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Celebrating Business Success In Canada

Organised by CanadianSME Small Business Magazine

CanadianSME takes immense pride in hosting the CanadianSME Business Awards, an essential fixture in our calendar that signifies the celebration and acknowledgement of those who have significantly contributed to our nation's economy. This year, it was a privilege to witness an impressive turnout with over 500 attendees, alongside the felicitation of more than 500 diverse businesses from across Canada. We maintain our commitment to extend similar support and appreciation for our small and medium-sized enterprises.

We were exhilarated to recognize the accomplishments of 36 winners from various regions of Canada during this high-profile, red-carpet event conducted on May 5, 2023, at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. The evening served as a testament extraordinaire to the groundbreaking achievements of Canadian...SMEs and entrepreneurs. Celebrating their success during this event symbolizes their massive impact within their respective industries and our country.

We would like to express our sincere gratitude to our partners and award category sponsors. We extend a heartfelt appreciation to Google, our presenting partner, for the awards. We also thank our exclusive banking partner RBC, our shipping partner, UPS, and our accounting software partner Xero, who were also the award category sponsors. Furthermore, we wish to acknowledge our other Award Category sponsors, including Futurpreneur, Deloitte, Samsung, GoDaddy, CyberCatch, HP, Zoho, Nerds on Site, The Answer Company, and eBay, for their valued contribution to the CanadianSME National Business Awards 2022.

CanadianSME extends profound gratitude to the Honourable Minister Mary Ng, Canada’s Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development; Victor Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, Ontario; Doug Ford, the Premier of Ontario; and Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario. Their special messages to the small business community were both insightful and uplifting.

Our heartfelt appreciation goes out to all the judges for their invaluable expertise and time spent adjudicating the awards. Following a detailed review, this diverse panel has carefully evaluated the standout businesses deserving of high regard. Finally, we extend our warm thanks to all the attendees who made this event a resounding success.

With the collective support received, we've successfully underscored the significance of hosting events such as these, which serve as beneficial platforms for small businesses from varied industries to connect and gain insights from one another. As we look ahead, our ambition is to orchestrate more of such interactive events, optimistically enhancing our platform over time. We truly appreciate your sustained support as we forge ahead in our forthcoming endeavours.

Editors Choice Award

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB)
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 97,000 members across every industry and region. CFIB is dedicated to increasing business owners’ chances of success by driving policy change at all levels of government, providing expert advice and tools, and negotiating exclusive savings. Learn more at cfib.ca.
Dan Kelly

President, CEO and Chair of CFIB

Thoughts on winning the Canadian SME National Business Award

I’m very honoured to receive the prestigious 2022 Editor’s Choice Award on behalf all 400 of CFIB’s dedicated employees who worked tirelessly to support small and medium-sized businesses during a time when they needed it most. Our team worked to help create or fix all the main government support programs and took 80,000 direct calls from small business owners each pandemic year. It was truly a team effort. And a big thank you to Canadian SME Small Business Magazine for your support of Canada’s small business sector. It’s greatly appreciated.

Special message/advice to small business owners during challenging times

You deserve recognition for your perseverance through one of the most challenging times in recent history. Your resilience is what makes Canada strong and vibrant.

We know it’s been tough for the past three years. At CFIB we’re fighting hard to ensure small businesses have time to get back on their feet.

But we need all hands on deck if we want to see a real change. If you’ve taken on a Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) loan during the pandemic and need more time to repay it, sign CFIB’s petition. Call your local Member of Parliament and voice your concern. Your local elected officials need to hear from you directly what you need to make it on the road to recovery. We need more time for small businesses to put the COVID damage behind them in order for them to get back to what they do best — creating jobs and economic activity for Canadians.

Editors Choice Award

Paris Jewellers
Paris Jewellers is a family-owned jewelry company focused on celebrating customer’s stories and community partnerships. 

In 1985, Chau’s family immigrated to Canada from Vietnam in hopes of a better future. Their mom worked tirelessly at odd jobs including as a goldsmith (while using a Vietnamese-English dictionary to communicate) which led to opening their first store in 1987. Paris Jewellers now operates 23 locations and had the privilege of creating engagement rings for Emmy-Award winner DWTS judge Derek Hough and actress Lana Condor. Throughout the last few years the jeweller has raised over half a million dollars for various women and children-focused charities. Chau is the First Vice-Chair for The Canadian Jewellers Association and was featured on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 97,000 members across every industry and region. CFIB is dedicated to increasing business owners’ chances of success by driving policy change at all levels of government, providing expert advice and tools, and negotiating exclusive savings. Learn more at cfib.ca.
Chau Lui

Co-Owner of Paris Jewellers

Thoughts on winning the Canadian SME National Business Award

So incredibly honoured to win this award as supporting and recognizing small businesses is vital to our communities. It takes courage, determination, and resilience to open a business – and we are incredibly grateful to be recognized by CanadianSME.

Special message/advice to small business owners during challenging times

Being an entrepreneur and business owner can be one of the most rewarding things in one’s life. It can also be one of the most challenging. To overcome challenging times, our vision and mission (our why) must be so clear. If all of the decisions for the business are made with this vision in mind, it will align the team to be able to achieve the company’s goals.

Editors Choice Award

Mona-Lisa Prosper

Director of Futurpreneur’s Black Entrepreneur Startup Program

Thoughts on winning the Canadian SME National Business Award

Receiving this award was such an amazing surprise!

What an honor to be recognized alongside such inspiring contributors to the Canadian business ecosystem!

