Real Food Market takes the runner-up prize in the 2015 BDC Young Entrepreneur Award

Newfoundland and Labrador's champion for healthy eating wins $25,000 in consulting services from BDC

ST. JOHN'S, NL, June 22, 2015 /CNW/ - The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) today announced that the turning point project Farm to Table, submitted by Melissa Butler, owner of the Real Food Market in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, has taken the runner-up prize in the 2015 BDC Young Entrepreneur Award contest.

Melissa is tackling poor health one customer at a time in a province with the highest rates of obesity and related illness in the country. She retails fresh organic produce, organic and grass-fed meats, wild fish, vegan and vegetarian foods, and gluten-free options at her store and home-delivery business. But with the province's short growing season, and the challenges of shipping from the mainland, sourcing fresh produce year-round remains a challenge. Melissa wants to engage in multi-step effort to create a sustainable food system on the island.

"It's been a great experience just to take part in this contest as a finalist," says Melissa. "The support we've seen has been incredible, from friends, family and customers to local celebrities and even strangers from outside the province. It proves there is a need for such a project, a market for it, as Newfoundlanders are eager to improve their health and secure the island's food supply."

"Being a finalist in the BDC Young Entrepreneur Award contest is an invaluable business development and brand-building opportunity and I congratulate Melissa on her win," says Michel Bergeron, Senior Vice President, Marketing and Public Affairs at BDC. "She's working to find a practical way to create a sustainable, year-around organic food system in her province and our consulting services will certainly help her move forward."

"This has been a fantastic experience for the Real Food Market team and we deeply appreciate all the community support," says Melissa. "With BDC's help, we'll get to work on a public education program about healthier food choices, partner with local greenhouse operations to setup year-round organic vegetable production, and invest in better food preservation options."

The winner of the BDC Young Entrepreneur Award $100,000 grand prize is the project Bionic Boost, submitted by Chris Cowper-Smith and Bob Garrish of Spring Loaded Technology in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

About the 2015 BDC Young Entrepreneur Award finalists

Ten projects competed for Canada's votes in the 2015 BDC Young Entrepreneur Award contest. Between June 3 and June 17, Canadians were invited to visit the contest website and vote for their favourite finalists. Each finalist described, via a video submission, a turning point their company had reached as well as their solution to achieve future growth and success:

  • Freshly Baked, Silvia Martinelli Waqued, 31, S&B Gluten Free Inc. (Otimo Brazilian Cheese Puffs), Maple Ridge, British Columbia
  • Market Fresh, Vanessa Salopek, 28, Market Restaurant (Market Eatery Inc.), Calgary, Alberta
  • Eco Thrills, Jori Kirk, 33, Cypress Hills Eco-Adventures Ltd., Maple Creek, Saskatchewan
  • Top Dog, Laurel Skuba, 31, The Pawsh Dog Inc., Winnipeg, Manitoba
  • Advanced Manufacturing, Matt Rendall, 31, Clearpath Robotics Inc., Kitchener, Ontario
  • To the Test, Olivier Marcotte, 33, Nucleom, Quebec City, Quebec
  • Curb Appeal, Phillip Curley, 23, HotSpot Parking, Fredericton, New Brunswick
  • Bionic Boost, Chris Cowper-Smith and Bob Garrish, 30, Spring Loaded Technology, Halifax, Nova Scotia
  • Farm to Table, Melissa Butler, 34, Real Food Market, St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Oyster Rush, Martin O'Brien, 29, Cascumpec Bay Oyster Company Ltd., O'Leary, Prince Edward Island

About the 2015 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 years of age. Ten finalists were selected to compete for a $100,000 grand prize. A second prize of $25,000 in consulting services is awarded to the contest runner-up. A national committee evaluated the quality of the finalist projects and gave each finalist a ranking that was combined with the public vote. In 2015, the national committee evaluation was weighted to account for 50% of each project's final ranking, and the public vote accounted for the remaining 50% of the ranking.

About BDC

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 loans, consulting services,growth and business transition capital, securitization, as well as venture capital to more than 30,000 small and medium-sized companies. Their success is vital to Canada's economic prosperity. To learn more, please visit


SOURCE Business Development Bank of Canada

For further information: Contact : Maria Constantinescu, Senior Advisor, Public Relations, BDC,, (514) 496-7146


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