A fast-growing family business founded by Syrian refugees in an Antigonish backyard last spring picked up the $20,000 cash prize at last night’s inaugural Chronicle Herald Now! Nova Scotia Make Good News Awards.
On hand to collect the cheque, Peace by Chocolate owner-operator Tareq Hadhad said the cash would enable his family to increase production to meet the “skyrocketing” global sales that had followed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s references to the business on the world stage in September.
Last spring, Hadhad and his family opened Peace by Chocolate out of a shed behind their home. Since then, the community has rallied around the Syrian family — which fled their war-torn home in Damascus and later a refugee camp in Lebanon — to support the business.
The family started selling its chocolates at farmers markets, quickly building a customer base.
The awards, designed to recognize people making a positive, post-Ivany difference to the province at a grassroots level, drew 70 or so entrepreneurs, CEOs, student leaders and executive directors to craft brewery restaurant Gahan House on Halifax’s waterfront.
Mark Lever, CEO of the Chronicle Herald’s parent company, said the publisher created the awards to help “shift attitudes in the province toward a stronger entrepreneurial mindset”.
Lever said, “All of our category winners have chosen curiosity over cynicism, opportunities instead of obstacles and action instead of apathy. These are all people who believe better is always possible.”
A ten-strong panel of judges, drawn in equal parts from event sponsors RBC, the Halifax Partnership, Bounty Print, the Halifax Chamber of Commerce and Nova Scotia Community College, chose the winner Dragon’s Den-style…