Gunn’s Hill Shep Ysselstein claims $100,000 Grand Prize

Shep and Colleen Ysselstein of Gunn's Hill Artisan Cheese near Woodstock, Ontario.

Shep and Colleen Ysselstein of Gunn’s Hill Artisan Cheese near Woodstock, Ontario.

MONTREAL, June 18, 2014 /CNW Telbec/ – The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) yesterday announced that Canadian voters have chosen the turning point project Cheese Champs, submitted by Shep Ysselstein, owner of Gunn’s Hill Artisan Cheese in Woodstock, Ontario, as the winner of the 2014 BDC Young Entrepreneur Award $100,000 Grand Prize.

Shep’s project involves the construction of a 2,000 square-foot, climate-controlled curing and aging extension to his current building that would allow him to double his annual production of cheese to 60,000 kilograms. His business needs to invest in this expansion to keep up with high consumer demand for his premium cheeses from grocery chains and specialty food shops across the province.

“Winning the BDC Young Entrepreneur Award contest means a lot to our business and to the local dairy economy,” says Shep. “We’ve been overwhelmed by the amazing public support and I want to thank everyone who voted for us. I also want to thank BDC for creating a contest that inspires entrepreneurs to take a hard look at their businesses and come up with concrete projects that will drive new growth.”

“I congratulate Shep on winning the 2014 BDC Young Entrepreneur Award,” says Michel Bergeron, Senior Vice President, Marketing and Public Affairs at BDC. “His business illustrates how an entrepreneurial vision can create real opportunities for any industry, anywhere in Canada. Gunn’s Hill is more than a cheese plant; it’s a rural enterprise that creates jobs and economic activity and drives a small community forward.”

“We plan to use the $100,000 Grand Prize to accelerate the growth of our business,” says Shep. “The new curing and aging rooms will allow us to double our workforce, meet demand for our current products, and create new premium aged cheeses that will further boost our revenue. We also hope this boost will put us on track for a future national expansion, so we can start selling our products across Canada.”

The contest runner-up, who will receive $25,000 in consulting services offered by BDC, is the project Bee Wrapped, submitted by Toni Desrosiers, owner of Abeego Designs, Inc. in Victoria, British Columbia.

About the 2014 BDC Young Entrepreneur Award contest
Created by the Business Development Bank of Canada in 1988, the BDC Young Entrepreneur Award contest pays tribute to remarkable Canadian entrepreneurs between 18 and 35. For the first time in 2014, a national committee evaluated the quality of the finalist projects and gave each finalist a ranking that was combined with the public vote. The national committee evaluation was weighted to account for 30% of each project’s final ranking and the public vote accounted for the remaining 70% of the ranking. Online voting in the BDC Young Entrepreneur Award contest took place between May 29 and June 12 at www.bdc.ca/yea.

About the 2014 BDC Young Entrepreneur Award finalists
Nine projects competed for Canada’s votes in the 2014 BDC Young Entrepreneur Award contest.  Each finalist described, via a video submission, a turning point their company had reached as well as their solution to achieve future growth and success:

  • Bee Wrapped, Toni Desrosiers, 34, Abeego Designs, Inc., Victoria, British Columbia
  • Waste with Purpose, Devin Goss, 29, BluPlanet Recycling Inc., Calgary, Alberta
  • Building Boom, Nathan Wilhelm, 30, Wilhelm Construction Services Inc., Estevan, Saskatchewan
  • Compost Kings, Dale Overton, 34, Overton Environmental Enterprises Inc. (OEE), Winnipeg, Manitoba
  • Cheese Champs, Shep Ysselstein, 31, Gunn’s Hill Artisan Cheese, Woodstock, Ontario
  • Room with a View, Louis-Philippe Noel, 34, Innvue, Quebec City, Quebec
  • Clear Waters, Pat Whalen, 33, LuminUltra Technologies Ltd., Fredericton, New Brunswick
  • Brighter Smiles, Paula MacPherson, 31, Southgate Dentistry, Bedford South, Nova Scotia
  • Northern Exposure, Nicole Redvers, 32, Gaia Integrative Clinic, Yellowknife, Northwest Territories

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