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2014 BDC Young Entrepreneur Award winners

Biodegradable and antibacterial beeswax-coated food wrap wins $25,000 prize

The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) last month announced that the project Bee Wrapped, submitted by Toni Desrosiers, founder of Abeego Designs, Inc. in Victoria, B.C., has won $25,000 in BDC consulting services as the runner-up prize in the 2014 BDC Young Entrepreneur Award contest.

Desrosiers’ reusable, biodegradable and antibacterial beeswax-coated fabric food wrap is the practical, environmental alternative to plastic. Her project involves actively pursuing distribution agreements with an environmentally conscious U.S.-based distribution company that will build sales channels by qualifying the best retail partners for the Abeego brand. Her four-step plan includes developing a marketing and promotion strategy, securing a U.S. distributor, and investing in new equipment and manufacturing processes to boost production and quality control. The runner-up prize of $25,000 in consulting services offered by BDC will help move her plan forward.

“We’ve already proven there is a clear market need for Abeego. Now we just need to get our products onto more store shelves south of the border,” says Desrosiers.

“Toni is ready to build on the momentum she has achieved in the Canadian market and firmly plant her flag in the U.S.,” says Michel Bergeron, senior vice-president, marketing and public affairs at BDC. “The runner-up prize will be instrumental in positioning her company as a household name that will empower families to forgo plastic and start to Abeego it.”

“I can’t say enough about the fantastic public support Abeego has received during the contest,” says Desrosiers. “I’d encourage any young business owner to consider taking part in the BDC Young Entrepreneur Award. Becoming a finalist is a great opportunity to benefit from unparalleled business exposure and reach new customers.”

The $100,000 grand prize went to Shep Ysselstein of Woodstock, Ont. for the project Cheese Champs.

Created by the Business Development Bank of Canada in 1988, the BDC Young Entrepreneur Award contest pays tribute to remarkable Canadian entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 and 35. A national committee evaluated the quality of the finalist projects and gave each finalist a ranking that was combined with the public vote.

Nine projects competed for Canada’s votes in the 2014 contest. Each finalist described, via a video submission, a turning point their company had reached as well as their solution to achieve future growth and success:

  •  Toni Desrosiers, Victoria, B.C.;
  •  Devin Goss, Calgary, Alta.;
  •  Nathan Wilhelm, Estevan, Sask.;
  •  Dale Overton, Winnipeg, Man.;
  •  Shep Ysselstein, Woodstock, Ont.;
  •  Louis-Philippe Noel, Quebec City, Que.;
  •  Pat Whalen, Fredericton, N.B.;
  •  Paula MacPherson, Bedford South, N.S.;
  •  Nicole Redvers, Yellowknife, N.W.T.

This announcement first appeared in the July 22, 2014 issue of Grainews

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