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Manitoba teen wins contest for entrepreneurs with disabilities

Sydney Deneka, second from left, was honoured at her Beausejour, Man., school Friday after she won the Just Watch Me contest for entrepreneurs with disabilities. Tamara Forlanski / Global News

BEAUSEJOUR, Man. — She has been called an inspiration to people in Beausejour and on Friday, Sydney Deneka’s community celebrated her.

The 17-year-old has severe disabilities. She was diagnosed with Coffin-Siris syndrome, which affects all aspects of her life.

Undeterred, she started her own business in 2012 called Kozy Kritters and makes personalized blankets for pets and babies.

Sydney entered the Just Watch Me video contest for entrepreneurs with disabilities, put on by Community Futures.

The winner was selected through online voting by the public.

Community Futures announced on Wednesday Sydney won the contest with 52 per cent of the votes. In all, 15,466 votes were cast for Sydney.

Her school in Beausejour encouraged all students to vote daily and even held pep rallies for her.

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Students gather in the gymnasium at Ecole Edward Schreyer in Beausejour, Manitoba, to celebrate Sydney Deneka, winner of the Just Watch Me contest for entrepreneurs with disabilities. Tamara Forlanski / Global News

On Friday around 1,000 students packed Ecole Edward Schreyer gym to celebrate Sydney and see her receive her prizes.

She takes home $1,000 as well as other prizes, including website consultation.

If you are interested in buying one of her blankets you can email sydenny@hotmail.com or call 204-268-3910.

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