This recognition forced me to stop and look at all that has been accomplished with Futurpreneur’s Black Entrepreneur Startup Program, and more specifically, how it was all made possible. I am truly grateful for our team’s devotion to helping young Black entrepreneurs in Canada, and for all the space and resources given by our senior leadership to do so.

Thank you CanadianSME for recognizing our work!

Special message/advice to small business owners during challenging times

There are so many things I would like to tell small business owners in this recovery phase! First, take the time to recognize and appreciate your accomplishments, evolution, and how you managed to survive a pandemic. Second, remember that change is good, as scary as it can be. Welcome it and embrace it! This post-pandemic era mostly characterized by economic uncertainty has forced society to adapt in ways we would have never thought of. Third, don’t lose sight of the problem you were initially trying to solve and its evolution. You got this!

Editors Choice Award

Shadi McIsaac, previous co-founder of Ownr and now VP of Merchant Solutions at RBC Avion Rewards, was raised by immigrant parents who were determined to embrace the new future and opportunities Canada offered for their family. McIsaac earned her MBA at Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto and began her career in tech at IBM before moving to RBC in 2014 and RBC Ventures in 2017. From there, she led the team of Ownr for six years, building a digital platform that now helps empower over 100,000 entrepreneurs across Canada to launch their small business.

McIsaac’s primary focus and joy is raising her two young children and a “thirteen year-old puppy” with her partner. She also acts as a Managing Partner of the Toronto chapter of Women’s Equity Lab (WEL), engaging women in the angel investment process, helping them move into roles such as advisors, board members, venture capitalists, angel investors and fund managers.

In 2022, McIsaac was listed among Canada’s Top 50 Changemakers by the Globe and Mail and was named one of Bay Street Bull’s Women of the Year for both 2021 and 2022.
Shadi McIsaac

CEO & Co-Founder of Ownr

Thoughts on winning the Canadian SME National Business Award

It’s an incredible honour to receive the CanadianSME National Business Award. From its onset, Ownr’s mission has been to make entrepreneurship accessible to everyone—by reducing barriers of entry, anyone can launch their business in a simple, convenient, and affordable manner. As an immigrant to Canada, it’s been deeply rewarding on a personal level to help entrepreneurs become their own change agent and watch as the culmination of our efforts reach over 100,000 Canadians who have trusted us to be part of their journey.

Special message/advice to small business owners during challenging times

As entrepreneurs consider the economic recovery over the next little while, the table stakes continue to be strong business foundations and disciplined spending. These principles will be crucial during headwinds as they are the universal determining factors for a business’ long-term success. This might mean that you will have to look at the pace of growth a little differently, or the time horizons a bit more broadly. However, time and space can also help you be more opportunistic about what you see in the market and then capitalise accordingly.

Editors Choice Award

Johnson Joseph

CEO of Cubeler

Young Indigenous Entrepreneur of the Year

Vearthy is a small Canadian company that makes premium bedding using the most sustainable materials on the planet. We opt for organic compounds and use the latest technologies to create our products, instead of cutting corners with cheap chemicals and careless practices.

Founded in 2021 by Jordan Dooley in Courtenay B.C., Vearthy.com is evolving to become more than just an online storefront. On the Vearthy.com website, you can find interesting articles about personal health, environmental health, tips and tricks about all things cozy, sign up for our newsletter, awards program or affiliate program, or see what stores are carry our brand.
Jordan Dooley

Founder of Vearthy

Thoughts on winning the Canadian SME National Business Award

I’m still in disbelief. I remember getting the notice that I was nominated and wasn’t sure if it was correct. Vearthy.com my passion project and I love that I’m able to see it grow, while getting support and positive feedback from so many people. This award means a lot to me, it really motivates me to continue trying to do business in an earth focused way and push to grow Vearthy even more. Here’s to sustainably made essential goods! Thank you to everyone who has supported me, especially Whitefish River First Nation! Chi miigwech.

Special message/advice to small business owners during challenging times

Remember to step back and look at the milestones you’ve accomplished so far. Imagine where you were just 1 or 2 years ago and where you are now. Think about how many things you’ve learned or had to do to get to this point, and be proud of that. It’s so easy to focus on where we want to be and forget about what we’ve managed to do so far. You can walk towards the horizon forever, but nothings more motivating than turning around to see how far you’ve come.

RBC Small Business of the Year - Top 1

Up to 10 employees

eSupply Canada

eSupply Canada is an online distributor of office, janitorial, and industrial supplies. Our aim is to provide a local, community-based alternative to the big-box retailers. Our customers love the convenience of online ordering, direct delivery and supporting a local business owner.

With over a million office, janitorial and industrial products available, eSupply provides customers with unparalleled product selection through our one-stop-shop website. We leverage our purchasing power to offer competitive pricing on all of our products while servicing customers from coast to coast.

eSupply Canada has distribution centers in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec, allowing swift delivery to any business in urban, rural and remote locations. Most orders are shipped the same day.
Steven Vanloffeld

CEO and Founder of eSupply Canada Ltd.

Steven Vanloffeld, a member of Saugeen First Nation, ON, is the Founder & CEO of eSupply Canada, an Indigenous-owned online distributor of office, janitorial, and industrial supplies. He is also the owner and principal consultant of INDsight Consulting, a research and evaluation firm that works with governments, public institutions, private companies, Indigenous peoples, communities, and organizations to facilitate relationships that lead to meaningful change. Steven’s latest venture, Tiny Homes on Huron-a tiny home cottage resort-is set to launch in the summer of 2022.

