Through timely innovation, strategic thinking, and smart execution, these three finalists have launched—and built one (or more!) successful companies with a track record of growth, profitability, industry leadership, as well as breaking new ground. Through their drive, managerial acumen, and leadership traits, they have generated exceptional economic growth and social change.

We asked this year’s winner and finalists for their best advice for other entrepreneurs.



Finalist: Margot Micallef, Oliver Capital Partners

Founded in 2003, Oliver Capital Partners Inc. is a successful merchant bank that to date has invested in broadcasting, publishing, real estate, food manufacturing and restaurant brands. Through these investments, OCP oversees directly and indirectly over 2,300 employees and over $600 million in revenues. OCP’s investment strategy is two-fold: invest in the debt of well-run companies with strong cash flows and invest in the equity of troubled companies which can be turned around.



Finalist: Michelle Gerrard, Neepawa Home Hardware

Neepawa Home Hardware Building Centre is an independently owned building centre and hardware retail location that is part of the Home Hardware dealer co-operative. The store Gerrard purchased in 2003 had been on the market for 10 years, and was in danger of closing. Gerrard believed it was in the best retail location in Neepawa, and just needed a facelift with refreshed product offering to be viable. In a small, rural community such as Neepawa, Gerrard feels it’s important to have as many retail options within the community as possible to keep the community thriving, which was the driving decision behind expanding the business in 2010. 



Winner: Kathy Gregory, Paradigm Quest

Founded by Gregory after being let go from her position in the world of finance, Paradigm Quest Inc. is the fastest growing mortgage company in Canada, providing a one-stop solution from origination to providing cost effective back office mortgage solutions to lenders, which enables them to proactively respond to market conditions, lead the market in innovation, and ultimately provide the mortgage consumer with greater choice and an unparalleled mortgage experience. Paradigm is recognized by major Canadian financial institutions as a leading BPO in the financial services sector and has signed major outsourcing contracts with Canadian chartered banks.



Related: 22 Lessons from Successful Entrepreneurs




The collective impact of our country’s female entrepreneurs cannot be overstated. The RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards is the premier national awards program celebrating the achievements of the most successful in this inspiring group. Now in its 24th year, over 120 women have been recognized for demonstrating excellence—from economic growth to social change, from local to global reach, across multiple sectors. We’re honoured to shine a spotlight on them.



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