| Advocacy

For Immediate release                                             


Board of Trade Congratulates Business Excellence Award Winners


The St. John’s Board of Trade recognized some of the city’s most outstanding entrepreneurs today at the 23nd annual Business Excellence Awards.

“These awards celebrate the achievements of private sector business and community leaders, and acknowledge the significant contributions businesspeople are making to our community and province,” says Kim Keating, Chair of the St. John’s Board of Trade. “On behalf of the Board of Directors, staff and the 900 members who make up the St. John’s Board of Trade, I congratulate all of this year’s award recipients and wish them many more years of continued success.”

The Business Excellence Awards represent overall achievement across several categories. The recipients have distinguished themselves as achievers at the very highest level during this business year. The recipients of the 2015 St. John’s Board of Trade Business Excellence Awards are:

Community Impact (20+ employees) – Verafin Inc.

Community Impact (under 20 employees) – DC Design House Inc.

Leader in Growth and Sales – Newfoundland Chocolate Company

Marketing and Promotional Achievement – St. John’s International Airport Authority

Customer Service and Reliability – Oceanex Inc.

Innovative Solutions – Newfoundland Chocolate Company

Workplace Excellence – Newfoundland and Labrador Credit Union

Entrepreneurial Spirit – Seafair Capital

Community Builder Volunteer of the Year – Don-E Coady, DC Design House Inc.

The Business Excellence Award, the most prestigious award given by the St. John’s Board of Trade, recognizes innovation, creativity, sales growth and the passion for success demonstrated by the annual winner. This year, the Board is proud to shine the spotlight on the Newfoundland Chocolate Company.

The St. John’s Board of Trade is a non-partisan, business advocacy organization that is the principal voice of business for 900 members in the St. John’s area. Its mission is to improve the local business climate, enhancing its members’ ability to do business through advocacy and member services. http://stjohnsbot.ca/




Media contact:
Kristina George
Communications and Advocacy Specialist
St. John’s Board of Trade
(709) 726-2961, ext. 5; (709) 699-2044



Award Information and Criteria


Community Impact (20+ employees): Verafin Inc.

This award recognizes companies that are continuously involved in helping the community and make outstanding contributions to the community through donations, time, effort and other means. Recognized as a fun and innovative place to work, Verafin also finds creative ways to help many charities by doing things differently. So far this year Verafin has contributed $141,000 in monetary, in-kind and volunteer hours to 29 charities. The company is forecasting their total volunteer contributions to be about $182,000 for 2015.

Community Impact (under 20 employees): DC Design House Inc.

This award recognizes companies that are continuously involved in helping out the community and make outstanding contributions to the community through donations, time, effort and other means.  It’s all about making an impact for DC Design House. The growing company is a member, volunteer, sponsor or supporter of countless organizations. DC Design House encourages all staff to volunteer with causes close to their hearts, allowing them to use company time and resources to further the goals of those organizations.

Leader in Growth and Sales: Newfoundland Chocolate Company

This award recognizes companies who have met increased demands, have differentiated themselves from everyone else and have had significant growth in their company’s sales. In seven years, the Newfoundland Chocolate Company has grown from a basement chocolate-making operation into a serious business. In the past year the company has added a second retail store in St. John’s, opened a third in Dartmouth, N.S., a café on Signal Hill, and forecasting an 80 per cent increase in revenue from 2014.


Marketing and Promotional Achievement: St. John’s International Airport Authority

This award recognizes companies who stand out of a crowd; one that is original and provides results to their bottom line through marketing and promotion. The Expansion YYT campaign launched by the airport authority was created to relay the benefits of the 10-year improvement and expansion plan, and allowed the airport to be proactive about flight disruptions due to construction. The campaign included videos, artwork and various forms of advertising, and received strong support from stakeholders.


Customer Service and Reliability: Oceanx Inc.

This award recognizes overall achievement or improvement in dedication to customer satisfaction through service, or development of an outstanding product or service. Committed to providing consistent, reliable service, Oceanx works closely with its customers on new projects and opportunities. The company has implemented a number of programs to provide a safe and reliable service. In fact during the winter of 2015 Oceanx did not miss a scheduled trip, and the longest delay experienced was 12 hours on one voyage during particularly extreme weather conditions.

Innovative Solutions: Newfoundland Chocolate Company

How are you being creative or relevant? This award recognizes a business that provides innovation through a new product, process or positioning. From weather to logistics, the Newfoundland Chocolate company has found innovative ways to overcome challenges. The company has improved its product line and in the past year launched two additions – the Giovani Cabotto’s Gelato and the opening of the company’s first themed café at the Signal Hill Interpretation Centre.


Workplace Excellence: Newfoundland and Labrador Credit Union

This award recognizes companies who have provided an exceptional work environment through things such as staff development, work and life balance, fair employment, staff appreciation, and much more. Newfoundland and Labrador Credit Union offers benefits to its employees that give them flexibility in the workplace and engage them in activities that promote physical and mental health. The company has initiated a program that rewards staff for their hard work, is dedicated to subsidizing continuous education and promoting from within the organization, and gives back to the community through its charitable foundation.


Entrepreneurial Spirit: Seafair Capital

This award recognizes the best of the best; a company that not only offers new and exciting products/services that meet the market needs but one that will achieve similar (if not greater) success in the future. Seafair Capital has improved its competitive positioning by evolving from a holding company to a shared services model growth-focused organization. Seafair Capital has acquired a number of companies offering exciting products and services, including a local daycare rebranded to become Young Explorers, HealthQuest and Nuderm Skin Care Clinic, and has experienced a 30 per cent increase in revenues.


Community Builder Volunteer of the Year: Don-E Coady, DC Design House Inc.

This award recognizes an individual who is committed and volunteers in the community; one who is seen as a role model not only in the community but as well to their organization and an individual who has made a difference from these contributions. Outgoing, optimistic and generous, Don-E is a leader as a partner in DC Design House, and in his community volunteering with organizations like MusicNL, Happy Cities, Downtown St. John’s, Young Adult Cancer Canada and Sarah’s Kids. He also mentors young entrepreneurs, marketing students and recent graduates through the Head Start program.


2015 Business Excellence Award:  Newfoundland Chocolate Company

The Business Excellence Award is the most prestigious award presented by the St. John’s Board of Trade. Chosen from the recipients of the business achievement awards, the award is crafted as the flame of entrepreneurial spirit. The Business Excellence Award represents overall achievement across categories and recognizes innovation, creativity, sales growth, and the passion for success demonstrated by the annual winner. Each year, the recipient distinguishes themselves as achievers at the very highest level. Newfoundland Chocolate Company personifies entrepreneurial spirit and passion represented by this award.

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