups and downs. “Our dream was to create a show that celebrates local talent and makes it accessible to everyone, and I believe we’ve done that,” says Kathie Hicks. “I’m incredibly proud of how far Spirit of Newfoundland has come and grateful to NLOWE and the community of businesswomen for recognizing its impact on the community.”

Receiving the Economic Impact Award is June Tavenor, a Registered Nurse and the founder and CEO of Catalyst Health Solutions located in Paradise. This award, sponsored by Hebron Project, recognizes women in business who have impacted the local economy, employed local resources, stimulated growth, and contributed to sustainable community development. Before founding Catalyst Health Solutions Inc., a nursing and medical support services company, June spent sixteen years as an emergency department nurse. While working within the system, she identified opportunities to improve healthcare delivery and patient experience. Since opening Catalyst Health Solutions, Tavenor has positively impacted Newfoundland and Labrador’s healthcare sector. “Providing services and solutions that meet individual needs better serves the patient and their families,” says Tavenor. “Being recognized by NLOWE for impacting the local economy and stimulating community growth is truly an honour.”

Receiving the Leadership Award is Hilda Broomfield-Letemplier, president and chief financial officer of Pressure Pipe Steel Fabrication Limited and Northern Oxygen Ltd. Mining suppliers located in Happy Valley-Goose Bay. Not only are these businesses in non-traditional trades they are 100% Inuit/Indigenous and woman-owned. The Leadership Award, sponsored by FONEMED, recognizes Broomfield-Letemplier as a female entrepreneur who has championed the advancement of women in the entrepreneurial space and beyond. As a Canadian indigenous woman living in the north and a rural entrepreneur in a non-traditional trade, Broomfield Letemplier advances the interests of indigenous persons and women in business. In addition, as part of the Indigenous Women’s Circle, Broomfield-Letemplier provides guidance and expertise regarding the systemic inequalities experienced by indigenous women to the federal government. “I hope to inspire and be a role model for aspiring entrepreneurs, particularly women of indigenous ancestry,” says Broomfield-Letemplier. “Receiving NLOWE’s Leadership Award validates our work of championing women in the entrepreneurial space. I’m proud to share it with my team.”

Jess Chapman, the owner of ethree, located in St. John’s, received the Mentor Award, sponsored by HR Project Partners. The Mentor Award recognizes individuals who have given their time and resources to mentoring other women to succeed in business. Originally from Great Britain, Chapman has worked in Canada, France and the United Kingdom, specializing in organizational effectiveness and employee engagement. Chapman says our brains are wired to form relationships, so connecting genuinely with others is essential. “Individual bonds are crucial, so we don’t feel like we’re going it alone,” Chapman says. “Mentoring and organizations like NLOWE help people find a community that authentically allows them to connect to others with similar interests and which can open networks and opportunities.”

Janice Ryan, president & CEO of Rudy’s Transportation Services Inc, located in Deer Lake, received the Momentum Award, sponsored by McInnes Cooper. The Momentum Award recognizes female entrepreneurs who have demonstrated significant growth or growth potential within a 1–3-year period. This Entrepreneur has built an adaptable and apt business to leverage opportunities for continued growth successfully. In two years, Ryan has taken her business from a small courier service to a critical link in the local supply chain by working with provincial food producers on cost-effective shipping services. After working in the fishing industry for over twenty years, Ryan credits NLOWE with helping her find her feet as an entrepreneur. “Expertise is vital to any business,” says Ryan. “NLOWE business advisors were available whenever I needed support. Receiving the Momentum Award is an honour, and I’m proud to be a part of this amazing community of businesswomen.”

Ashley Noseworthy, CEO of EDGEWISE Environmental, received the Trailblazer Award, sponsored by Cox & Palmer. This award recognizes female entrepreneurs who own and operate businesses excelling in a non-traditional industry for women or has established a business in an industry uncommon to the area in which it operates.

With an extensive background in marine biology, Noseworthy said starting a business wasn’t top of mind. It wasn’t until she began studying the impact of human noise on the marine environment that she felt she had something unique to bring to the table. “As a scientist, researching the underwater effects of manmade noise and using that data to make better regulatory decisions is a dream job,” says Noseworthy. “As a business owner, NLOWE’s export and peer facilitation programs have helped me to expand my skill sets to be a more effective business owner.