Thoughts on winning the Canadian SME National Business Award

As an Indigenous company, we are honored to receive the Small Business of the Year Award (under 10 employees). This recognition is a testament to the hard work, dedication, and innovation of our team, who have worked tirelessly to ensure our customers receive the best possible service. We believe that our success is not just our own, but also a reflection of the support and guidance we have received from our community. We will continue to strive for excellence and look forward to further contributing to the growth and development of our industry and supporting the communities we serve.

Small businesses, especially those owned by diverse individuals, are the lifeblood of our economy, but more importantly our communities. You represent the entrepreneurial spirit, creativity, and innovation that drive growth and job creation. Starting and running a business can be challenging, but it is also one of the most rewarding experiences one can have. As a business owner who is Indigenous, I know we bring unique perspectives and experiences that are needed to drive economic growth. Don’t be afraid to take risks, think outside the box, and seek out new opportunities. Focus on building a strong network of support, including mentors, advisors, and fellow entrepreneurs. Remember, success takes time, effort, and persistence. Don’t give up when faced with obstacles, instead learn from them and use them as opportunities for growth.

Your special message/advice to small business owners during these challenging times

Believe in the reason you started your business, and never lose sight of the human goals in the business metrics. Entrepreneurship is chaotic, difficult and risky. It is not for everyone. But it is also very fulfilling and rewarding to create something of value and impact many lives in the process. I have found that keeping eyes on the big, human goals enables you to tide over short-term issues every business must go through.

RBC Small Business of the Year - Top 2

Up to 10 employees


BISOULOVELY is a jewelry brand inspired by all things magical. Founded in 2019, the brand has seen major accomplishments in the 3 years it’s been active. From gracing the pages of publications such as Vogue, Forbes, Vanity Fair, Cosmopolitan, GQ, Elle and more, as well being showcased in several runways around the world, to debuting a collection that garnered over $1 million dollars in 24 hours. With its dedicated fan community and unique designs, BISOULOVELY aspires to scale up and bring it’s fantasy inspired jewelry to greater heights world wide.
Breanne Millette


RBC Small Business of the Year - Top 3

Up to 10 employees

To Toronto Inc.
To Toronto Inc is a Mangement Consulting firm specialized in bringing Foreign Entrepreneurs to Canada.

Our clients include Foriegn Startups wishing to scale to Canada and investors and entrepreneurs in general who wish to invest in, move their operations or acquire Canadian businesses.

We consider Canada as our Eco-system and the country where we have grown To Toronto Inc to what it is today. Staying true to our roots, we are putting Canada at the forefront of all our activities and presenting “Opportunity Canada” all out in our global business audience engagements.

Canada and its potential has become a point of advocacy for our organization as even our corporate name stands as “To Toronto Inc”, symbolically representing a welcome gesture to Canada through “Toronto” the commercial capital of Canada which represents the true spirits and colours of Canada as a diverse, inclusive, vibrant and welcoming nation.

Overall, To Toronto Inc is a one stop shop for Foreign Entrepreneurs who has Business Migration to Canada in their mind.

We believe every business is unique, which makes every client unique and we are proud of helping our clients end to end when it comes to their unique business migration requirements.
Premdeep Prathap

Partner – To Toronto Inc.

Prem comes with a decade-long experience in Business Management and International Business expansion and has headed the Asia-Pacific business development initiatives of TATA Group’s Realty division and played a key role in Dubai-based Sobha Realty’s Singapore expansion. Their Singapore operations and SEA regional business development were under his leadership for almost 7 years combined.

He completed his Post-Graduation in International Business from The Robert Gordon University, Scotland, UK. With a career spanning 12 years in Business Development and International Expansion roles, Prem has helped companies scale up in their very first year of overseas expansion.

His turnkey solutions and ingenious methods in reaching the target audience through the most efficient and cost-effective manner have been widely lauded by Startups who are mostly working on tight marketing budgets.

An avid music lover and a relentless traveler who loves associating with new cultures, Prem has always been on the move exploring new places. He believes in the statement “Comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there”. He believes every Startup Entrepreneur should be out of their comfort zone and go to new places to unleash their true potential.

Dawinder Singh

Partner – To Toronto Inc.

Dawinder is a Business Analyst and an RCIC (Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant) who has a deep passion for mentoring Startups. He has a career spanning almost a decade in Business consulting and project management involving industries ranging from Oil & Gas to Transportation. He is a problem solver and a freelance Angel Investor helping SMBs with seed capital and giving them direction in realizing their big dreams.

With a background in Management & Information Technology, Dawinder gets excited about scalable tech ideas and takes a keen interest in representing them with Incubators and VCs in Canada.

Dawinder stays involved in solving issues related to Environmental protection and advocates the importance of clean and renewable energy solutions for a sustainable future. Climate change and resource depletion are areas considered by him where technological innovation can have a major influence.

Thoughts on winning the Canadian SME National Business Award

“When we started To Toronto Inc & our entrepreneurial journey in 2018, it was nothing more than a hustle. A hustle to which we dedicated almost 7 days a week with a commitment to go above and beyond in whatever we do.

Today, winning such a prestigious award and a coveted title like “Small Business of the Year 2022”, is such an incredible fulfillment to that hustle.

We want to profoundly thank Canadian SME Business Magazine for bestowing this Award on us & thereby endorsing and recognizing what we do and the impact it could bring to Canada’s economy.”

