Rise Asset Development Celebrates Entrepreneurial Achievement with Annual Garfinkel Awards and Announces New Volunteer Award

TORONTO, May 3, 2017 /CNW/ - Today, Rise Asset Development announced the winners of the fifth annual Dr. Paul E. Garfinkel Awards for Entrepreneurial Achievement and a new volunteer award in the name of the Honourable Michael Wilson, Chancellor of The University of Toronto. 

"We are grateful to our presenting sponsors, Bell Let's Talk and the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), for their support as we continue to reduce the stigma associated with mental health issues by focusing on the incredible talent of Canada's aspiring entrepreneurs," said Jodi Butts, CEO of Rise. "This year, we present a new volunteer award in recognition of the Honourable Michael Wilson's recent Rotman Lifetime Achievement Award."

"Bell Let's Talk congratulates this year's Garfinkel Awards winners and is very proud to support these talented entrepreneurs through the Rise program," said Mary Deacon, Chair of Bell Let's Talk. "Helping people who live with mental health challenges access support to start their own businesses is critically important to improving their quality of life."

"We're delighted to be working with Rise," said Craig Ryan, Director, Social Entrepreneurship at BDC. "Rise fulfills a singularly important role. As Canada's only bank devoted exclusively to entrepreneurs, we of course want to see its clients succeed."

Garfinkel Award Winners
The Garfinkel Awards recognize the outstanding personal and business achievements of people who have received support through Rise. The Awards also acknowledge the leadership and inspiring contributions of Dr. Paul E. Garfinkel, through his role as founding President and CEO of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and his leading role in the advocacy for psychiatric science and reducing the stigma associated with mental health challenges and addictions.

Rise's EnterpRISEr of the Year Award 
Darren Leu of Darren Christopher Projects in Toronto, is a OCADU graduate who runs an artist's hub which rents space to local artists and to groups for events, exhibitions and workshops. Darren credits Rise's training, mentoring and small business loans with the successful growth his business has enjoyed.

RISE-ing Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award
Julie Riemersma, a graduate of Humber College's Creative Photography program, is the owner of Julie Riemersma Photography (JRP), a photography studio specializing in portraiture and fashion book photography. Since the business's inception in 2009, Julie has been building her client base and fashion portfolio while continuing to hone her skills.

The Shoppers Love. You. Female Entrepreneur Award
Mary Whitaker is the owner of London, Ontario-based Rite Careers, a career services company providing career transition, development and progression support. The business offers career assessments, prepares professional resumes and cover letters, conducts mock interviews, and supports outplacements.

The Honourable Michael H. Wilson Rise Volunteer Award was presented to Mr. Bernard Lewis, a long-serving and dedicated mentor and advisor for Rise.

About Rise
Rise provides low interest small business loans and mentorship to men and women living with mental illness and addictions who are interested in pursuing self-employment but are unable to obtain traditional financing. The Rotman School of Management and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health participate in advisory functions, lending their respective expertise for business mentoring and mental health supports and services to the benefit of Rise clients. Rise is supported by founding donor Sandra Rotman, the Government of Ontario and impact donors: RBC Foundation, Bell Let's Talk and Janis Rotman. Rise is online at www.riseassetdevelopment.com.

About Bell Let's Talk
The Bell Let's Talk initiative promotes Canadian mental health with national awareness and anti-stigma campaigns, like Bell Let's Talk Day, and provides significant Bell funding for community care and access, research and workplace initiatives. To learn more, please visit Bell.ca/LetsTalk.

About BDC
BDC is the only bank devoted exclusively to entrepreneurs. It promotes Canadian entrepreneurship with a focus on small and medium-sized businesses. With its 110+ business centres from coast to coast, BDC provides businesses in all industries with financing and advisory services. Its investment arm, BDC Capital, offers equity, venture capital and flexible growth and transition capital solutions. To find out more, visit bdc.ca.

SOURCE Rise Asset Development

For further information: Jodi L.H. Butts, Executive Director, Rise Asset Development, Supporting business growth. Investing in people., 105 St. George Street, Toronto, ON M5S 3E6, 416-978-5530, jodi@riseassetdevelopment.ca, www.riseassetdevelopment.com

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