The 16th annual Entrepreneur of the Year Awards gala, which took place on Wednesday, October 30th at the Sheraton Hotel Newfoundland in St. John’s, was the most glamorous yet. This year, winners and guests were invited to walk a red carpet and make an entrance akin to that of a major Hollywood awards show.
As they arrived, guests were directed beyond the velvet rope to the networking area, where they were greeted by some of our gracious staff. Once inside, bulbs were flashing, cameras were rolling and the room was abuzz with excitement.
Guests could choose to strut their stuff on the red carpet and have a snap taken against the NLOWE backdrop by our resident paparazzo, Denise Dunne.
We even picked up some more paparazzi throughout the night with many snapping their own pics of the red carpet as well.
Those who were adventurous could step up to the mic and be interviewed by our Red Carpet Correspondent, Marguerite. Each interview was broadcast live on the big screens in the main ballroom. Interviewees included board members, past award winners, nominees, corporate guests, and entrepreneurs, to name a few. Guests were lining up for their chance to be interviewed by Marguerite, who was never at a loss for words. In fact, if we hadn’t started ushering guests into the ballroom, I think that line would have lasted all night!
The ballroom was equally as grand as the networking area, with a 50 ft red carpet running down the center of the room to the stage. As everyone took their seats, NLOWE’s Board President, Paulette Fudge welcomed the nearly 250 attendees and we enjoyed a delicious meal served by the courteous staff of the Sheraton. As dessert was served, emcee, Amy House, made her first appearance of the night (she had been held up by Marguerite on the red carpet J).
We were so pleased to have Premier Kathy Dunderdale attend our gala again this year. She was welcomed to the stage to bring greetings on behalf of the province. She made note of the many contributions that women have made in Newfoundland and Labrador and the important work of NLOWE to advance women entrepreneurs throughout the province.
Karen Skinner, Director of Enterprise Development with the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) also took to the stage to congratulate the award winners and recognize the outstanding women entrepreneurs in the room.
Then it was time for the reason for all the glitz and glamour of the evening, the presentation of the 2013 Entrepreneur of the Year Awards. Each award sponsor introduced a short video of the winner prior to presenting the award. This was our chance to see these entrepreneurs at work and get to know their businesses and their passions. If you didn’t get a chance to see these videos at the gala, then be sure to check them out on our YouTube channel.
Everyone had their turn in the limelight that evening on the red carpet, but it was evident who this night was really about. As each winner’s name was announced, the spotlight shone and the music played as she made her way to the stage on a red carpet all to herself. Each winner had her chance to speak, as she accepted her award, and they all had great things to say about their journey as women business owners and the honour of being recognized in this way.
Susan Power of Higher Talent Inc. took home the Newfoundland and Labrador Credit Union Start-up Award; Lisa Gillam of Munchkin Music Factory received the Scotiabank Innovation Award; the Community Impact Award, sponsored by Hebron, went to Bev Moore-Davis of the Morvis Group of Companies; FIT For Work’s Sharon Horan was honoured with the Visionary Award, sponsored by Cox & Palmer; Amanda Burton of Recipe for Health won the College of the North Atlantic Youth Entrepreneur of the Year Award; and the final award of the evening, the Entrepreneurial Excellence Award sponsored by Royal Bank of Canada, went to Anne Whelan of Seafair Capital Inc.
Following the gala, each award winner had time to herself on the red carpet to capture the moment with award in hand.
It was an evening of bright lights and shining stars. Congratulations to the 2013 Entrepreneur of the Year Award winners and all of the nominees.
Julieanne Reddy is the Marketing & Communications Coordinator with NLOWE. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.