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Announcing the 2015 BDC Mentorship Award Finalists

Futurpreneur | April 1, 2015

Mentorship is a key factor in entrepreneurial success. According to the Small Firms Enterprise Development Initiative, 70% of small businesses with owners who receive mentoring survive for five years or more. That is double the rate of businesses run by entrepreneurs without the support of mentoring.

In order to recognize the impact mentors have on entrepreneurial success, Futurpreneur Canada and the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) have partnered to present the BDC Mentorship Award. The award recognizes a Canadian business mentor credited by their mentees and peers for providing valuable advice and support that has led to the creation and growth of Canadian companies.

After accepting nominations from across the country for the 2015 BDC Mentorship Award, the field has been narrowed down to seven finalists. The winner of the 2015 BDC Mentorship Award will be announced in May.

Here’s a first look at the 2015 BDC Mentorship Award finalists:

Jeff Ryzner, Vice President, The Eureka Project (Winnipeg, MB)

Jeff Ryzner has been helping companies successfully commercialize technology for almost 20 years.  He is a founding partner of three tech start-ups and is very active in the start-up community. He works with companies every day through a variety of entrepreneurial support organizations including Futurpreneur Canada, ICTAM, Innovate Manitoba, New Media Manitoba, Startup Winnipeg and The Eureka Project.

Tom Cooper, Associate Professor, Faculty of Business, Memorial University (St. John’s, NL)

Tom Cooper is currently an Associate professor at the Faculty of Business Administration, Memorial University in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador. He lectures in the areas of strategy, risk management, management consulting at both an undergraduate and graduate level. He is the current Chair of StartupNL and a private investment firm Freshwater Capital.

*Devon Brooks, Advisor and Activator, Co-Founder of Blo Blow Dry Bar (British Columbia)

Devon Brooks defined a new market category, co-founding Blo Blow Dry Bar in 2006. Born from a second-year university project, the company spans four countries, with 52 locations, and has collaborated with international mega brands like Mattel, Guess and Gwenyth Paltrow. Devon believes in elevating ecosystems through entrepreneurship and activism.

*Updated April 14, 2015: As announced today, Devon Brooks has recently joined the Futurpreneur Canada Board of Directors. As a result, she has withdrawn her application to the 2015 BDC Mentorship Award. Futurpreneur Canada is delighted to have an outstanding mentor like Devon join our Board of Directors and add her experience, knowledge and passion to the mission of promoting youth entrepreneurship in Canada.

Bryan Watson, President, EP Enterprises Inc. (Toronto, ON)

Bryan Watson believes that entrepreneurship is a critical life skill and is key to economic growth. For over a decade, he has mentored hundreds of companies, believing that strong mentorship can mean the difference between success and failure. Bryan has supported entrepreneurs though founding such organizations as StartupDrinksTO and has advised all levels of government regarding entrepreneur-supporting initiatives.

Greg Sutton, CEO, TinyEYE Therapy Services (Saskatoon, SK)

Greg Sutton is the Co-Founder and CEO of TinyEYE Therapy Services, the first company in the world to provide speech language pathology services online. Greg and his sister/business partner, Marnee Brick, have taken their company from being a small start-up to emerging as the world leader in online speech therapy, providing services in 12 countries and 5 languages.

Ellen Farrell, Associate Professor, Saint Mary’s University (Halifax, NS)

Ellen Farrell has a PhD in Entrepreneurial Finance and leads the Entrepreneurship programs at Sobey School of Business. Ellen has coached dozens of entrepreneurs to hundreds of thousands of dollars in finance, and she is so inspired to help entrepreneurs that she created the Order of Entrepreneurship – an award that recognizes students who are putting themselves through university by running their own businesses.

Serge Dion, Engineer & Exonomist, Hydro-Quebec (Montreal, QC) 

Serge Dion is a typical intrapreneur from a great Québec corporation. Now retired, after a fruitful career at Hydro-Québec, Serge worked in every major division as an industrial engineer and economist.
Serge is active among many mentoring cells in Montreal. In the last 5 years, he has mentored more than a dozen entrepreneurs at different stages of their business development, even start-ups. Thanks to this experience, Serge has developed a new approach to enhance the efficiency of mentoring interventions and he gives frequent workshops on business model generation for young entrepreneurs.

You can read the full biographies of the 2015 BDC Mentorship Award finalists here.

Learn more about Futurpreneur Canada’s mentorship programs.