The chief executive officer of Thunder Bay's Sleeping Giant Brewing Company has been named a finalist for a national entrepreneur award.
This year, there were more than 420 submissions for the Canada Innovation & Entrepreneurship Awards (CANIE), which celebrate the achievements of business leaders across the country.
Sleeping Giant's Drea Mulligan is one of five people in the running for Woman Entrepreneur of the Year. She and her husband Kyle founded the company in 2012.
Mulligan also continues to work as a kindergarten teacher, and recently opened a daycare under the brewery flagship.
"Women often underestimate what they can accomplish, as they tend to carry the brunt of the responsibilities in their homes, which means they are not only the CEO of their business but also their family," she said.
Mulligan said a continuing shift in attitude is needed to show that women can balance their business and home responsibilities. She's been on a mission to change the perception that craft brewing is only for men.
"People still give me that surprised look when they find out a woman owns the brewery, but I've also been told our branding, beer and community relationships have a certain touch to them, perhaps something the industry isn't quite used to. When you add diversity to your leadership team, you allow for different ideas and perspectives."
The CANIE awards are organized by the Innovators & Entrepreneurs Foundation, a national charity dedicated to educate and promote innovation and entrepreneurship among aspiring and well-established business owners in marginalized communities. The winners will be announced this fall.