Onlea Enterprises and Jack59 honoured at AWE Awards

Onlea Enterprises and Jack59 honoured at AWE Awards

· The Pulse

Two Edmonton entrepreneurs were among those honoured at the 2022 AWE Awards, presented by Alberta Women Entrepreneurs.

Jennifer Schaeffer, the founder of Onlea Enterprises, received the Emerging Entrepreneur Award, which is presented to a female entrepreneur who has built "a strong, scalable business foundation and has achieved early success with strong market potential." The e-learning education company started as a non-profit at the University of Alberta in 2014, but it transitioned to a for-profit organization in 2020, just before the pandemic created a boom in online learning.

"Leading is always a team sport," Schaeffer wrote on LinkedIn after winning the award on Sept. 13. "My co-founders Adriana Lopez Forero and Jonathan Schaeffer have been with me through our journey from nonprofit spin-off to profitable startup, and they inspire me every day to keep dreaming and building."

Vanessa Marshall, CEO of Jack59, won the Indigenous Entrepreneur Award, recognizing someone with "a strong business concept (who) demonstrates plans for future growth, long-term business viability and commitment to the community." Her company, founded in 2015, makes shampoo and conditioner in bar form, which saves on water and plastic packaging.

"Our mission is simple," she told Women of Influence. "Increase the number of good hair days you have while decreasing your carbon footprint. From the responses we get from our customers, to how we're helping the environment — I know we're having an impact."

Innovate Edmonton presented the Upsurge Award to Breanne Everett of Orpyx Medical Technologies, a Calgary-based health innovation company. The ceremony closed with the presentation of AWE's Celebration of Achievement Award to Manjit Minhas of Minhas Brewery, Distillery and Winery and Dragons' Den, which launched its 17th season on Sept. 15.

Photo: Jennifer Schaeffer, founder of Onlea Enterprises, and Vanessa Marshall, founder of Jack59.