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Winnipeg firms vie for entrepreneur awards

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Mike Fata's Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods is a Prairie region finalist in the manufacturing category.

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Mike Fata's Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods is a Prairie region finalist in the manufacturing category. Photo Store

Five Winnipeggers are in the running as Prairies region finalists for the prestigious Entrepreneur Of The Year program sponsored by EY, (formerly Ernst & Young).

One of them, Mike Fata, CEO of Manitoba Hemp Harvest Foods, was a finalist in the same program last year and Geoffrey Giles and Kerry Green of Wolf Trax Inc., are recent recipients of a Manning Award for innovation.

This year's Manitoba contingent is only half the size of last year's regional finalists -- which included Henry Friesen of Convey-All Industries Inc. in Winkler who won the regional award in the manufacturing category -- but it's a strong group.

Here they are:

-- Mike Fata: Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods -- manufacturing category. Fata is the co-founder and CEO of what has become the world's largest hemp-food manufacturer to grow, make and sell hemp foods. With about 50 employees and annual sales around $20 million, the company has probably done more than any other to popularize hemp-seed products. Its offerings are available in stores such as Safeway, Costco, Superstore and London Drugs across the country and in the U.S.

-- Geoffrey Gyles and Kerry Green: Wolf Trax, Inc. -- business-to-business products and services category. Wolf Trax manufactures leading-edge, research-proven micronutrients and plant nutrition products designed for the agriculture and horticulture industries. In 2012 Green and Gyles won a $10,000 Manning Award for innovation for their dry dispersible powder micronutrient formulation which provides growers with a more effective and efficient fertilizer application.

-- Mark Chisick: Urbanmine Inc. -- cleantech category. Urbanmine purchases scrap metal, recycles it and markets the product as feed stock for rolling mills, foundries and refineries throughout the world. Chisick began working for his father's scrap-metal company -- which was founded in the early 1950's -- learned the business from the ground up and built it into a successful enterprise. He left that company and started Urbanmine five years ago to create his own separate brand in a traditional business and has enjoyed strong growth from day one.

-- Jean-Pierre Parenty: Parenty Reitmeier Translation Services -- professional and financial services category. Parenty Reitmeier Translation Services specializes in technical translation and localization in more than 100 languages for global clients. The company, founded in 1992, is one of the largest translation companies in the country. With 70 employees at its St. Boniface offices, it also has a network of 320 translators around the globe. Its range of services includes a growing business translating technical and customer documents for many big names in the automotive sector including Honda, Kia and Harley-Davidson.

martin.cash@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 6, 2013 B9

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