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PARO Centre for Women's

PARO Centre for Women’s Enterprise Awards Female Entrepreneurs

by Scott A. Sumner
   PARO Centre for Women’s Enterprise recognized ten outstanding female entrepreneurs at the organization’s annual Enterprising Women Awards. The Awards were part of a full-day business education event, dedicated to connecting current and future enterprising women with pertinent
industry information, networking opportunities, and mentorship sessions to strengthen regional small business.

The 2015 Enterprising Women Awards recipients are as follows:

New Business of the Year -  Kerry Berlinquette, Breakwater Taphouse

Established Business of the Year - Maggie Chicoine, The Idea Sculptor

Business with 5+ Employees - Jennifer Biron, The Redhead and The Chef

Young Entrepreneur - Liesl Orford, Pie.ology

Social Entrepreneur - Veronica Fummerton, Freedom Recreation

Aboriginal Entrepreneur  - Sandi Boucher, Traditionally Speaking

Francophone Entrepreneur - Zoe Arsenault, Superior Kinesiology

PARO Volunteer of the Year - Patricia Dellacceca

PARO Circle of the Year - Kat Keeping, SouLynx

PARO Building Bridges of the Year - Pat Newman, White Owl Unique Crafts

“I think some people envision women entrepreneurs as making mittens and muffins, but this isn’t the case. These are women who have founded and are running successful, innovative businesses and organizations that are keeping their rural communities alive,” says Rosalind Lockyer, PARO Founder and Executive Director. “These women are creating positive change across Northern Ontario: promoting the success of their communities, the empowerment of women, and economic development throughout the region. They’re finding every way they can to make the North a better place to live.”
Through the Enterprising Women Awards, PARO hopes to impart one main sentiment: inspiration.  “As we have seen tonight, enterprising women are every age, every culture, every background, and they have all worked hard to achieve their goals,” says Lockyer. “They are an
integral part of our community and our economy. Despite the unique challenges women entrepreneurs face, these enterprising women have thrived and PARO hopes everyone leaves feeling the inspiration that is all around us tonight.”
 Rosalind Lockyer
  “Every  year we do the Enterprising Women Awards at PARO. It is a learning event, an opportunity to get together, network and learn  news skills. Today  the entrepreneurs will be meeting with mentors to ask any specific questions. That is a really important part of the event.
We have workshops, one on marketing and one on setting up social enterprise.”
  “This year our keynote speaker was the top game changer for CBC’s Dragon Den, Barbara Stegemann. She is CEO of 7 Virtues Beauty,  which is a beauty company that uses oil from war torn countries. She is working to help farmers that live in war torn countries to have a good
livelihood  selling poppies. She has  also written a book for women and is a great speaker we can learn a lot from.”
  “ It is a challenge marketing your business in today’s world with so many media choices. We find acknowledging the women’s success is a way for them to become visible and can help them build their business even further and highlite the wonderful contribution women make to the
  “ Our growth at PARO has been strong and constant. We operate from Fort Frances in the west to North Bay and South to Huntsville and then to the northern communities so it is a massive geography to cover. We slowly developed the infrastructure to do that. We have our main
office, two satellite offices and the PARO vans to do the work.  We have  our staff and hire some of the businesses we have worked with previously.  We use video conferencing, web streaming to get out to the women on a constant basis. We have 21 MOU’s future development
  “ It is our 21st year. We have a great group of women that work at PARO. It is a mission, my lifes work and joy. I meet challenges as they come. My dream team have clocked over 61,000 km this year, an average of 246 km a day, which is challenge in the north and our team need all
the rewards. In some places we are the only source of business development the women have. Women have family responsibilities as well and that is why we go to them and it has been part of our success.”
Barbara Stegemann lives in Nova Scotia and founded the 7 Virtues  trades company that makes perfume and  sources fair trade essential  oils from countries that have experienced strife like Afghanistan. It is available in all the Bay stores across Canada and around the world.
She won on the Dragons Den and the viewers voted us Top Game Changer, a
company that is changing the world.
  “ Social Enterprise is my philosophy to give people  their dignity and empowerment to help to fix people problems. I was raised by a single mom on welfare in rural Nova Scotia and know  what is was like to be judged. There are a few lovely people who have high expectations for
you  and make you want to rise up to them. My job is now to swing the doors open for others. I hope others can learn that challenges are their opportunity. You will have obstacles, but you are built for it and never given more than you can handle. I want people to leave with
that understanding.”
  “ I draw from ethics and basic philosophy, say wonder instead of judgement by Plato. You are curious and ask good questions finding new solutions.”

   “ Being an entrepreneur is everything that I am. My son is apprenticing with us now, I want my daughter to be my  lawyer one day and my husband had a car dealership and has been a mentor.  I can  be with my family all the time which is very important to me. It is seamless in everything we do. I was giving talks long before my fragrance company began. My favourite thing is to give my story.”

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