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Distinguished Entrepreneur of the Year Award (DEYA)

For 2 decades, we have celebrated entrepreneurial brilliance at the Distinguished Entrepreneur of the Year Award (DEYA)—BC's premier entrepreneurship business gala!

Each DEYA event lets you network with industry leaders as you savour a gourmet 3-course dinner and immerse yourself in an ambiance inspired by our exceptional recipient. At Gustavson, we unite for an evening of inspiration, celebration and recognition of world-changing entrepreneurs. Be part of this extraordinary experience—experience a master class in entrepreneurship with our next recipient!


business community networking
celebrating entrepreneurs
learning from diverse groups

Event details

Gustavson's 20th annual Distinguished Entrepreneur of the Year Award (DEYA) celebrated a historic first on October 23, 2023. Bobbie Racette, founder and CEO of Virtual Gurus, became the first Indigenous recipient of this award.

The evening was brimming with love, honesty and inspiration, culminating in an engaging interview between Bobbie and Paul Lacerte.

It was truly a remarkable occasion, celebrating an exceptional entrepreneur.

Sponsorship & ticket sales

The Gustavson School of Business is delighted to offer valuable and engaging sponsorship options that showcase your outstanding support while also providing you with the opportunity to make new connections and strengthen your relationships with existing community partners. We welcome the opportunity to discuss additional ways in which we can collaborate with you and incorporate your organization’s values and goals into the DEYA sponsorship options.

For further information, ticket sales and event details, please contact us at .

2023 recipient

Bobbie Racette is the founder and CEO of Virtual Gurus, a talent marketplace that leverages proprietary technology to match organizations and entrepreneurs with highly skilled Canadian and American fractional administrative workers. Forbes recently announced Virtual Gurus as one of the top 19 Innovative Tech Startups to watch. 

Bobbie is on a mission to create employment opportunities for historically underrepresented individuals, including First Nation, Métis and Inuit peoples, members of LGBTQ2+ communities, racialized peoples, individuals of alternate abilities and those living in remote communities. 

An unstoppable force in the Canadian startup community, Bobbie acts as a mentor for eCommerce North and serves on the board of the Telus Friendly Future Foundation, helping to build brighter futures for at-risk youth through the power of technology. She’s also a member of The51’s Community Council and Calgary’s CORE Working Group, ensuring the voices of underrepresented folx are included at both local and national levels.  

Named as one of 50 Changemakers for 2021 by Report on Business magazine, Bobbie was also recently honoured by Startup Canada as Indigenous Entrepreneur and Woman Entrepreneur of the Year. Bobbie is a Cree-Métis woman who prides herself on building an inclusivity-first company, championing Indigenous peoples and the LGBTQ+ community.

Past DEYA recipients

The DEYA Award has had the privilege of honouring an illustrious lineup of entrepreneurial visionaries who've left a mark on society. In recent years, recipients like Ratana and Arran Stephens, the co-founders of Nature's Path, exemplify the award's mission by pioneering sustainable practices in the food industry. Anthony von Mandl, founder and CEO of The Mark Anthony Group, has consistently pushed boundaries in the beverage sector. These remarkable individuals, along with many others, showcase the entrepreneurial excellence and positive societal impact celebrated at DEYA.