Kimberley Dunphy came away from the 21st annual Youth Venture Ceremony with the venture of the year award for her shop KMD Designs.
The Carbonear-based shop and online store offers a selection of handcrafted and personalized gifts such as wine glasses, makeup brush holders, tumblers, water bottles and savings jars.
The top honour, sponsored by the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Community Business Development Corporations (CBDC), is presented to the business that is deemed the most successful and well-established business of the year. The winning business is visible, profitable and well-known, and usually provides the proprietor with full-time employment.
Dunphy opened the shop last July and currently has over 16,000 followers on its Facebook page.
Trepassey’s Virginia McNeil claimed the mentor of the year award, presented to a person from the community who’s shown tremendous support to one or more program participants.
Gary Noseworthy of Carbonear, meanwhile, won the star co-ordinator honours, awarded to one of 26 site co-ordinators that displayed initiative and outstanding effort in delivering the program in their community.
Over the last 26 years, the Youth Ventures Program has helped 7,000 entrepreneurs start 4,350 business by providing advice on business planning, finances, marketing, human resources and much more.
“We need to allow youth to think creatively in order to better prepare them for the unknown jobs of tomorrow. The Youth Ventures Program is a safe space to try out a new idea, take a risk and learn financial responsibility,” said Roseanne Leonard, managing director of the province’s association of CBDCs. “We are trying to foster an ecosystem that will enable youth to thrive in business.”
This year’s program is funded largely through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) to the tune of over $425,000, with the province kicking in close to $100,000 of additional funding.
The awards were presented Thursday afternoon at the Manuels River Interpretation Centre in Conception Bay South.
Other entrepreneurial award winners Thursday were (with award sponsors in parentheses):
Excellence in Financial Management (BDC)
Matthew Lawrence, TutorNL, Conception Bay South
Excellence in Marketing (Commonwealth Pharmasave)
Justine Anderson, Wildflower Company, Port aux Basques
Trailblazer of the Year (iDesign)
Micah Sacrey, Jonathan Sacrey, 3D Portrait Prints, Stephenville
Outstanding Venture 17-and-under, (Newfoundland Power)
Dariya Sooley, Bills & Beaks, Trepassey
Excellence in Arts & Tourism (Hospitality NL)
Logan Humby, Logan’s Bergy Bits, St. Lunaire-Griquet
Excellence in Customer Service (Jungle Jim’s)
Alyssa Barrett and Karlie Squires, A&K Candy Boutique, Old Perlican