Futurpreneur Canada Presents its 20th Anniversary Award Winners

May 31, 2016

Toronto’s Kailey Gilchrist wins Clearwater Entrepreneur of the Year Award

Halifax’s Mary Jane Copps wins BDC Mentorship Award

Waterloo’s Intellijoint Surgical Inc. wins Shopify Grit Award

Montreal’s Bec Soda wins Youth Business International Beyond Borders Award

Halifax’s CEED Centre for Entrepreneurship Education and Development wins RBC Community Partner Award

For immediate release 

TORONTO (May 31, 2016) – At today’s Action Entrepreneurship Canadian Summit in Toronto, Futurpreneur Canada announced the winners of five awards honouring entrepreneurs and their businesses, mentors and the organization’s community partners.

“Our 20th anniversary is a celebration of all the people we’ve worked with who are starting businesses, supporting businesses, and helping to create a more entrepreneurial Canada – and today’s award-winners are fantastic examples of people who are doing just that,” said Julia Deans, CEO, Futurpreneur Canada. “We’d like to congratulate all the winners today on their achievements and to thank all of our partners who supported these awards.”

Futurpreneur Canada and its partners would like to congratulate the following award winners:

Winner of the Clearwater Entrepreneur of the Year Award

Kailey Gilchrist, NONA Vegan, Toronto ON

Kailey Gilchrist is the ‘Sauce Boss’ of NONA Vegan Foods Ltd., a Toronto-based start-up specializing in dairy-free, gluten-free, cashew-based cream sauces. Nona Vegan’s Alfredo, cheese and carbonara-styles are sold across Ontario and a regular sighting at local food festivals and events.

“It’s such an honour to be recognized by Futurpreneur: an organization that I so strongly admire and one that has helped me so much in my journey as an entrepreneur,” said Gilchrist.

“As a long-time entrepreneur, it’s exciting to watch the next generation of Canadian entrepreneurs like Kailey who are pursuing their ideas, taking risks and building a more innovative and entrepreneurial Canada,” said John Risley, co-founder and President, Clearwater Fine Foods.

Read the full Clearwater Entrepreneur of the Year Award media release here.

Winner of the BDC Mentorship Award

Mary Jane Copps, The Phone Lady, Halifax NS

Mary Jane launched her first communications company in 1987 and, with a partner, grew it to a staff of nine. In 2006, she introduced The Phone Lady brand, and has since worked with over 400 businesses, providing them with the skills to communicate effectively on the phone. She believes in entrepreneurship and has been mentoring other business owners through Futurpreneur Canada for the last six years, knowing that providing support and sharing knowledge with others allows everyone to thrive.

“I’m honoured to be chosen for this award – to be given the opportunity to champion mentoring,” said Mary Jane Copps, Founder, The Phone Lady.

“We congratulate Mary Jane on winning the BDC Mentorship Award and salute her efforts to support the new generations of business owners,” said Michel Bergeron, Senior Vice President, Marketing and Public Affairs at BDC.

Read the full BDC Mentorship Award release here.

Winner of the Shopify Grit Award

Intellijoint Surgical, Waterloo ON

Born as a fourth year engineering design project, Intellijoint Surgical successfully commercialized a surgical medical device in the US and Canada. They are disrupting the surgical technology space by creating the new standard of miniature 3D surgical measurement.

“Business owners across this country face countless challenges, and we are humbled and extremely proud to represent the hard work and determination it takes to succeed,” Armen Bakirtzian, Co-Founder and CEO, Intellijoint Surgical Inc.

“Starting a business takes dedication, hustle and a desire to succeed. We’re excited to support the next wave of entrepreneurs, especially the incredibly talented team at Intellijoint Surgical,” said Harley Finkelstein, COO of Shopify.

Read the full Shopify Grit Award media release here.

Winner of the Youth Business International Beyond Borders Award

Bec Soda, Montreal QC

In August 2014, the Bec Soda team launched the very first soda made with maple syrup. Entirely local and certified organic by Aliments du Québec and Ecocert Canada, it is the only organic maple syrup soda in the world.

“We are very proud and honoured to have received the YBI Beyond Borders Award,” said Olivier Dionne, Co-Founder, BEC Soda. “But we are most of all thankful to all of our partners, such as Futurpreneur, who have believed in our dream from day one and have supported us in our goal to conquer the world with our organic soda line. Thank you!”

“The rapid success of the maple syrup Bec Soda and establishment of international distribution is a testament to the quality of the product and the confidence of the Bec Soda team,” said Andrew Devenport, Chief Executive Officer, Youth Business International.

Youth Business International Beyond Borders media release here.

Winner of the RBC Community Partner Award

CEED Centre for Entrepreneurship Education and Development, Halifax NS

CEED has been committed to advancing and supporting the spirit of entrepreneurship in Nova Scotia for more than 20 years. The organization delivers innovative programs and services that empower individuals and communities to achieve their full potential.

“CEED’s vision is that of a vibrant and entrepreneurial Nova Scotia and we are strongly committed to working side-by-side with other like-minded organizations, such as Futurpreneur, to help Nova Scotian’s achieve their dreams,” said Laurie Cameron, President and CEO, CEED.

“Our future will be directly impacted by the energy, enthusiasm and ideas of our youth.  CEED Centre exemplifies how communities can prosper by fostering and supporting young Nova Scotian entrepreneurs,” said Valerie Chort, Vice President, Corporate Citizenship, RBC.

Read the full RBC Community Partner Award media release here.

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About Futurpreneur Canada

Futurpreneur Canada (formerly the Canadian Youth Business Foundation, or CYBF) has been fueling the entrepreneurial passions of Canada’s young enterprise for nearly two decades. We are the only national, non-profit organization that provides financing, mentoring and support tools to aspiring business owners aged 18-39. Our internationally recognized mentoring program hand matches young entrepreneurs with a business expert from a network of more than 2,800 volunteer mentors. Futurpreneur Canada is a founding member of the G20 Young Entrepreneurs’ Alliance, the Canadian member of Youth Business International, and the Canadian host of Global Entrepreneurship Week. staging.futurpreneur.ca. Facebook: Futurpreneur Twitter: @Futurpreneur 

For interview opportunities and media inquiries, please contact:

Meghan Paton
Manager, Public Relations and Social Media
Futurpreneur Canada
416-408-2923 x 2207