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PARO acknowledges local entrepreneurs

Thunder Bay centre recognizes women entrepreneurs with eight awards for 2016.
Zahra Al-Harzai was the guest speaker at PARO’s 2016 Enterprising Women Gala and Awards on Nov. 17.

The PARO Centre for Women’s Enterprise in Thunder Bay recognized eight local entrepreneurs during its 2016 Enterprising Women Gala and Awards on Nov. 17.

The annual event features a keynote speaker lunch, speed mentoring and workshops, a tradeshow and networking opportunities, and fundraising and a silent auction.

This year’s keynote speaker was Zahra Al-Harzai, CEO and creative director of Foundry Communications, who spoke about “The Power of Collaboration and Storytelling” as an innovative way of marketing.

A list of the awards and their recipients follows:

New Business of the Year: Brette Cain, Brette’s Foot Care

This award recognizes a business with a successful and notable track record for less than three years.

Established Business of the Year: Liisa Hymander, Northern Baby Links

This award recognizes a business with a successful and notable track record for three years or more. It goes to a woman who has established a business, taken financial risks and managed the business successfully. 

Young Entrepreneur of the Year: Kaija Saarinen, Green and Gone Pest Solutions

This award recognizes a young woman business leader up to 34 years of age, who demonstrates outstanding entrepreneurial spirit, strategic direction, and innovative ideas whilst providing inspiration to a new generation of upcoming young businesspeople.

Social Entrepreneur of the Year: Taylor Gorie, Taylorpedia

This award recognizes an individual business owner and changemaker driving social innovation and transformation forward in one of the following fields: education, health or environment. A social entrepreneur builds strong and sustainable organizations, which are either set up as not-for-profit or for-profit.

Building Bridges Entrepreneur of the Year: Dayle Passley, Dayle’s Easy Sew

This award recognizes an individual who has overcome challenges and barriers in their life to build a sustainable livelihood as an entrepreneur and has been part of the program at PARO Centre.

Fundraising Circle of the Year: New Beginnings Sister Circles

This award recognizes a peer lending circle’s ongoing community and group effort that positively impacts PARO and their community, fundraising funds for their circle and the PARO grant fund.

Partner of the Year: Jesse Roberts, Thunder Bay Public Library

This award recognizes a partner whose collaborative work with PARO has contributed to advance women’s economic development.

Alumni Award: Gabby Cross, co-owner of Norma Jean’s Restaurant

PARO Centre for Women's Enterprise is a not-for-profit charitable organization — a unique, grassroots, community economic development organization with members involved in decision-making at every level. It provides programs and services designed to increase the economic independence and self-sufficiency of women and their families.

Serving northwestern Ontario and headquartered in Thunder Bay, the organization was founded in January, 1995.