Young Entrepreneur Award

Nomination for 2023 Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards

Hey everyone! It’s Hope here!

I am honoured to have been nominated and selected as a finalist for the category of Young Entrepreneur Award by the North Vancouver Chamber of Commerce.

While I am grateful for the opportunity to be lifted up and recognized by the welcoming business community here in North Vancouver, I am so overwhelmed with excitement to see that all of the finalists (keep reading to find out more) are people who identify as female and are solopreneurs! I wasn’t surprised to read recently in The Globe and Mail that North Vancouver was recognized as 5th place for the most livable city and also as a top spot for entrepreneurs. I am grateful every day for the lifestyle that I can have in this community, for the amount of walkable spaces and community events I can enjoy, with an amazing access to nature in the wild mountains surrounding the city.

Congratulations to all of the incredible businesses and non profits that were nominated for the 2023 Chamber of Commerce Excellence Awards!

About the 2023 Business Excellence Awards

The North Vancouver Chamber is proud to celebrate local businesses and organization that go above and beyond in their commitment to business excellence each year. The Business Excellence Awards is an annual recognition of these successful businesses and their contributions to our economy and passion for the North Vancouver community.  

About the Young Entrepreneur Award

The Young Entrepreneur Award is presented to a North Vancouver business person, under 40 years of age, who excels in business, exemplifies leadership and exhibits strong entrepreneurial skills demonstrated by:

  • Exceptional initiative to assume the risk of establishing a new business
  • Utilization of business skills necessary for long-term success
  • Progressive growth within new and/or prevailing markets
  • Dedication and community to our community through their interest in leadership, peer mentoring, inclusion, and personal achievement
  • Extends community support above and beyond their business or professional responsibilities

The Young Entrepreneur Award was presented by event sponsor, Quay North Urban Development.

Check out the 2023 event program

Meet The Finalists

Ava Maria Safai, The Harlequin Theatre Society

Ava Maria is the Artistic Director for The Harlequin Theatre Society which spearheads film and theatrical productions to assist underrepresented and emerging artists in developing their portfolios. Going from managing six artists to over 100 on one given day in a unique challenge and one that Ava Maria has risen to. The Harlequin Theatre Society was founded with $0 to kickstart it, and Ava Maria relied heavily on Indiegogo campaigns to prove that they deserved additional funding. Her key initiative was creating the Harlequin Incubator, which directly mentors 6-8 actor/writers each year and turns their co-written scripts into a large-scale production every August. Ava Maria has committed over 1000 volunteer hours to ensure that these projects get made.

Devon Hamidi-Kirchner, Windsor Meats Ltd

Devon is the General Manager and part owner of Windsor Meats Ltd. – a retail butcher and grocer that provides high quality, sustainably raised meat as well as a large selection of both local and imported dry and freezer goods. The biggest risk Devon has taken is trusting her skills, as she invested financially in a company that has been her passion for over a decade. Growing the business from two stores to 5 in the years she has been with the company, nurturing and mentoring her teams and consistently searching for new and innovative programs and products (some which bear fruit, and many that do not!) are what she is most proud of in her time with Windsor.

Update: Devon Hamidi-Kirchner was selected as the winner of the 2023 Young Entrepreneur Award. Congratulations, Devon!

Hope Mikal, Unicorn Marketing Co.

Unicorn Marketing Co. was started as a passion project during the pandemic. Unicorn became a freelancing outlet for Hope to work on creative projects, meet new people, and find joy. Whether you are a part-time creative, aspiring entrepreneur, or a longtime professional, Unicorn Marketing Co. believes that marketing should be fun and represent your business. Their team handles everything from design to strategy and every little thing in between! They create custom strategies for small businesses, entrepreneurs, non-profits and e-commerce businesses. Unicorn Marketing Co. embodies a unique blend of values and qualities.

From the very beginning, Hope’s journey with Unicorn Marketing Co. was driven by exceptional initiative—a passionate quest to bring magical marketing to all. Hope’s commitment to authenticity shines through in every project Unicorn Marketing Co. undertakes, ensuring that their marketing solutions are both genuine and one-of-a-kind. As a company, they place great importance on education and teamwork, fostering an environment of continuous learning and collaboration that enhances their business skills and propels them toward long-term success. What truly sets them apart is their unwavering dedication to the community. Through leadership, peer mentoring, and inclusive practices, Unicorn Marketing Co. actively supports its community, going above and beyond their business responsibilities. This commitment to community extends to personal achievements and building trust within our community, core values that define Unicorn Marketing Co.’s essence.