By Caroline Watton, NLOWE Board Chair
Twenty-five years ago, the entrepreneurial space for women was relatively small, leadership positions for women were rare, and finding a path to success in non-traditional industries was challenging. But today, women are shattering glass ceilings, and the ripple effect of their social, environmental, and economic impact is boundless. We like to think that, in some small part, NLOWE has played a role in that progress. And so we couldn’t think of a better place to celebrate our twenty-fifth anniversary than at the Entrepreneur of the Year Awards gala.
I want to thank the many individuals who contributed to the event’s success.
Our special guest, the Honourable Judy May Foote, P.C., O.N.L., a staunch supporter of women in business, gave the opening address, bringing words of encouragement that resonated deeply with everyone in the room. There was also a strong showing of support from every level of government. 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, all joined us to celebrate outstanding businesswomen’s achievements, professional expertise, and leadership.
The success of NLOWE programming, training, and twenty-five years of advocacy would not be possible without support from the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency. We are grateful for their continued involvement in our work. As a result of this partnership, there are fewer barriers and more opportunities for us all. NLOWE is proud of our partnerships, and we are excited for the next 25 years!
Much of the work we do relies on funding and sponsorships from the business community. They make possible many of the successful events and training workshops that NLOWE coordinates. And therefore, I send my sincere gratitude to RBC for being our Entrepreneur of the Year Award sponsor! In addition, thank you to all our awards sponsors: Hebron Project, FONEMED, H. R. Project Partners, McInnes Cooper, Cox & Palmer, BDC, and College of the North Atlantic, who have, through their generosity, allowed us to shine a spotlight on this group of women and their accomplishments.
I especially want to thank our CEO, Jennifer Bessell, and her staff, who worked hard to make that night memorable. Your vision, imagination, and attention to detail have pulled off another exceptional gala.
The talented Sally LeDrew documented the evening and all our wonderful guests in photographs. Behind the camera capturing memories for more than 15 years, Sally is no stranger to the NLOWE community. Thank you, Sally, for your professionalism. This year’s videographer was Roger Maunder and his team at Up Sky Down Productions. Thank you for the fantastic job you’ve done in capturing the spirit of this year’s eight award recipients and their entrepreneurial journey. We also thank Christina Dove of the Newfoundland Chocolate Company for providing lovely treats, which were placed at each table setting for guests to enjoy. And last but certainly not least, I want to thank the imaginative and talented Maricel and Ingrid of MAKEvents Creative Planning Inc., whose decor once again provided a magical backdrop to our event.
The Entrepreneur of the Year Awards program is open to women across Newfoundland and Labrador. Choosing eight individuals from a pool of hundreds is a daunting but necessary task. I thank committee members Roseanne Leonard, Ted Cadigan, and Jennifer Bessell for joining me this year.
Learn more about these amazing women and their entrepreneurial journeys in the pages of this quarterly, or watch their videos on NLOWE’s YouTube channel. You will discover that this year’s honourees are remarkable examples of the exciting work done by women entrepreneurs across the province. We at NLOWE are excited and honoured to be a small part of their success.
If you’ve received an Entrepreneur of the Year Award nomination, that indicates that your
name is getting attention and your business is creating a buzz. If you’re a small business owner, an NLOWE Entrepreneur of the Year Award is an excellent source of credibility to partners, clients, and investors. So please look around your network or in the mirror. If you see a businesswoman meeting her goals and excelling in one of our eight award categories, I encourage you to nominate her.