Jill Kelly, owner of Red Bicycle Communications Corp. in Lloydminster is on the list of finalist for a Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award. SUBMITTED PHOTO
Lloydminster’s two finalists for 2017 ABEX business excellence awards from the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce are taking their first bows.
The Lloydminster & District Co-op is thrilled to be up for a Community Involvement award, along with Jill Kelly of Red Bicycle Communications, as a Young Entrepreneur of the Year.
Don Stephenson, Lloydminster Co-op CEO, said despite trying economic times for every charitable and non-profit organization (NPO) in our area, the Co-op has stayed committed to supporting more than 100 non-profit organizations, community groups, and charities.
“While we don’t do this for public recognition, it’s certainly humbling when a provincial organization takes notes,” said Stephenson.
“We are quite honoured to be a finalist in this category along side some other notable Saskatchewan businesses.”
The Co-op and Kelly at Red Bicycle are two of 50 finalists out of 82 nominees in nine awards categories, with the winners to be announced on Oct. 21 in Saskatoon.
“It’s an amazing feeling to be recognized as one of the top entrepreneurs in the entire province of Saskatchewan,” said Kelly.
This is her third year being nominated, and her third year as a finalist.
“Being a finalist alone is outstanding—whether, I actually win or not in October, I still feel like a winner,” she said with her fingers crossed she’ll come out on top.
She noted she was encouraged to apply for the competition by a number of local businesses, including the Lloydminster Chamber of Commerce and the Lloydminster Region Health Foundation.
Last year, the Co-op was a finalist for an ABEX marketing award and they’ve been a perennial name on the list of Saskatchewan’s top 100 businesses.
Stephenson said winning an ABEX award would be icing on the cake for his employees who worked hard to put together charitable initiatives over the past year or so.
These include the Spread a Little Love campaign for seniors at Christmas, Kindness Wins for anti bullying, and the Huron Carole Christmas production to aid our food bank.
“So the external recognition of the efforts of our people to support these causes, I think would be wonderful,” he said.
Stephenson said the Co-op supports charities and NPOs within the area simply because it’s the right thing to do.
“Regardless of the outcome in October, our objective of bettering the communities in which we operate will earnestly continue,” he said.
Kelly’s Red Bicycle business is a marketing and design firm with an impressive list of highlights in its four-year history.
Over the past year, Kelly personally co-chaired the marketing and communications committee for the hugely successful 2016 RBC Cup.
She offered her staff paid time off to volunteer for the event.
Red Bicycle spearheaded the production of the 2017 Local & Traveller’s Guide, the third annual edition, from researching and copywriting, to procuring photographic art and ad sales.
“We take pride in our community and want to highlight all there is to see and do here for everyone else to discover and explore,” said Kelly, who is already working on the 2018 edition.
Kelly is also proud to have sponsored, volunteered, or donated gift-in-kind services to many great organizations in Lloydminster and area.
“We are in business to do more than make money, we’re here to make a better community for everyone,” she said.
The Co-op will strengthen its own corporate commitment to community involvement by hosting an event similar to the Huron Carole this year.
In addition, Stephenson said the Co-op will continue to promote its Growing the Good program, which encourages NPOs to apply to conduct good work for the community.
“In return for that, we make a $1,000 donation to their group,” he said.
“We are also doing the preparation for our third annual Spread a Little Love campaign this Christmas for seniors.”
The Co-op provides a range of retail and commercial services in the region from grocery, agro, and propane operations to gas bar and convenience stores, cardlock fuel and pharmacy business.