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Aboriginal businesses recognized for excellence

Nishnawbe Aski Development Fund presented six awards during its annual awards dinner.
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Melissa Hardy (centre) and Paul Giles, of Hardy Giles Consulting, are the winners of the 2016 NADF Partnership of the Year Award, with Cathy Campbell of the CMHC in the background.

The Nishnawbe Aski Development Fund (NADF) presented six awards for business achievements during its 26th annual Business Award Dinner in Timmins on Oct. 19.

Awarded since 1990, the awards are given to Indigenous businesses and individuals within the Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN).

Stan Wesley, MC for the evening, acknowledged some communities in NAN are hurting, but said accomplishments should be celebrated.

“We are about to see that pain doesn’t apply to who I am and it doesn’t apply to who we are,” Wesley said. “It is like that flower that blooms in the desert.”

“What we are going to see tonight is the blooming flowers in our communities,” Wesley added.

A list of the awards and their recipients follows:

Youth Entrepreneur of the Year Award: Chris Ratte, for Gracie Jujitsu, Timmins
Presented to an Aboriginal Youth, between 18 and 35 years of age, who is successfully operating a business in Northern Ontario.

Businesswoman of the Year: Sandi Boucher, motivational speaker, Thunder Bay
Presented to an Aboriginal businesswoman, 18 years or older, who is successfully operating a business in Northern Ontario.

Businessman of the Year: Corey Wesley, for Juice Monkey, Thunder Bay
Presented to an Aboriginal businessman, 18 years or older, who is successfully operating a business in Northern Ontario.

Business Partnership: Melissa Hardy and Paul Giles, of Hardy Giles Consulting, Thunder Bay
Presented to a business partnership where at least one of the partners is of Aboriginal heritage, is significantly involved in the day-to-day operations of the business, and retains at least 51 per cent ownership in the business.

Corporation of the Year: CreeWest, Sioux Lookout
Presented to a majority-owned Aboriginal Corporation that is operating in Northern Ontario.

New Business: Jason Okimaw, of Okimaw Consulting, Attawapiskat
Presented to a majority-owned Aboriginal business that is operating in Northern Ontario.

NADF’s awards gala alternate annually between Timmins and Thunder Bay. The 2017 awards will be held in Thunder Bay.



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