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Top 100 female entrepreneurs include Comox Valley businesswoman

Lourdes Gant, vice-president of Courtenay-based Manatee Holdings Ltd., has been named one of Canada’s top 100 female entrepreneurs. - Photo submitted
Lourdes Gant, vice-president of Courtenay-based Manatee Holdings Ltd., has been named one of Canada’s top 100 female entrepreneurs.
— image credit: Photo submitted

A Comox Valley businesswoman is among Canada’s top 100 female entrepreneurs, according to an annual ranking released this week by two prominent Canadian magazines.

Lourdes Gant, vice-president of Manatee Holdings Ltd., placed 84th in the 14th annual W100 Ranking of Canada’s Top Female Entrepreneurs, produced by PROFIT and Chatelaine Magazines.

"I’m ecstatic — and surprised,” said Gant, who entered the contest on a whim after reading about it in a doctor’s waiting room last April. “I never really imagined I would win, but I thought it would be a fun thing to do.

"As I answered all the questions, it helped me become clear just who I am, what our business is about and how it helps people and the local economy. But winning is really the icing on the cake!”

Manatee Holdings Ltd. is a local company that sustainably harvests Geoduck clams and sea cucumbers from wild fisheries. The company is currently spearheading the shift from fishing to aquaculture of these two species.

A business consultant by trade, Gant joined Manatee Holdings Ltd. as vice-president in 2008. Since then, she’s helped the company realized a 77-per-cent growth in revenue.

“Basically, I oversee the marketing, the money, the management and the business model,” explained Gant. “I would like to say that I am in charge of the aspect of our business that can be defined as being a profitable ecological caretaker.”

Ranking Canada’s top female entrepreneurs on a composite score based on the size, growth rate and profitability of their businesses, the W100 profiles the country’s most successful female business owners. To be published in the November 2012 issues of PROFIT and Chatelaine magazines, the W100 is Canada’s largest annual celebration of entrepreneurial achievement by women.

"The women of the W100 offer 100 shining examples of Canadian entrepreneurship,” said Ian Portsmouth, publisher and editor-in-chief of PROFIT, a publication that focuses on the issues of small and mid-sized businesses. “They have achieved their elite status by creating valued products and services, applying deft management skills and exercising the determination required to succeed in today’s business environment.”

“One of my goals when I first came on board with Manatee Holdings was to expand the business in terms of recognition,” said Gant. “Compared with the other fishing industries, aquaculture has had a low profile and a lot of misunderstanding of what we actually do, so I have been working to raise its profile and, of course, increase its profitability. So to get recognized for this work on a national level is very fulfilling.”

In December, Gant will head to Toronto to receive the recognition in person at the W100 reception.

“I’m really looking forward to it, being there with all the other women and sharing our various stories. I know it will be a once-in-a-lifetime evening for me.”

The complete list of winners is available online at www.PROFITguide.com and www.chatelaine.com. To learn more about Manatee Holdings, visit www.GenuineGeoduck.com.

— Manatee Holdings Ltd.

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