VICTORIA, BC, May 29, 2014 /CNW Telbec/ - The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) announced today that the turning-point project, "Bee Wrapped," submitted by local businesswoman Toni Desrosiers, will represent British Columbia in the finals of the 2014 BDC Young Entrepreneur Award (BDC YEA).
Toni's project will see her company, Abeego Designs Inc., expand into the U.S. market to develop a solid, easy recognizable brand for her "beeswax wrap that keeps food fresh". To claim the $100,000 Grand Prize and actively expand her brand into the U.S. market, Toni needs votes from Canadians coast-to-coast.
Abeego has people buzzing about food wrap. This all-natural product is a quality alternative to conventional plastic food wraps. Whereas plastic wrap has been around since the 60s, cultures around the world have been relying on beeswax, jojoba oil, tree resin, cotton and hemp for thousands of years to store food and preserve its freshness.
"We are inspired by nature, and we believe natural materials are ideal for keeping food fresh," says Toni. "This is not a second-rate natural version of plastic. Abeego is versatile, flexible, reusable and biodegradable. Unlike plastic, it allows food to breathe, keeping it fresh and preserving natural flavours to create less food waste."
Abeego is a natural solution to a natural problem. This message has resonated with consumers, particularly middle-class mothers in search of environmentally sustainable alternatives who have been early adopters of the brand. Demand for the product is constantly increasing – Abeego is now responding to three to five wholesale requests a week from independent stores and small retail chains.
Toni has plans to make Abeego part of our pop culture with the phrase "Abeego It" by actively pursuing distribution agreements with larger retail chains across North America. She has a four-part plan to make this expansion happen, including a marketing and promotion strategy and investments in new equipment and manufacturing processes that will see the company quadruple production and reduce product defects.
"Each of this year's finalists has shared a compelling story about how their business stands at that crucial crossroads where the right mix of vision and action can secure future growth and success," says Michel Bergeron, Senior Vice President, Marketing and Public Affairs at BDC. "Toni has proven how an entrepreneurial vision supported by a passion for sustainability can carry a startup a long way. Her business is now ready to take its next big step."
"I've never talked to a single person who's happy about using plastic food wrap," says Toni. "Whenever we can get in front of people and demonstrate Abeego, they realize they do have a better choice. Please vote for our project –a vote for Abeego is a vote for a sustainable Canadian invention that uses all natural materials to reduce our reliance on plastic."
Voting for the 2014 BDC Young Entrepreneur Award contest runs from May 29 to June 12 at noon EST. To support your favourite project, log into the contest website and vote once a day. Follow the contest through updates on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Visit bdc.ca/awards to learn other ways in which BDC recognizes Canadian entrepreneurs. The BDC Young Entrepreneur Award winner and runner-up will be announced on June 18. The runner-up will receive $25,000 in consulting services offered by BDC.
About the BDC Young Entrepreneur Award contest
Created by the Business Development Bank of Canada in 1988, the BDC Young Entrepreneur Award contest pays tribute to remarkable Canadian entrepreneurs between 18 and 35. This year, nine finalists were selected to compete for a $100,000 Grand Prize. A second prize of $25,000 in consulting services offered by BDC will be awarded to the contest runner-up. For the first time in 2014, a national committee evaluated the quality of the finalist projects and gave each finalist a ranking that will be combined with the public vote. The national committee evaluation was weighted to account for 30% of each project's final ranking and the public vote will account for the remaining 70% of the ranking. www.bdc.ca/yea.
Canada's business development bank, BDC puts entrepreneurs first. With almost 2,000 employees and more than 100 business centres across the country, BDC offers financing, subordinate financing, venture capital, securitization and consulting services to more than 28,000 small and medium-sized companies. Their success is vital to Canada's economic prosperity.
SOURCE: Business Development Bank of Canada
For further information: Maria Constantinescu, Senior Advisor, Public Relations, BDC, [email protected], (514) 496-7146