Special message/advice to small business owners during challenging times

“From our own experiences, I firmly believe that adaptability and flexibility are 2 of the most rewarding qualities any small business should manifest. Embracing challenges is easier said than done and it is always a work in progress for all of us, but let that work be always in progress and never halt.

Prioritizing work at hand and creating a “Triage system” to evaluate the importance of matters coming to us will help us save important tasks fall through the cracks. This will also help us to efficiently allocate our scarce resources.

During this economic recovery phase, with a focused and flexible approach, we could indeed emerge stronger and more resilient. Even though the key is to plan ahead, always be ready to edit the plans if the road is taking its curves.

We wish all the best to all Canadian Small Business Owners. May the year 2023 be yours.”

UPS Small Business of the Year - Top 1

Up to 100 employees

QDoc Inc
QDoc is a web-based platform that connects patients to physicians in real time via encrypted video, allowing patients to see doctors from the comfort of their own homes and physicians to work from anywhere at any time and pay less overhead than they would at a conventional clinic. After the visit, QDoc bills the provincial government using our certified billing software, resulting in no additional cost for patients. One of our main differentiators is QDoc’s focus on continuity of care. We go above and beyond to ensure that our patients perceive our services as an integrated part of the system.

Everything we do, we do to further our mission statement: “To provide equal access to quality medical care for all Canadians, regardless of geographic location or socioeconomic status”. We have created multiple partnerships that align with our mission statement. For example, with Peguis First Nations/Fischer Branch, we created a first nations paramedicine service. Paramedics access QDoc when they get to a patient’s home, which reduces the need for many to be taken to the hospital. We have supplied the Downtown Community Safety Partnership with tablets, allowing the homeless access to medical care. We have partnered with schools, retirement homes, pharmacies, daycares, camps, and many others throughout the province. We develop all our software in Manitoba, and in less than 2 years, we have helped over 20,000 people access medical care, built a company with 28 employees, and have 72 physicians on contract (all Manitobans). We can’t wait to see what the next two years bring.
Dr. Norman Silver and Mr. David Berkowits

Co- Founders at QDoc Inc

Your special message/advice to small business owners during these challenging times

As founders, our message to the next generation of entrepreneurs is to never give up on their dreams and stop listening to the “nay-sayers.” No matter your industry, there’s always an innovative way to solve problems in your community and our country.

UPS Small Business of the Year - Top 2

Up to 100 employees

Business Sherpa Group
Business Sherpa Group was founded in 2008 by Margo Crawford after she felt the need firsthand for backend operations support for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

She believed then, and we still believe today, that the size of an organization shouldn’t limit its potential.

From the beginning, Business Sherpa Group has been dedicated to providing SMEs access to the same quality of resources that larger organizations have.

The key was to provide the support in an embedded and flexible way so that it was attainable, practical, and sustainable for SMEs.

Supporting SMEs continues to be the purpose of Business Sherpa Group’s existence. We have proudly supported over 500 clients (and counting!).Quill Inc. is an award-winning podcast production agency, specializing in branded content. We produce podcasts for enterprise-level brands that are looking for content that achieves maximum impact and results. Through high-quality audio and strategic podcast marketing tactics, Quill helps to boost your company’s podcast ROI.
Todd Luckasavitch

CEO at Business Sherpa Group

Your thoughts on winning the CanadianSME National Business Award

Words can’t describe how proud I was of the incredible team at Business Sherpa Group when we learned we won the Small Business of the Year 2022 (under 100 employees). The team puts their hearts into providing top-notch delivery and support to our SME clients. It was amazing and rewarding to see that effort pay off. It’s been a thrill to be a part of scaling the business and the team at Business Sherpa Group, working to build a value-based foundation, prioritizing innovation and staying ahead of industry trends to ensure that we are offering the most relevant and valuable services and solutions. We’re already excited for next year!

Your special message/advice to small business owners during these challenging times

Having worked in a variety of organizations and sectors, there is absolutely nothing more rewarding and interesting that working with SME organizations which continue to drive our economy. As we move towards a post-pandemic world, there are many opportunities to grow and thrive. My advice: keep a close eye on emerging trends, listen to your customers, and be willing to adapt and evolve your business to meet their changing needs. The talent and engagement of your team is what determines your success, so take good care of them (and yourself!)

UPS Small Business of the Year - Top 3

Up to 100 employees

Sky High ERP
Sky High ERP is a professional services company specializing in NetSuite solutions.

We’re on a mission to help companies optimize business processes while enhancing employee happiness and fulfillment along the way. Our dynamic team of consultants are passionate about delivering elegant solutions with a measurable impact.

With headquarters in Montreal (Canada), Sky High ERP serves organizations in various industries and is proudly an Oracle NetSuite Alliance partner.
David Gauthier, Amanda Juneau, Laura Juneau, Felicia Santoro-Petti

Co- Founders at Sky High ERP

Sky High ERP is a professional services company specializing in NetSuite solutions founded by David Gauthier, Amanda Juneau, Laura Juneau and Felicia Santoro-Petti.

They’re on a mission to help companies optimize business processes while enhancing employee happiness and fulfillment along the way. Their dynamic team of consultants are passionate about delivering elegant solutions with a measurable impact.

