Modern Earth Inc. goes above and beyond - Dan Belhassen wins BDC's Young Entrepreneur Award for Manitoba



    WINNIPEG, Oct. 16 /CNW Telbec/ - ModernEarth.net's groundbreaking
approach to web development is helping customers around the world stand out in
the marketplace. Founded in 1999 by Dan Belhassen, the company today employs
15 people, and is growing at a rate of 25% per year. For his success, Dan, 33,
has earned BDC's Young Entrepreneur Award for Manitoba and will be honoured
tonight at a ceremony in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
    "Most web design companies are either technical in nature or artistic,"
says Dan. "What makes us distinct is the fact that we are both. Our in-house
production team consists of programmers and graphic designers. We have an
active R&D division, in-house online marketing expertise and content
development services. We are equipped to take on complex projects and deliver
a solution that works well, is intuitive to use and attractive."
    Among its unique services, Modern Earth has introduced an e-mail
marketing system, greatBIGnews.com, which is endorsed by LERN, an association
of colleges, universities and recreation departments throughout North America,
as well as ACTA, the leading associations for travel agents in North America.
Its products also include the PointAndEdit.com website updating system,
LOCALcourses.com, an online registration system for continuing education
course providers and TouchlessTickets.com, a secure online ticket sales
service. The company counts some 400 clients, with most based in North America
and others as far afield as Australia, the United Kingdom and the Caribbean.

    Taking it further

    Dan started Modern Earth as a "hobby business" while working full-time
for a software company. When he tried to register his daughter online for
Highland Dancing lessons and discovered there was no such service, he
developed an online registration system himself and had soon sold it to
continuing education providers in Winnipeg. Recognizing the potential value of
a "different type" of Internet company, he seized the opportunity to turn his
hobby into a full-fledged business. As Modern Earth continued to grow, Dan
acquired a company in Winnipeg and has purchased a multi-tenant building which
he has named the Modern Earth Business Centre. "We'd like to spin off some of
our products into their own companies," explains Dan of his plans for the
future.
    Dan emphasizes that his team is key to Modern Earth's success. "What I
look for is raw talent and people who are really passionate about what they
do. If they have those things, they can learn the rest," says Dan. "The team
is a real competitive advantage." Modern Earth is also active in the
community, providing support for non-profit organizations with services such
as website design. Dan also serves as a board member of the Manitoba Marketing
Network (mmn.mb.ca), which mentors people who are starting new businesses.
    "Dan is to be congratulated for his remarkable success. He is making his
mark with innovative services that integrate technology with creativity and
respond to a need in the marketplace," says BDC President and CEO Jean-René
Halde.
    "Our motto is 'eclipse the ordinary'," points out Dan. "We like to
surprise our clients by doing something that they didn't think was possible or
making it something better than they thought it could be. We're changing this
industry - for the better."

    Young entrepreneurs in the spotlight

    BDC's Young Entrepreneur Awards are a highlight of Small Business Week,
providing the opportunity to honour the entrepreneurial spirit and business
success of Canadians between the ages of 19 and 35. Winners from each province
and territory are selected by a panel based on the originality of their
business concept, its success, growth potential and their community
involvement. The panel also considers the entrepreneur's age when the business
was started and any special challenges that had to be faced.

    Small Business Week partners

    Contributing to the success of this year's Small Business Week and Young
Entrepreneur Awards are the following national sponsors: Western Economic
Diversification Canada, Export Development Canada and Rogers. Privileged
partners are the Pan Canadian Community Futures Group and the Canadian Chamber
of Commerce, which has been a privileged partner of the event since 1981.

    About BDC

    BDC is a financial institution wholly owned by the Government of Canada.
BDC actively supports the development and growth of Canadian small and
medium-sized businesses through its complementary financial, investment and
consulting solutions. BDC is one of Canada's Top 100 Employers for 2008. Visit
www.bdc.ca for more information.
    Small Business Week is a registered trademark of BDC.




For further information:

For further information: Or to arrange for an interview on October 16:
Media Room: 1-866-515-6033, (204) 985-6251; After October 16: Johanne
Bissonnette, Media Relations Manager, (514) 283-7929


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