Seafair Capital Inc., owned by Anne Whelan, was presented with the Corporation of the Year Award at the Newfoundland and Labrador Organization of Women Entrepeneurs’ 2016 Entrepreneur of the Year Awards last night.

Seafair Capital is a private investment company that provides strategic leadership and shared services to its group of operating companies. It offers support in the areas of finance, marketing and communications, information technology, human resources, and legal, and recognizes corporations that assist in the development of women entrepreneurs and the active inclusion of women-owned businesses in their supply chain.

“As a woman-owned business, we really understand the challenges that women entrepreneurs face in trying to forge their way into the business world,” says Tammy Pike Farrell, Director of Shared Services and Legal with Seafair Capital Inc.

In addition to Seafair Capital Inc., seven women business owners were honoured at the 2016 Entrepreneur of the Year Awards.

Taking home the pinnacle award for the evening, Sharon Horan, founder and president of Atlantic Orthotics Ltd. and FIT For Work, was the recipient of the RBC Royal Bank Entrepreneurial Excellence Award.The award recognizes an entrepreneur who has owned and been in operating control of a business(es) for at least 10 years, who has made significant impact on the economy.

Sonja Maloney, owner of a Jumping Bean Coffee franchise in Gander took home the Youth Entrepreneur of the Year Award, which recognizes a successful entrepreneur who is 35 years of age or under. Her advice for other young entrepreneurs is, “choose something you love, be fully committed, make sure you invest your time and your money back into the business so you can continue to grow. And have fun with it!”

Jenny Smith, President and Creative Director of Ray Creative Agency in St. John’s was awarded the Start-up Award which recognizes a successful entrepreneur who has been in business for two to five years. Having worked in London, Paris, Toronto and Halifax, Smith is happy to be operating her business in her home province.

The winner of the Community Impact Award was Christina Dove, owner and Executive Chocolatier of Newfoundland Chocolate Company. The award recognizes an entrepreneur whose business has a significant impact on the local community economically and/or socially.

Of learning that she would be receiving the Community Impact Award, Dove said, “It has been incredibly humbling. It’s been quite a privilege to connect with and be able to help such invaluable charities through awareness and fundraising initiatives.”

Mandy Woodland, owner of Mandy Woodland Law, won the Innovation Award. Sponsored by Business Development Bank of Canada, the award recognizes an entrepreneur who owns and operates a successful business that employs innovation in technology and/or processes to grow..

“Innovation is important to my business and to any business,” says Woodland. “You have to be able to constantly serve the needs of your customers and to do that you have to find new ways to solve their problems.”

The Visionary Award —  for an entrepreneur who has demonstrated outstanding leadership within her business and her industry — was awarded to Connie Parsons, owner of Connie Parsons School of Dance in St. John’s. “Winning this award has really made me think about what I’ve accomplished over the years,” said Parsons, “it’s helped me reflect on how I will evolve and lead my business in the future.”

Jill Knox Gosse and Lynne Wilson, owners of Wreckhouse Productions, a film production company based in St. John’s, were the recipients of the Export Award. On winning the award, Wilson notes, “It is really special because it is recognition from women who are in business in Newfoundland.” This award recognizes an entrepreneur who has excelled in export and can demonstrate notable growth in her overall business as a direct result of entering new international markets.

“NLOWE is pleased to honour the achievements of the winners of this year’s Entrepreneur of the Year Awards,” says Hilda Broomfield-Letemplier, president of NLOWE’s Board of Directors. “This evening’s winners are helping create a stronger and more diverse business landscape in this province and we are happy to celebrate them and their contributions.”