Your thoughts on winning the CanadianSME National Business Award

Having only incorporated our business in 2021, winning the CanadianSME National Business Award has been an incredible honor and a testament to the hard work, dedication, and innovative spirit of our team. It validates the countless hours of planning, and the unwavering commitment that our team has placed on serving our customers and community. Thank you to panel of judges and thank you to SK Uddin for creating a space where people like us can be recognized.

Your special message/advice to small business owners during these challenging times

After experiencing such an unforeseen world event, the road to recovery may be challenging. Remember that you’ve already overcome numerous obstacles to get where you are today. Embrace this phase as an opportunity for growth and adaptation. Take the time to evaluate your business model, identify areas for improvement, and seize new possibilities. Stay connected with your customers, listen to their needs, and provide exceptional value. This will pay off.

Moreover, collaboration and community support will be invaluable during these times, so seek partnerships and build relationships with like-minded businesses. Lastly, prioritize self-care and maintain a positive mindset. Celebrate your successes, learn from setbacks, and remember that your passion and dedication can overcome any obstacle. You have what it takes to thrive!

Technopreneur Of The Year

Contractor Compliance Inc.
Contractor Compliance is a cloud-based contractor management software that empowers organizations to easily collect, track and manage third-party contractor and vendor compliance requirements. Ditch your manual spreadsheets and access contractor information instantly from any device, anywhere at any time.
Mark Bania

Co-Founder & CEO at Contractor Compliance Inc.

Mark Bania is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer at Contractor Compliance.An executive with over 10 years of progressive experience with SaaS organizations spanning multiple industries, Mark is a driven and motivated by driving growth in emerging software solutions to solve complex customer challenges, empowering team members, and driving results in line with investors’ focus.

Your thoughts on winning the CanadianSME National Business Award

Winning the Technopreneur of the Year award is truly an honour that we don’t take lightly.As an organization that strives to promote a healthier and safer workplace for everyone by, we appreciate the significance utilizing best in class technology to support our global users.Being acknowledged for our efforts in this category is great validation for the hard-working members of our team that we’re on the right path as we continue our growth journey.

Your special message/advice to small business owners during these challenging times

In today’s landscape fueled by technological innovation, it’s more realistic than ever before for small businesses to have a massive impact. Technology can create significant efficiency gains, extend your businesses’ reach, and help you solve for more potential problems that can add value to your customers like never before.My advice? Embrace it. Challenge yourself to be curious about the ways technology can create a positive impact on your business and pursue those opportunities. Those who do will be rewarded, and the economy as a whole will benefit from the collective effort of small business owners like you.

Best Business Innovation

MEA Health Corporation
In 2022, MEA Health Corporation diverted over 3 million pounds of PPE waste and overstock from landfill through its collection and sorting process. The MEA diversion program generates a source of material that provides the Canadian plastics industry with a quality, recycled, low cost option for their production helping them become more profitable.

To cover the broadest of range of hard to process plastics, MEA Health have encompassed a collection system that gathers: PPE manufacturing waste and used post consumer PPE and overstocks that traditionally would have been destined for landfills and diverted to a state of the art process to supply resin to a starving Canadian plastics industry.

As Canada’s First Stop For PPE Recycling, the MEA diversion program is nationwide, from schools and healthcare to government offices and expanding into retail outlets, all interested in sustainability and good environmental stewardship.
Andy Straisfeld

President/Founder of MEA Health Corporation

Andy Straisfeld is the president/founder of MEA Health Corporation in Brantford, Ontario . Andy’s commitment to landfill reclamation and diversion has set his company as a gold standard in PPE manufacturing recycling and medical waste recycling internationally. Through the work at MEA Health, Andy has been a frequent guest on sustainability podcasts and also host of “Sustainably Circular” podcast dedicated to Circular Economy and Sustainable living.

A lifelong supporter of SME’s and strategic partnerships, Andy is a corporate matchmaker and believer in the power of partnership between sales organizations and the supply chain customers they serve. Andy regularly develops relationships within the Canadian healthcare industry, making “Green” and “We are in it together” key drivers for purchasing decisions.

Thoughts on winning the Canadian SME National Business Award

We’re honoured to receive the award for Best Business Innovation. We’re so proud of the work we do at Properly, as we support Canadians through one of the biggest financial and emotional transactions of their lives: buying and selling a home. The traditional real estate process can be stressful, so it’s been our mission to reimagine what real estate in Canada can look like. The innovative tools and services we’ve developed have been the product of hard work, grounding ourselves in our customers’ reality and a shared passion from our team to make real estate customer-centric.

Special message/advice to small business owners during challenging times

I believe that it’s not where you start, it’s where you finish.

In 2021, we started in a 4000 sqft garage, then moved into a 20000 sqft warehouse in 2022 and now expanding to more storefront sized locations.

Chasing real estate during Covid, almost ended our business. The focus was to perfect the process then get the location to work it out from there.

Great ventures start from small beginnings, and that includes your small business as well as mine. From invention to solving world issues, it’s always going to be painstaking, time consuming devotion in a basement, garage or storefront. Don’t let the size of your operation or its footprint dictate success or failure.

But once you perfect the prototype, you can grow overnight and expand to tight footprint you need.

It’s not about real estate, it’s the realization of your innovation and end product that matters.

The Sustainable Business

ERA Environmental Management Solutions
ERA develops web-based environmental management software for manufacturers that need to monitor air, water, and waste emissions and generate reports for compliance with federal and state regulations. It is an all-in-one SaaS that offers complete coverage of EHS needs for businesses of any size in any industry.

