Whelan, President and CEO of Seafair Capital Inc., was named Entrepreneur of the Year for Atlantic Canada. Seafair is a diversified investment firm that has backed nine companies that together employ more than 700 people. The fund aims to unlock the potential in existing businesses and on acquiring medium-sized companies in related sectors that are ready to explore their next stage of growth.
Three members of the UNB startup community claimed awards -- Dhirendra Shukla, the head of UNB’s Technology, Management and Entrepreneurship program; Ali Ghorbani, the Canada Research Chair in Cybersecurity and the Dean of Computer Science; and entrepreneur Jordan Kennie, a Co-Founder of Stash Energy of Fredericton.
Startup Canada, the national organization promoting entrepreneurship, each year holds regional awards across the country. The 10 Atlantic Canadian winners will now compete for the national awards, which will be announced in Ottawa on Oct. 19.
“This is tremendous and well-deserved recognition for all three of these innovators at the University of New Brunswick,” said UNB President Eddy Campbell in a statement. “We’re so very proud of Jordan, who has proven his mettle through the Summer Institute at UNB as well as our diploma and master’s programs in technology management and entrepreneurship. On top of all that, he earned a place as one of the first to be accepted into our new Energia Ventures accelerator.”
Kennie won the Young Entrepreneur Award for launching the company Stash Energy, which has developed cost-effective energy storage technology. Ghorbani, who is a serial entrepreneur as well as holding a range of academic posts, won the Senior Entrepreneur Award for founding the social media monitoring company Eyesover.
Shukla won the Entrepreneur Promotion Award for his role in founding the Energia Ventures accelerator.
“It really is a nice nod to the hard work and determination of a number of people here at the University of New Brunswick who are so passionate about entrepreneurship,” said Shukla in an email. “I’m thrilled that Energia, in particular, is being recognized. It’s been less than a year since we launched and we’re flying high.”
The Acadia Entrepreneurship Centre, at Acadia University in Wolfville, won the regional award for Entrepreneur Support. With a focus on entrepreneurship in rural areas, the AEC has been delivering workshops for business professionals, entrepreneurs, and not-for-profits for over 28 years.
The winner of the Innovation Award for Atlantic Canada is BlueLight Analytics, the Halifax company that helps dentists ensure they are using just the right amount of energy when curing the resin in fillings.
B4checkin Inc., the Halifax company that provides cloud-based software to the hospitality industry, won the award for High-Growth Entrepreneurship.
Christina Dove, St. John’s, Owner of the Newfoundland Chocolate Company, won the Woman Entrepreneurship Award. Bibilyn Designs Inc., Shippagan, N.B., won the Social Enterprise Award; Bibilyn is a fashion company that donates a portion of its sales to combatting domestic violence. And Remsoft, the Fredericton company that makes software for the forestry industry, captured the Global Entrepreneurship Award.
The regional winners will now be evaluated by the National Adjudication Committee, comprising some of Canada’s leading entrepreneurship and industry experts. The national awards ceremony will take place in conjunction with Startup Canada Day on the Hill, in which the startup community gathers on Parliament Hill to promote entrepreneurship.