Entrepreneurs celebrated at Leeds Grenville Small Business awards

The 2023 Leeds Grenville Entrepreneur of the Year and Paul D. Boivin Memorial Award were presented at the annual Bridges to Better Business event on Thursday, October 26th. The United Counties of Leeds and Grenville Small Business in partnership with the St. Lawrence-Rideau Immigration Partnership took the chance to celebrate the entrepreneurs and their success.

For the Leeds Grenville Entrepreneur of the Year award, the winner was Jody Lundrigan, for her business Pangea House Bed & Breakfast in Gananoque. In the spring of 2021, Jody and her partner, Geoff, moved from the GTA to the Town of Gananoque. They visited the house of their dreams, bought it and started a bed & breakfast in rapid succession. Jody’s background is in non-profits, and marketing and communications and Geoff is a professional chef. The Pangea House website shares that each guest room is modelled after a modern-day continent so you can rest your head anywhere in the world.

Jody also took the chance to participate in the Starter Company Plus program. Organizers say she was looking for support on the administration side like finance, business planning, and more. Previously she had managed large budgets, events, and teams, a bed & breakfast was a brand-new industry in a new region. They say she felt she had much to learn and jumped in with both feet. In an interview afterward, the program she noted the confidence and knowledge gained on the technical pieces of running a business. The program grant was used for signage, equipment and marketing.

Those who presented the award said, that from an economic development perspective, this entrepreneur knows how to start and develop relationships locally. Additionally, she is creating and marketing events for the B&B in partnership with other businesses in the community from health and wellness, to Christmas in Gananoque, to a writer’s retreat and other arts pursuits like the First Peoples Arts Festival. Jody also employs locals to help with cleaning and maintaining the property.

The other award given out, the Paul D. Boivin Memorial Award was presented to Cody LaFrance from Distinct Lawn Works in Brockville. Cody started Distinct Lawn Works in the spring of 2020. Organizers explain that his first summer he mowed lawns in Brockville summer and bu they say he knew there were aspects of running a business that he needed to learn like finance, hiring practices, and operations as a whole. Additionally, Cody said he also wanted to make a social commitment around mental health and addiction and provide a place for others who struggled to heal and have a purpose.

He was accepted for the winter 2021 cohort of the Starter Company Plus program and they say his training shed a lot of light on what would make him money and what would not. It guided his decisions and his focus going forward. The coaching portion of the program was pivotal in keeping him focused on his new learnings and applying the fundamentals taught consistently.

Now 3 years later, he leads several teams fulfilling lawn contracts and softscaping projects throughout the region. His eye is on building towards larger landscaping projects. Those in the community will see their yellow shirts all around Brockville and the area. He has given inspirational talks at the Employment & Education Centre to some of their clients about overcoming adversity and negative circumstances. He has also provided work programs and co-op placements for several people. Cody is also consistently involved in the community through the Brockville and District Chamber of Commerce, he has donated to The Brockville Soccer Club and has sponsored local golf tournaments. He has donated time and materials for the front walk at Leeds Grenville Mental Health on Front Ave. Cody has aligned himself with local landscaping supply companies and other landscapers to better serve his clients and support each other.

With files by CFRA’s Connor Ray

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