Community Impact – 2016 Entrepreneur of the Year Awards

Christina Dove

Owner and Executive Chocolatier of Newfoundland Chocolate Company

Christina Dove is founder and owner of Newfoundland Chocolate Company.

Christina’s road to being an entrepreneur started with a passion to create. She grew up watching her father build games for the family booth at the Regatta. She enjoyed making pottery, and in order to help pay for university, she made glazes and carved pottery that she sold through shops and galleries. As a neurodevelopmental researcher at Memorial University, she began to design new programs that combined neuroscience with sensory art therapy. Christina continues to work with children with autism and other health challenges, and her artistic drive remains undiminished.

“I’ve always wanted to build and create new things. It’s always been in me and I love it.”

 

When Christina and Brent started the company, their vision was to create artisan chocolates without preservatives or additives and to bring Newfoundland and Labrador across the world. Christina is passionate about the work she does alongside her staff and her family (her husband, Brent Smith, is also an owner), and about the impact of their work on the community socially and economically. “I love that I get to build a team and we all work together as a family, building and growing within a beautiful province.” The group is built on respect for everyone’s role, and their attitude is one aspect of the business’s success, Christina says: “No matter what challenges are thrown at us, we all jump in together!”

Another reason for their success is the product. The creativity involved in producing items such as Brigus blueberry chocolate is also in evidence when it comes to community work. Newfoundland Chocolate Company is currently supporting Habitat for Humanity by making chocolate houses, decorating them, and donating them to the gala. “We’re actually having a big Habitat for Humanity day,” Christina explains, “where people come and make their own houses—families come in and make them, so that’s very exciting.”

For Christina, connecting with charities and communities to find ways of giving back is a privilege and a responsibility. The company has come up with an impressive array of thoughtful ways to contribute to community endeavours. They donate chocolate prizes for events; every week they have a particular truffle with proceeds going to a different charity (recently, it was an autism truffle for autism awareness month); they do charity walks as a team; they set up chocolate tastings at fundraisers; they select a charity to promote each time they open a new store. When they opened a location in Halifax recently, the charity was Phoenix Youth Programs: they carved a chocolate phoenix sculpture and set up a truffle tree. As far as Christina is concerned, it’s just part of who they are and what they do: “No matter how tough life is, there’s always someone out there having a tougher time. We’re all here to help each other,” she says.

The Community Impact Award recognizes an entrepreneur whose business has had a significant impact on the local community economically and socially.

The 2016 Community Impact Award was sponsored by Hebron Project.

For more about Christina Dove, check out her 2016 Entrepreneur of the Year Award winner video.

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