Following its inception as a small consulting firm, ERA transformed into one of the first environmental management software developers on the market, and has grown for the past 28 years to become the trusted provider for automotive powerhouses like General Motors, Toyota, and Stellantis, and countless Fortune 500 and Fortune 100 companies.

ERA owes its success in part to its commitment to human connection. By virtue of being privately held, it has always been able to offer its clients personalized support, bringing its regulatory experts together with executives and EHS managers for immediate problem resolution. In the words of co-founder Sarah Sajedi: “Everyone’s on tech support. Our clients know our scientists by name, and we know each member of their team closely”.

ERA has been recognized as one of Canada’s top 40 SME employers, a top 10 automotive solution provider (MyTechMag), and one of the 30 most admired companies to watch (Insights Success), among other awards.
Sarah Sajedi & Gary Vegh

CEOs and Co-Founders at ERA Environmental Management Solutions

Your thoughts on winning the CanadianSME National Business Award

Winning the CanadianSME Sustainable Business Award is a tremendous honor for ERA. It validates our commitment to sustainability, innovative solutions, and being a role model for small businesses. We are thrilled to receive recognition for our Sustainability module and our flexible work-from-home model, which prioritizes emissions reduction, employee satisfaction, client retention, sustainability reporting, and local biodiversity efforts. This award reinforces our dedication to making a positive impact and encourages us to continue leading the way in sustainable business practices.

Your thoughts on winning the CanadianSME National Business Award

During this recovery phase, ERA advises small business owners to consider incorporating sustainability planning into their operations. Regardless of the stage of recovery or financial situation, introducing small sustainability-oriented changes can have a positive impact while potentially reducing overhead costs. For example, transitioning to a hybrid work model, like ERA did, can cut expenses and provide flexibility.

To embark on a sustainable journey, start by establishing a clear baseline through a materiality assessment. Identify areas where you can make feasible and impactful changes in the short term. It’s essential to monitor progress and not get discouraged if results are gradual. Remember that sustainability initiatives should benefit everyone involved. Instead of focusing on sacrifices, frame your projects in terms of the gains for employees and upper management.

Embracing sustainability early on and implementing achievable measures will not only contribute to environmental and social goals but also position your business for long-term success in an increasingly conscious market.

The Diversity and Inclusion

Webtmize is a performance marketing agency that’s driven by data and powered by performance. Through the principles of integrity, trust, and care, our goal at Webtmize is to provide effective solutions designed to boost our clients’ businesses, be they small or large organizations. As a Google Premier Partner, we tailor our services to maximize each individual client’s results and enhance their online impact through strategic marketing optimizations.
Despina Doukas

Director of SEO, Webtmize

Thoughts on winning the Canadian SME National Business Award

We are incredibly honored to receive the Canadian SME 2022 National Business Award for Diversity and Inclusion. As a company that is 50% female-led, represents over 15 nationalities, and collectively speaks over 10 languages fluently, we don’t just practice inclusivity – it’s a value we truly believe in at our core. This recognition is a testament to the strength that comes from embracing the unique perspectives and world views of every individual on our team. We are grateful for this recognition and will continue to prioritize creating an environment where everyone can bring their full selves to work.”

Special message/advice to small business owners during challenging times

It’s pivotal for leaders to seek diverse points of view and create a culture that fosters inclusivity. By valuing and incorporating the unique perspectives and strengths of each team member, you’ll create a dynamic workplace that drives innovation and success. Encouraging open communication, actively listening, and promoting a safe and respectful work environment are key to unlocking the full potential of your team. Remember that diversity is not just about race or gender but includes different backgrounds, abilities, experiences, and thought processes. Embrace this diversity, break those barriers, and create opportunities for everyone to thrive. When everyone feels valued and empowered to be their authentic selves, your team becomes unstoppable and your clients will benefit, leading to greater success for your business.

Teh Business of the Year

Untether AI
At Untether AI, our company is built on solving this problem. We’ve done this by building an architecture that minimizes data movement which is the largest contributor to power consumption making up 90% of the energy consumption. Untether AI provides the only “at-memory compute” architecture chip in the market. We recently released our next generation architecture — called speedAI — which was built from the ground up to handle increasingly complex AI workloads at scale. This new release offers an ability that is unmatched by any other offering in the market. There are no other chips on the market focused squarely on significantly reducing energy consumption while still offering the highest performance.
Arun Iyengar

CEO at Untether AI

Mr. Iyengar brings extensive operational and general management experience across a variety of markets from automotive, cloud, to wired and wireless infrastructure. Prior to Untether AI, Mr. Iyengar held leadership roles at Xilinx, AMD, and Altera where he set and executed strategies to grow revenues in each of the targeted markets.

Thoughts on winning the Canadian SME National Business Award

This is an opportunity for our team to celebrate our successes! When our company was founded 5 years ago, it was a pivotal moment for the future of artificial intelligence (AI). Being this year’s winner of the Samsung Tech Business of the Year Award is important recognition of the work we are doing to build energy-efficient chips that will power AI technologies, such as autonomous vehicles, smart cities and smart retail. This award will help us attract the best engineering talent and bring more awareness to our role in future AI advancements. Thank you CanadianSME Small Business Magazine and Samsung for this recognition.

Special message/advice to small business owners during challenging times

Business owners have the same challenges whether small or large, and that is the efficient deployment of capital to maximize returns. However, a better way to think about deployment is to measure in terms of impact to the world — the larger the impact, the better our returns. With our focus on energy efficiency in AI, we have chosen a path to help the world sustainably deploy AI. During this recovery phase, focusing on the company’s key value add is extremely important. There will be plenty of possible opportunities that come up that may take business owners out of their focus zone. Being deliberate in only picking those that further their area of focus will help distinguish those small businesses that eventually become big or stay small.

