Businesswoman among country’s best

Comox Valley businesswoman Lourdes Gant has been ranked among the top five female entrepreneurs in Canada.

Gant, vice-president of Manatee Holdings, made the 16th annual W100 ranking of Canada’s Top Female Entrepreneurs, released in September. Produced by PROFIT, Canadian Business and Chatelaine, the W100 ranks Canada’s top female entrepreneurs on a composite score based on the size, growth rate and profitability of their businesses. The W100 profiles the country’s most successful female business owners.

“Being recognized for doing what I love makes it so much more rewarding,” says Gant, who balances a busy career with an active family life. “Someone once told me that I’m a passionate mentor. Whenever I feel challenged, that’s the image that grounds me and moves me to a place of action, whether I’m mentoring my son or helping a client bring their vision to life.”

Gant joined Manatee Holdings, a local company that sustainably harvests geoduck clams and sea cucumbers from wild fisheries, in 2008. With a background in financial and procedural auditing, she oversees marketing, finances and broad-level management. She’s now being groomed to become CEO, thanks in part to her impressive track record with the company.

This is Gant’s second appearance in the W100 ranking – she ranked 84th in 2012 after helping her company realize a 77 per cent growth in revenue. This time she feels her ranking is in recognition of acquiring $2.5 million of back-financing as Manatee Holdings works to grow aquaculture and expand as a “profitable ecological caretaker.”

“We’re trailblazing a shift from fishing to sustainable aquaculture in the local area,” Gant said. “We’re looking to seed 20 hectares of aquaculture this year; and that, of course, takes money.”

Even with her past experience and impressive accomplishments, Gant said she had to do some soul searching before deciding to submit her application for this year’s W100 competition.

“It took me two months to make my mind up to apply,” she said. “But I decided it’s not just about me; this recognition represents the hard work of everyone at the company.

“My mentor told me, ‘No reward you apply for can give you the internal value that’s available to each and every person’. “So in the end, I decided to push the submit button but also take the opportunity to practice not being attached to the outcome.”

Her reaction to finding out she did make the list once again?

“I think I’m actually more excited this time because it was more of an emotional decision to apply. I learned more about myself and I truly wasn’t expecting it.”

Gant will receive the recognition in Toronto at the W100 reception in November. Rankings will be published in the October issue of Canadian Business, the November issue of Chatelaine and at PROFITguide.com.

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