Thunder Bay – BUSINESS – Sleeping Giant Brewing Company’s CEO, Drea Mulligan is among the top 35 finalists for the 2021 Canada Innovation & Entrepreneurship Awards (CANIE Awards.) The highly anticipated annual awards celebrate business leaders across the country for their impressive journeys and achievements as disruptors that contribute to the country’s entrepreneurial landscape.
There were more than 420 submissions for the 2021 CANIE Awards. Mulligan is one of seven finalists in the category of Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
Mulligan and her husband Kyle, founded Sleeping Giant Brewing Company back in 2012, and she now leads a multi-million dollar, award-winning business. Recent statistics indicate that only 2% of women-led businesses exceed one-million dollars in revenue. Mulligan also continues to work as a kindergarten teacher and recently opened a daycare under the brewery flagship back in September of 2020.
“Women often underestimate what they can accomplish, as they tend to carry the brunt of the responsibilities in their homes, which means they are not only the CEO of their business, but also their family. A continued shift in attitude is still needed to highlight that just because women maintain a busy life outside of their business or work does not dictate their ability to balance business and beyond,“ says Mulligan.
Over the years, Mulligan has been on a mission to change the perception that craft brewing is only for men. She explains there are many hurdles she has faced as a woman in a male dominated industry, but also as an entrepreneur.
“When you start out you feel as though you need to adopt a hard-hitting attitude and be competitive. I’ve found throughout the years that remaining true to yourself and finding your own voice are the keys to rising above preconceived expectations and achieving success,” explains Mulligan. “People still give me that surprised look when they find out a woman owns the brewery, but I’ve also been told our branding, beer, and community relationships have a certain touch to them—perhaps something the industry isn’t quite used to. When you add diversity to your leadership team, you allow for different ideas and perspectives.”
Mulligan encourages more women to take on a leadership position, especially in the craft brewing industry. “The challenge to authentically do more, grow, and be better both professionally and personally, inspires me. Setting an example for my 20-year-old daughter, as well as other female entrepreneurs in our city and Northwestern Ontario keeps me motivated and proud to have the privilege to do what I do. I believe if you can do it, you should do it.”
The national winners for the CANIE Awards are expected to be announced later this fall.