“Elated, overwhelmed and excited,” Nissa Butler said as she described how she felt upon receiving the call that confirmed her as the winner of the inaugural Nia Mentor Award.
Butler, a full-time entrepreneur and owner of “Butler Inscriptions”, attracted the highest scores from all seven mentors through her demonstration of strategic planning, desire to contribute to community building, and evidence of research on this year’s Honoree, Dame Bridget Harris, a release said.
In addition to the $7,000 she will receive from the originators of this award, and the invaluable mentorship opportunity, Butler will receive seven books chosen by each mentor for its impact on their lives, stationery sponsored by Paperclips, and accessories sponsored by Shop Zoe Mercedes.
An additional $500 sponsored by CJC & Associates Inc must be matched by Butler and donated to a cause or entrepreneur she deems worthy.
Butler says she looks forward to the opportunities and growth she will gain as a result of this award and adds she is “100 percent nervous”.
In assessing the applications, the mentors expressed surprise at the creativity and types of businesses evaluated. Before confirming the winner, all the applicants were invited to a webinar where they received feedback on their applications and a short course on how to put a formal business plan together, which was presented by Stephanie Harris-Burke.
Listed among the nuggets of advice that the applicants received from the mentors was the importance of paying attention to details when applying for future opportunities.
Communications Consultant, Mickel Brann said, “More attention should have been paid to the honoree”. She added, “part of the process was to encourage applicants to do their personal research and not much evidence of that was seen throughout”.
Another, E Ann Henry QC, offered, “One of the most important things we must do is to give forward to others through an opportunity that you may otherwise not be able to benefit from.”
A total of 93 women attempted the application process, and 59 were completed.
Marcella Andre and Jamilla Kirwan, the visionaries behind the award, said they were pleased with how the first phase of the initiative unfolded, and are now happy to get to work with Butler and the five other mentors.
Both women shared they will continue to play their small part in finding tangible ways to contribute to nation building, female empowerment, and “paying it forward”.
Speaking of her determination to continue to create avenues to help support women-owned businesses, Andre promised that “no woman will be left behind” as an online community is currently being created to offer more support to a greater number of women.
The Nia Mentor Award team is especially grateful for the support received from the following businesses who contributed in cash and kind to gifts for the Nia Mentor Award winner, and the five Nia Mentors, namely Paperclips, CJC & Associates Inc, Devika Richards Beauty, Shop Zoe Mercedes, Challengers Enterprises, Accents by Shush, Wadadli Wicks, the CIU, and Premier Beverages.