Young Entrepreneurs of the Year
Duct Tape recognized for multi-media accomplishments

by Jeff Colbourne
Northern News Services

NNSL (Apr 08/98) - Yellowknife's David Gilbert, 30, Liz Vens, 27, and Jamie Burr, 27, -- better known as Duct Tape -- have been named the NWT Chamber of Commerce's Young Entrepreneurs of the Year.

The three received the first award of its kind on Saturday night at the chamber banquet and award's ceremony.

"It's amazing. It feels really good because it's a lot of hours, a lot of work and we took a lot of chances. It's nice being recognized for your work," said Liz Vens on Monday.

The award recognizes the outstanding performance by young entrepreneurs in a new business that shows initiative and good business knowledge at such an early stage.

Duct Tape, which started as a small web-design shop in the spring of 1996 is now an "information solutions" company which was only incorporated last spring. Today they employ four full-time staff operating three computers.

"We basically work with the information. We don't want to be known as a Web company and that's a perception people have sometimes. What we want to do is actually do a needs assessment and look at the information and find out what they want to do. From that we decide whether it goes on the Web, a CD-ROM or just a brochure," said Vens.

Duct Tape has done work for NorthwesTel Cable, they've developed a Web site for DIAND, the West Kitikmeot Slave Study, the Constitutional Working Group and recently created a CD-ROM for the Department of Education.

"It's a big accomplishment when you're at this stage of the business," said David Gilbert. "It's probably the second most important thing for any business, recognition. It's what keeps you going. It's what encourages you to sort of put up with all the stuff you have to put up with in the first couple of years."

The most important thing for any business is capital, he added, but recognition for your accomplishments helps you get at that down the road.

Gilbert noted that his company was not the only multi-media company recognized by the chamber this year.

Nortext Publishing Corporation, publisher of xxxNunatsiaq News in Iqaluit was named the NWT Business of the Year.

The award recognizes excellence in business practices and the promotion of high ethical standards in the NWT.

"It shows that our industry is getting more recognition as well," said Gilbert. "People are starting to take this stuff seriously on the business-side and on the product-side. It's maybe starting to show a little more credibility."

Gilbert said the award also lets them know they're on the right track and he's hoping it will start to open some doors.

"If we're competing on jobs we won't be an unknown name any more. When our proposal comes in they may look at it and say 'Duct Tape. I've heard of them.'"

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