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Innovation Guelph announces 2016 Rhyze Award finalists

21 local, women-­owned companies will participate in one-­of­-a­-kind business education program
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Innovation Guelph (IG) is pleased to announce the 21 local women­owned businesses who are recipients of the 2016 Rhyze Award.

All businesses receive a reserved spot in the Rhyze Academy, a new unique nine­month intensive program developed by Innovation Guelph to support and educate women entrepreneurs as they further develop their business skills, financial know­how and integrate work and life. They include:

  • Beyond Rewards, a human resources consultancy;
  • Centre Staged Inc., providers of home staging, home organization and interior design;
  • Edible Promotions, a source for edible promotional items;
  • Fleuristic Garden & Flower Studio, a retail shop offering flowers, workshops and home decor;
  • Guided Holistics, nutritional and wellness consulting;
  • Kaboom Consulting, social and environmental change consulting;
  • Lighthouse Lemonade, a lemonade concentrate from an old Maritime family recipe;
  • Sage Solutions, customized facilitation, strategic planning, stakeholder engagement and coaching services;
  • SEED Education Strategies & Solutions, special education support for students with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and Autism Spectrum Disorder;
  • Spring Chicken Family Health, a naturopathic clinic focused on healing for the whole family;
  • Stonehouse Pottery & Kachelöfen, creators of energy efficient wood­burning clay stoves; and
  • Sweet Temptations Cupcakery, bakers of custom cupcakes, cakes and desserts.

In addition to their reserved Rhyze Academy seat, the following businesses will receive seed funding:

  • Naturopathic Skin Therapy, a line of naturopathic skin care;
  • Lokavore, locally­made small batch, handmade and bespoke food, alcohol and gift boxes;
  • Minga Skill Building Hub, hands­on skill building workshops taught by locals experts;
  • NIGHT FLOWER, a line of 100% natural & organic, handcrafted beauty products;
  • Serenity Soaps, naturally handcrafted soaps and bath products;
  • Taste de Tours, food tastings and cultural walking tours with a heritage twist;
  • Taste of Craft, curated craft beer, artisan cheese and chocolate tastings and educational seminars;
  • The Golden Bus, a mobile collaborative arts space built out of an ex­transit bus; and
  • The Travelling Paintbrush, mobile painting and art workshops.

“We made significant changes to the Rhyze Award application process this year, which attracted a broad range of women­owned businesses at all stages of development,” said Kristel Manes, Director, Innovation Guelph and The Rhyze Project. “This is exactly the type of entrepreneurial ecosystem the Rhyze Project aims to cultivate – one where all women can access the educational, financial and coaching resources that will help their businesses and our community flourish in the years to come.”

Finalists were selected from nearly 50 applicants in Guelph and Wellington County vying for cash awards and business coaching and other professional services.

Funding for the cash awards was raised through last year’s successful crowdfunding campaign and ongoing sponsorship from Meridian Credit Union.

All finalists will be formally recognized at the Rhyze Award Ceremony on September 15, which will be open to the community.

Among other eligibility criteria, applicants were required to identify as female; be 30 years of age or older; have a new or existing enterprise based in Guelph and/or Wellington County; and demonstrate passion and viability of their business idea.

Applications were subject to an intensive review process by multiple impartial volunteer panels from Guelph’s business and academic communities.

Details on the Rhyze Award Ceremony will be announced in late August. Follow @TheRhyzeProject on Twitter and #rhyzeaward2016 for updates.