FREDERICTON (CNB) -- The finalists and the winners of the fourth annual Atlantic Aboriginal Entrepreneur Awards are being congratulated by Ed Doherty, minister responsible for the Aboriginal Affairs Secretariat. The awards were recently presented in Charlottetown, P.E.I.

"I would like to congratulate the finalists and winners in New Brunswick," said Doherty. "It is impressive to see these individuals and their companies recognized for being innovative and becoming leaders in the business world. It is this type of spirit of entrepreneurship that our government is striving for as we continue to move forward on our path to self-sufficiency."

Recognition was given to the following New Brunswick winners:

  • Mae Labillois of Eel River Bar First Nation, winner of the Women Entrepreneur of the Year award for Labillois Lobster Retail Fisheries;
  • St. Mary's Entertainment Centre of St. Mary's First Nation; winner of the Band-Operated Enterprise of the Year award; and
  • Perry Francis, Sakiyik Inc. of Buctouche First Nation, winner of the Business of the Year award.

The Ulnooweg Development Group Inc. finalists included: 

  • Phyllis Grant of Pabineau First Nation, nominated for Women Entrepreneur of the Year; and
  • Mae Labillois, nominated in the Business of the Year - New Brunswick category.

The awards, presented by Ulnooweg, celebrate aboriginal business successes in Atlantic Canada along with the individuals who run them.

"These aboriginal business owners are not only role models for their peers but also their communities," said Doherty. "Their drive and commitment to see their businesses succeed allows them to be independent, be inventive, and be in control of their own destiny."

Ulnooweg has been providing loans and business services to Aboriginal entrepreneurs in Atlantic Canada since 1986.