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Owner of Airdrie Puppy Pals finalist for national micro business award

On top of Nikki Nordick's business venture, Airdrie Puppy Pals, expanding and growing in Airdrie, it has now landed her a national award for running a successful micro business.

When Nikki Nordick began walking Hoodoo the Cocker Spaniel nine years ago with an idea to build a dog community in Airdrie, she could not have imagined being a finalist in the Micro Business category of the 2023 RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards.

“This exceeded my expectations,” Nordick said. “When I started the [Airdrie Puppy Pals] Facebook group I just wanted to make sure that there was that sense of connection.”

Nordick started Airdrie Puppy Pals as a Facebook community in 2014, organizing free playdates for dogs. Airdrie Puppy Pals soon evolved into a business offering specialized dog daycare and training services.

“I'm not one to be speechless, but it is just such an incredible honour,” Nordick said of her recent nomination. “To be listed as the finalist representing all of Western Canada and to be able to represent Airdrie is humbling.”

This year marks the 31st anniversary of the RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards, which received over 11,000 nominations for women entrepreneurs from all over Canada. After a long application process and judging review, twenty finalists were selected across seven categories.

The micro-business award is dedicated to a female entrepreneur who owns and operates a small but impactful business generating under $1 million in revenue.

“I don't know who nominated me, which is kind of special,” Nordick said. “I got an email saying you've been nominated, here's the application form. And you fill out this application form that asks you everything about your business and technology, and how you manage to get through COVID-19, and your plans for growth, and all of that fun stuff.”

Nordick found out earlier this year she was one of the top three finalists for western Canada. After the due diligence stage, and an in-depth interview about her business and passion, she found out on Sept. 11 that she was the western finalist.

“I'm still trying to process all of this because for me, Airdrie is home and it's going to be such an incredible experience to be in that room with all of these strong, empowered female entrepreneurs [representing] our piece of home,” Nordick said.

The winners will officially be announced and celebrated in-person at the 31st Annual Awards Gala, on Wednesday, Nov. 22. Women of Influence+ is hosting the red-carpet event at the Ritz-Carlton in Toronto, where nominees, executives, dignitaries, and notable industry guests will come together for an evening of celebration and connection with business leaders from across the country.

“I've always wanted to do things differently. I listen very intently to the mentors that we have in our community, our clients, our team and try my best to advocate for everybody,” Nordick said.

The fourth-generation entrepreneur said Airdrie Puppy Pals is not just a business but a family. Her employees call themselves aunties and uncles, she added.

“It's not just about numbers and budgets and strategic planning, it's creating that sense of belonging to something bigger than yourself,” she said.

With the support of the community, Nordick now has a team of 20 and is expanding to a 12,000 square foot wellness centre in Kings Heights later this fall.

“I want to grow,” she said, adding they plan to work with rescues, host workshops, and start a wellness podcast with local experts in the industry.

“[We’ll have] workshops from dog training to bringing home a new puppy,” she said. "One of the requests that I have a lot of interest for is a junior handler program. And we are not done (there). It's an opportunity to just take on the world of dog wellness and just go.”

The RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards recognize women business owners from across Canada who make impressive and substantial contributions to the local, Canadian, or global economy. For more information on the awards, go to

Nordick added many of her clients have stuck around since the Facebook page stage of Airdrie Puppy Pals, and she feels that support has allowed her business to grow through two locations and soon into the new dog wellness centre.

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