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Program Updates

2016 Youth Ventures Award Winners

On August 18th, 2016, Youth Ventures celebrated the 19th Annual Youth Ventures Awards, presented by the CBDC. During this afternoon event, 7 young entrepreneurs were recognized for their excellence throughout the summer program. 2016 was an amazing year for many youth in our province and we’re ecstatic to be part of their entrepreneurial journey. To learn more about the amazing, young entrepreneurs thriving in this province, check out their businesses below!

2016 Venture of the Year

The Mermaid Yogi, St. John’s, NL

Larry Fawcett, Chairperson of the NL Association of CBDCs (Left), Allanah MacNeil, Owner of The Mermaid Yogi (Right)

The winner of the Youth Ventures award for Venture of the Year, sponsored by NL Association of CBDCs, is Allanah MacNeil.

This award is given to the business that was overall the most successful and well established business of that year. This business is quite visible, profitable, well known and the participant usually works full time. The nature of the business usually has the potential for longevity.

Allanah MacNeil is a graduate student in Community Health at the Faculty of Medicine. From a young age Allanah has always been comfortable around children and decided to combine her passion for helping children grow and develop with her love of yoga.

The Mermaid Yogi is a business owned and operated by Allanah that aims to motivate families to get active together in a non-competitive atmosphere from a very young age. Her classes allow people to explore self-expression and learn to control their emotions with relaxation techniques and poses to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Currently, Allanah offers classes in Witless Bay, Paradise, and St. John’s available for infants up to and including adults.

Sponsored by cbdc_logo_large


2016 Excellence in Financial Management

Dimmer’s Dynamic Salon, Marystown, NL

Shane Kennedy, Manager of Consulting, BDC (Left), Jenna Dimmer, Owner of Dimmer’s Dynamic Salon (Right)

The winner of the Youth Ventures award for Excellence in Financial Management, sponsored by BDC – Business Development Bank of Canada, is Jenna Dimmer.

This award is given to a business with outstanding financial record keeping and has run a cost effective business.

Jenna is the owner and operator of Dimmer’s Dynamic Salon, an up and coming Hair Salon that is based on the Burin Peninsula. In 2015 Jenna heard about the Youth Ventures Program and decided to pursue her dream of operating her own hair salon. Jenna is the owner/operator of a salon in Marystown called ‘Dimmer’s Dynamic Salon’. Dimmer’s Dynamic offers a variety of services ranging from cuts (women, men, children), colours, highlights, foils, waxing, manicures, pedicures, gel nails, shellac (fingers and toes), as well as Solarium services.

Jenna is very passionate about what she does, and she aims to go above and beyond to satisfy her clients. Her book keeping abilities since opening her business have been impeccable, which in turn makes for outstanding financial management.

Sponsored bybdc_logo_horiz_rgb

2016 Excellence in Marketing

The PupCakery, Marystown, NL

Kelsey Brennan - The Pupcakery
Jonathan Connors, Manager, Event 3Sixty (Left), Kelsey Brennan, Owner, The Pupcakery (Right)

The winner of the Youth Ventures award for Excellence in Marketing, sponsored by Event 3Sixty, is Kelsey Brennan.

This award will be given to the business that used outstanding marketing to develop the business’s brand. Creativity in attracting customers and determining pricing are examples of excellent marketing initiatives.

Kelsey Brennan is a 20-year-old young woman currently living in Marystown.  Kelsey is the owner/ operator of ‘The Pupcakery’, which specializes in all-natural, gluten-free, vet approved dog treats. Kelsey has had several clients since starting her business, and the demand is continuously growing. With her distinct logo and in-depth knowledge of her target market, Kelsey’s business has been active on social media and at local events throughout the community.

Sponsored by


2016 Outstanding Venture (17 years and under)

Hunter’s Woodworking, St. Alban’s, NL

Michelle Coughlan, Manager, Public Affairs, Newfoundland Power (Left), Hunter Skinner, Owner of Hunter’s Woodworking (Right)

The winner of the Youth Ventures award for Outstanding Venture (17 years and under), sponsored by Newfoundland Power Inc., is Hunter Skinner.

This award goes to a business owned by a youth, 17 years and under, who has experienced significant achievement during the current year and stands out amongst the crowd.

Hunter Skinner is a 15 year old entrepreneur from St. Albans, and the owner of “Hunter’s Woodworking”. At the age of 6 years old, Hunter picked up a hammer, and started helping his father who was building their house. Since then he has undertaken various woodworking projects. Last year, he designed and created his very first wishing well and flower planter, after his mom expressed interest in having one of their own in their front yard.

Fast forward to June 2016 – Hunter has perfected his product, and with the help of Youth Ventures started his own woodworking business. Each wishing well is 5.5 feet tall and created with a consistently high level of skill, and uncompromising quality. Hunter’s Wishing Wells are sturdy, water-sealed and stained (upon request).