Entrepreneur of The Year

The Scented Market
The Scented Market recognized a need for more at home self care by creating and hand making products such as Scented Soy Candles, Room Sprays, Bath Salts, Bubble Bath and so much more! We have created a lifestyle brand of products and pride ourself in being eco friendly. While both using the best quality ingredients in our products, and also looking at our footprint by offering reusable, recyclable packaging, we have a jar return program at each store and also offer candle refills. Our eco-friendly packaging combined with our self care mission allows our community to bring the spa home and feel good about it.
Kristy Miller

Founder and CEO, The Scented Market

Kristy Miller was born and raised in Guelph, Ontario Canada. Her entrepreneurial spirit bursts through her two companies she has created and established in her community. Now a busy mom of three boys she has learned to find balance between family and businesses while still positively motivating her female community. Kristy recognized a lack of healthy, beautiful soy wax candles in the industry and now makes and teaches how to choose a healthy candle, care for your candle and safety, in order to take some time to sit back, relax and enjoy the candlelight.

Young Entrepreneur of The Year

Disruptive Edge
Disruptive Edge is an innovation advisory and strategy firm with an industry agnostic focus. We are proud to work with some of the world’s largest companies providing innovation-as-a-service, and advising executives on organizational innovation architecture.
Tyler Anderson

CEO at Disruptive Edge

Tyler Anderson is a renowned entrepreneur and visionary strategist, has an impressive track record of founding multiple successful startups and establishing the world’s most premier innovation consultancy. His unwavering commitment to innovation and passion for transformative ideas have led to impactful collaborations with some of the largest organizations globally. As a strategic architect, Tyler has played a pivotal role in shaping corporate structures and implementing innovative strategies that drive growth and long-term success. With his keen understanding of technology and disruption models, Tyler consistently ensures that his team remains at the forefront of the industry, creating unique, engaging, and transformative experiences.

Your thoughts on winning the CanadianSME National Business Award

Being named CanadianSME’s 2022 Young Entrepreneur of the Year is a great honour and truly humbling. This recognition is a reflection not of my achievements alone, but of the dedication and passion of my remarkable team at Disruptive Edge. I consider myself blessed to work with such a committed group of innovators and I owe this accolade to them and everyone who has believed in our vision along the way. This is truly a shared victory, and I look forward to what we can accomplish together in the future.

Your special message/advice to small business owners during these challenging times

As we continue to navigate an ever changing economy and enter the next phase of the post-pandemic world, we as entrepreneurs must remain adaptable, resilient, and forward-thinking. Don’t shy away from change, but rather embrace it as an opportunity to further disrupt the status quo and better serve your clients, colleagues, partners and community. Should you be fiscally responsible? Of course! But don’t let that keep you from taking calculated risks or making strategic investments in your business. Have a bias towards action and iterate until you find what works. One thing I can say for certain is that failure is not defeat; failure is an opportunity to learn, to grow, and will ultimately strengthen your resolve. We find ourselves at the crossroads of so much: a global energy transition, what seems like daily technological breakthroughs and rapidly changing consumer behaviour – leave your mark.

Excellence in Data Privacy & Security Award

FinanceIt Canada Inc.
Financeit is a market-leading point-of-sale financing provider servicing the home improvement, vehicle, and retail industries. Financeit’s innovative cloud-based technology makes it easy for merchants to increase close rates and transaction sizes with affordable monthly or bi-weekly payment plans. The Financeit platform features a fast, transparent application process and has serviced over 9,000 merchant partners across Canada, with over $2 billion in lifetime originations.
Michael Garrity

CEO of FinanceIt Canada Inc.

Thoughts on winning the Canadian SME National Business Award

Very early on, our organization made a deliberate decision to prioritize security and privacy as fundamental components of our business, and this has never wavered throughout our growth. We are incredibly proud to be recognized by CanadianSME for our accomplishments in Data Privacy & Security and will use this accomplishment to bolster our constant improvement. We continuously strive to make our products better and more secure for the Canadian businesses that use them, and the Canadians who benefit from our funding options. We are excited to have been recognized for this work and look forward to continuing to be leaders in this area.

Special message/advice to small business owners during challenging times

In tough economic times, there is a significant opportunity that exists – after all, some of the best companies that exist today were born in recessionary periods, including Financeit. In 2007, when Financeit was started, we were approaching a major global recession. Despite this, during that time we saw our fastest growth to date. While our product was great, the growth truthfully was in large part due to the market conditions, where it was less crowded, which allowed us to grow significantly. If businesses are able to build a solid and sound business model, and keep the business as lean as possible, these types of economic conditions – similar to what we are seeing now – present an optimal opportunity for growth. It is crucial to remember that in these moments, only the strongest businesses survive. However, less noise allows founders and businesses to see a specific opportunity and take advantage of it.

Black Entrepreneur of The Year

Ali Soumah Business Center Inc.
A.S Business Center® is a multi-specialized firm that offers integrated solutions to individuals, self-employed, startups, and established businesses in Ontario and Quebec. We provide guidance in tackling business challenges, modeling strategies, and bringing business visions to life. Since we’ve opened, we have delivered unparalleled results and built our expertise addressing young companies’ challenges.
Ali Soumah

Founder and CEO, Ali Soumah Business Center Inc.

