Skip to content

Outstanding Women in Business Awards happening in May

qathet nonprofit launched in 2007 to support local entrepreneurs

Coastal Women in Business (CWIB) is a nonprofit meant to provide a way for female business owners in qathet to network, educate, empower growth and provide mentorship. May 24 is its annual award night, a scaled-back event this year at Coastal Cookery. 

“We recognize the outstanding women in our community,” said CWIB president Jenn Konopelski, who is in her last term. “We have four awards to give out; one is a home-based business, one is for a brick and mortar, another for employees and one is for volunteers.”

Annually for the past 12 years, (minus one in 2020), the business networking organization has been recognizing outstanding women business owners in the qathet region.

Konopelski has owned the Nutcracker Market on Marine Avenue since 2018, but has been involved since 2015. The market began as a pop-up for Christmas.

When original owner Elaine Steiger became too busy with her garden and making preserves, she was prepared to close down the market. That’s when Konopelski stepped up. Born in Powell River, and like many others who moved away, Konopelski eventually came back.

“CWIB gives us a place to network and meet likeminded people,” said Konopelski. “We offer workshops that are open for anyone and any gender to take.”

Membership is exclusively for women. 

“Every month CWIB hosts a main event that could be social or educational, and a few years ago we started a breakfast meeting,” added Konopelski. “That’s how we showcase our members, we invite business owners to talk. Where did your business start? Where is it now? And where is it going?”

The past few years have been tough on many small business owners due to a variety of reasons, one being COVID-19. “Many of us were wondering ‘are we going to make it or not?’ It was nice to have each other to lean on,” said Konopelski. “We can reach out to our (CWIB) people and some of us have gone through it [ups and downs of owning a business]; some of us have already done the work.”

To find out more about the awards or workshops, go to