Kastine Coleman, owner & operator of Tight Loops Tight Lines located in Steady Brook, received the Trendsetter Award, sponsored by BDC. This award honours women entrepreneurs who use innovation and original thinking in operational and promotional activities. This Entrepreneur’s business sets trends and turns traditional ideas on their heads. A guide, casting instructor, writer and T.V. producer, Coleman says being recognized for successfully turning her passion into a viable business has been incredible. She’s recently launched a school-based program for elementary students to learn the basics of fly fishing and conservation and is encouraging more women to enter male-dominated sports & industries. “Community outreach and environmental conservation is a cornerstone of our business model. We’re using every tool in our toolbox to inspire a new generation of female anglers. Receiving NLOWE’s Trendsetter Award indicates that we’re on the right track!”

Constanza Safatle, the owner of Newbornlander, received the Young Entrepreneur Award, sponsored by the College of the North Atlantic. This award recognizes an entrepreneur, 35 years of age or younger, that has owned and operated a profitable business for at least two years.

An immigrant from Chile, Safatle found herself in a system with little support. Worried there wasn’t space for her in the job market, she began manufacturing handmade baby clothes made from ethically sourced, sustainable materials. In 2017, Newbornlander was launched and had grown from a home-based business into a retail store selling directly to the public in five years. In addition, Safatle eases the burden of others like her by hiring, mentoring, and training immigrant and newcomer women, providing a pathway into the labour market to reach their full potential. In 2021 Safatle successfully lobbied the provincial government to change the residency requirement of the Corporations Act to allow newcomers to own businesses. For Safatle, this means she now owns the business she founded and controls her future. “Immigrant women have the knowledge, skills, and experience needed to be in leadership roles,” continues Safatle. “I’m grateful to NLOWE for highlighting my achievements and encouraging more organizations and businesses to provide leadership opportunities for immigrant and newcomer women.”

Her Honour The Honourable Judy M. Foote, P.C., O.N.L. Lieutenant Governor of Newfoundland and Labrador, was a guest speaker and congratulated all award recipients and applauded their impact on the province. Also in attendance were, The Honourable Gudie Hutchings, Minister of Rural Economic Development, Joanne Thompson, Member of Parliament, St. John’s East and The Honourable Sarah Stoodley, Minister of Digital Government and Service NL. They each brought greetings and accolades to the award recipients for their accomplishments.

The Government of Canada, through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), has a longstanding relationship with NLOWE,” said Joanne Thompson, Member of Parliament for St. John’s East, on behalf of the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Official Languages and Minister responsible for ACOA. “For 25 years, NLOWE and ACOA have been working together to tell the important story of women entrepreneurs, their value and their significant contributions to our economy’s diversity and vibrancy. Congratulations to the 2022 award recipients. Your efforts are making a real difference – Newfoundland and Labrador’s future prosperity depends on business-minded women, just like you.”

For twenty-five years, NLOWE has supported and advocated for women entrepreneurs in Newfoundland and Labrador,” says Caroline Watton, NLOWE Board Chair. “I am thrilled for tonight’s award recipients. They continue raising the bar for business growth across the province.”

“Tonight, we celebrate eight extraordinary women entrepreneurs and their contributions to the business landscape, economy, and communities across Newfoundland and Labrador. We’re also celebrating NLOWE’s 25 years of supporting women to start, grow, and advance in business,” says Jennifer Bessell, CEO of NLOWE. “Tonight’s award recipients represent the diversity of talent, skill, ambition and expertise women entrepreneurs embody as their hard work provides them the recognition they deserve.”

The Entrepreneur of the Year Award is supported by ACOA, and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. Awards sponsors include RBC, Hebron Project, FONEMED, HR Project Partners, McInnes Cooper, Cox & Palmer, BDC and College of the North Atlantic. The opening reception in honour of NLOWE’s 25th anniversary was sponsored by Marathon Gold. NLOWE would also like to acknowledge Up Sky Down Films, Canadian AV, Photos by Sally LeDrew, The St. John’s Convention Centre, MakEvents and The Newfoundland Chocolate Company.

Founded in 1997, NLOWE is the only provincial organization dedicated exclusively to supporting women to start, grow and advance in business. NLOWE provides advisory services, business counselling, training, business resources & networking opportunities to women entrepreneurs.

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For more information and media inquiries, please contact:
Gail Woodfine, Marketing & Communications Coordinator, NLOWE
C: 709-770-4159 / E: gwoodfine@nlowe.org