Sponsored by NLPower color logo


2016 Excellence in Product Design

Wild Flower Company, Port aux Basques, NL

Justine Anderson, Wild Flower Company
Justine Anderson, Owner of Wild Flower Company (Left), Allison Chislett, Owner of IDesign (Right)

The winner of the Youth Ventures award for Excellence in Product Design, sponsored by I Design Ltd., is Justine Anderson.

This award will be given to a business that shows unique talent in the craft or artistic ability of their product. The ability to create a unique product which is difficult to copy will be regarded highly for this award.

Justine Anderson a creative young woman living in Port aux Basques, Newfoundland. In 2014 Justine started her dreamcatcher company, Wildflower Co., where she handmade and sold her dreamcatchers while going to school. In 2016 Justine joined up with Youth Ventures and opened her own kiosk in the popular Scott’s Cove Park in Port aux Basques. She has expanded into making handmade, organic bath bombs, body butters, and scrubs while still staying true to her roots by continuing with her dreamcatchers.

Sponsored byIDesign Logo


2016 Excellence in Arts and Tourism

Makenna’s Jams & Pies, St. Anthony, NL

Makenna Patey, Owner of Makenna’s Jams & Pies (Left), Dion Finlay, Chairperson of Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador (Right)

The winner of the Youth Ventures award for Excellence in Arts & Tourism, sponsored by Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador, is Makenna Patey.

Businesses eligible for this category delivery a product or service in the visual and performing arts or cater to the culture and tourism industry. Businesses should demonstrate what makes them unique and how they excel in their industry.

Makenna is the owner of Makenna’s Jams & Pies based out of St. Anthony. Makenna started this business after her sister started her business back in 2012. One day her mom had a lot of jams made and there was a lot of bus tours around in the community to see icebergs, so Makenna put out a small table to see if she could sell a few bottles of jam. She soon discovered she had a profitable business when she sold out of jam in only one day. Now she sells to both tourists and locals, and has since expanded her business to include pies as well.

All of Makenna’s products are all homemade, with pies being made using her Nan’s recipe and fresh berries picked in the Bight area or in Codroy Valley. Makenna has been promoting and selling her products at tourist attractions and event all across St. Anthony, with some of her customers being from as far away as Switzerland!

Sponsored by HNL Logo


2016 Excellence in Customer Service

Jessica’s Goodies, Daniel’s Harbour, NL

Jessica House, Owner of Jessica’s Goodies (Left), Dave Rouah, Commercial Account Executive, Wedgwood Insurance (Right)

The winner of the Youth Ventures award for Excellence in Customer Service, sponsored by Wedgwood Insurance Limited, is Jessica House.

This award will go to the business that is outstanding in going over and above what is required in the area of customer service. This business usually promotes customer service as the cornerstone to its success.

Jessica House lives in Daniel’s Harbour. She is 14 years old and will be going to grade 10 at Holy Cross All Grade School in the fall. Jessica has a passion for baking so she decided that she would start a baking business out of her home.

Jessica excels in customer service by ensuring that all of her traditional baked newfie goods are delivered in pristine condition to senior citizens living in her area. She took notice that a lot of seniors in her community needed someone to do baking for them so she decided to start “Jessica’s Goodies.”

 Sponsored bywedgwood


2016 Mentor of the Year

Jennifer Bennett, Placentia, NL

Colin Holloway, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister, Department of Business, Tourism, Culture and Rural Development (Left), Jennifer Bennett, Mentor of the Year (Right)

The winner of the Youth Ventures award for Mentor of the Year, sponsored by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, is Jennifer Bennett.

This award is presented to a mentor in the program who has gone above and beyond to assist youth within the community by providing advice and guidance on how to start and run a business.

Jennifer is the Executive Director of the Community Youth Network in Placentia as well as the Allied Youth Post Adviser. Jennifer has been an asset to Youth Ventures for a number of years and has helped bridged the gap between the Youth Venture Coordinator in Placentia and the kids in the area by encouraging them to be involved with the program. Jennifer has devoted her life to helping youth and connecting them to the community.

Sponsored by NL Government Logo


2016 Star Coordinator

Vanessa Strugnell, Port Hope Simpson, NL

Stan Reid, Past Chairperson of the NL Association of CBDCs (Left), Vanessa Strugnell, Star Coordinator, (Right)

The winner of the Youth Ventures award for Star Coordinator is Vanessa Strugnell.

During Vanessa’s time as coordinator for Southern Labrador with the Labrador Straits Community Youth Network, she has gone above and beyond for her participants. Vanessa is always eager to help her participants with whatever they may need and has been enthusiastic about her role in helping youth since day one.


Thank you!

The Youth Ventures Program is made possible through the financial support of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, as well as the 22 delivery sites and the corporate sponsors mentioned above. 2016 has been an incredible year for the program and we’re excited about what the future holds.

Thank you to everyone who has supported the program and if you’re interested in finding out more information, please email

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