Yellowknife commends entrepreneurial excellence with 2014 Business Gala Awards

Yellowknife commends entrepreneurial excellence with 2014 Business Gala Awards
Award winners at the Yellowknife Chamber of Commerce Business Gala Awards show off their blown-glass trophies, created by local artisans at Old Town Glassworks.Photo: Courtesy of Yellowknife Chamber of Commerce.

In a celebratory end to national Small Business Week, members of Yellowknife’s corporate community got glitzy for the annual Business Gala Awards, held the evening of Oct. 24.

The Yellowknife Chamber of Commerce recognized a wide variety of organizations at this year’s celebrations, handing out blown-glass trophies made by Old Town Glassworks to doctors, engineers, hardware store owners, fitness gurus and environmental stewards. Here are some of the highlights.

Peoples’ Choice Award: Erasmus Apparel

Residents of Yellowknife cast their votes and gave trendy outfitter Erasmus Apparel this year’s coveted People’s Choice Award.

Since 2011, owner Sarah Erasmus has strived to build her clothing company, where she sells comfortable, custom-printed apparel with iconic images from the territory, from the looming figure of the Robertson Headframe to the dainty stylings of traditionally beaded flowers.

Before officially winning the hearts of the people, the budding entrepreneur received the Economic Developer of the Year from the Council for the Advancement of Native Development Officers (CANDO) for her business acumen in 2013.

As a gracious “thanks” to fans that voted for her company, Erasmus held a 20 percent-off sale the day following the awards.

Aboriginal Business of the Year: Denendeh Investments Inc.

For years, Denendeh Investments Inc. (DII) has helped the First Nations of the NWT develop economic independence by fostering profitable business ventures.

Partnering with Gwich’in, Sahtu, Dehcho, Tlicho, Akaitcho and Denendeh Development Corp., DII has cultivated business relationships with representatives from 27 of the NWT’s communities.

Headed by CEO Darrell Beaulieu, DII started as an exploratory mining operation. Now, the company has expanded to help Dene peoples become economically self-sufficient, and aims to get their partner communities involved in a diverse array of major infrastructure, housing and resource development projects in the territory.

These leaders in business are constantly on the lookout for new opportunities for their partners, a dynamic goal that led them to receiving the award for Aboriginal Business of the Year.

Breakout New Business of the Year: EDGE YK

Since 2011, Edge YK Magazine has brought Northerners in-depth coverage of all things Yellowknife, including daily happenings in the Legislative Assembly and city council, traditional aspects of life on the land, new industrial and resource developments and what’s up and coming on the local arts and culture scene.

They hit their stride this year, launching a new subscription-based website to accompany their free magazine, which is distributed six times annually. The new site has been declared a success, receiving tonnes of positive feedback on social media.

EDGE YK strives to interact with its readers, most recently running a spooktacular Face Off: Halloween photo contest with submissions from the seven regions of the NWT, followed by a festive shindig at the Elks Club on Nov. 1.

Bringing together some of the most talented writers, photographers and visual artists from the territory, the mag shares the best and the worst aspects of one of the most unique cities in the country in full colour.

Corporation of the Year: KBL Environmental

Relentlessly helping Yellowknife become a greener community, KBL Environmental received a top nod from the city’s Chamber of Commerce as Corporation of the Year.

With a mission to “protect social and corporate sustainable development in unique environments,” the Yellowknife extension of the national company provides its customers with waste management services and systems for a range of sectors, including oil and gas, mining, exploration, government, industrial and commercial.

By providing top-quality waste management support, KBL Environmental prides itself on protecting its customers from liability issues, while simultaneously protecting the environment from unnecessary damage.
KBL Environmental previously received accolades when the territorial Chamber of Commerce named it the NWT Business of the Year in 2013.

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