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.