Entrepreneurship flows through my veins.” Being an African-Canadian, I hold a deep passion for advancing economic growth in both Africa and Canada. It brings me great joy to bring together technical and financial partners to aid in achieving this shared goal. With over 15 years of experience in entrepreneurship, accounting, and taxation (including SR&ED), I am a passionate coach and mentor in business innovation.

As an accounting, taxation, and SRED expert, the comprehensive view of helping businesses become more profitable, successful, and sustainable has sparked my entrepreneurial journey to establish Ali Soumah Business Center Inc. (A.S Business Center), a consulting firm that helps startups and existing businesses bring their ideas to life through an implementation system with a high success rate. Our programs have created a thriving ecosystem of thousands of entrepreneurs in various sectors, including cleantech, fintech, manufacturing, IT, agriculture, agribusiness, energy, infrastructure, and housing.

Thoughts on winning the Canadian SME National Business Award

I am truly humbled and honored to receive the CanadianSME National Business Award for Black Entrepreneur of the Year 2022. This recognition means the world to me, and it is a testament to the hard work, dedication, and passion I have invested in my business. I am grateful to CanadianSME for providing a platform that celebrates diversity and promotes excellence in entrepreneurship. I hope this award will inspire other entrepreneurs to pursue their dreams, and I pledge to continue to strive for excellence in all my endeavors.

Special message/advice to small business owners during challenging times

Small business owners have been hit hard during this recovery phase. My advice to them would be to stay agile and adaptable by focusing on innovation and customer engagement. It is crucial to keep an eye on the ever-changing business landscape and be open to new technologies and opportunities that can help your business thrive. Building strong relationships with customers by providing excellent service and keeping them informed of any changes to your operations is essential. Keeping a close eye on your finances and cash flow is also critical, and seeking professional assistance if needed can save you from unnecessary mistakes. Remember, recovery takes time, and patience is essential. Stay positive, be resilient, and keep pushing forward. With persistence, dedication, and your true authentic self, you can rebuild and grow your business stronger than ever before.

Digital Business 0f the Year

DigitalFire Computing Inc.
Digital Fire is an IT provider in Oakville that provides unlimited IT support for a fixed monthly fee, enabling customers to stop putting out fires and use technology as an asset in their business. More than just IT support, Digital Fire helps clients use technology in smart ways to gain a strategic advantage for their business. The combined proactive and strategic support gives clients an edge in their market.

Digital Fire has 25 staff and is a leading IT providers in Canada. Digital Fire won the 2020 SMB Hot 101 Channel Futures award for the top manged service providers in Canada under 10M in revenue (No. 4 globally) and in 2022 was awarded number 123 in the top 500 MSP companies worldwide by CRN. With multiple staff dedicated solely to providing proactive services, Digital Fire puts technology in action to prevent business interruptions for its clients.
Leslie Babel

Founder & President at DigitalFire Computing Inc.

Leslie holds an honours degree in Biochemistry from the University of McMaster. He’s an avid drummer, singer and technology enthusiast. He lives in Oakville and is married to his wonderful wife Melissa and has two beautiful children, James and Emily. His passion is to bring technology to the world in a way that is easy to understand and unlocks the potential it has to make the world a better place.

Your thoughts on winning the CanadianSME National Business Award

I’d like to thank Canadian SME Magazine for this honour and accept this award on behalf of all IT people out there. As the owner and founder of Digital Fire I set the vision, but it’s the staff that do the work. They do the heavy lifting and the innovation and it’s their hard work and success that should be celebrated. It means that a business somewhere kept going, or was able to make a deadline they thought was impossible or a court case got heard or an item got manufactured and shipped or a truck delivered freight on time.

Your special message/advice to small business owners during these challenging times

I would address this message to owners and workers in the small business technology sector. Your job is often thankless. This award is proof that people appreciate what you do. The work you do is important. When you go the extra mile, it means a building was built based on the architectural drawing that got done because the right solutions with the right equipment and recommendations were put in place and quickly adapted to be able to work from anywhere. It means that we acknowledge and celebrate the important work of the unsung IT heroes that kept the lights on and allowed people to get through the pandemic and keep Canada’s economy going and eventually provide the backbone for a successful recovery. Without IT and digital tools like Zoho and the hard work of IT folks, the economy and the recovery out of the pandemic doesn’t happen. We thank you for everything you’ve done and applaud you for sticking with it in hard times.

Business Woman of the Year

Discover Birth
Discover birth provides doula services and prenatal classes. We are committed to supporting the families of our community. 

Discover Birth was Ontario’s first doula agency providing support to expectant families. Discover Birth is on a mission to change the world and believes that through positive birth and early parenting experiences, families can be happier, healthier and closer.

A baby’s birth has a long lasting impact on the physical and mental health of a birthing person, baby and family. The quality of emotional care a family receives during labour, birth and immediately after is critical. That care can strengthen or weaken the parent-child relationship. Therefore, families need consistent, continuous reassurance, comfort, encouragement and respect from those around them. Research suggests that good support systems have been found to reduce anxiety, increase relaxation and a sense of well-being. Discover Birth’s large team of childbirth educators, birth and postpartum doulas is here to provide that support to the families of Ontario.
Stefanie Antunes

Founder/Owner, Discover Birth

Stefanie has been a Lamaze® Educator and doula since 2002 after the birth of her second son showed her just how valuable it is to be prepared for birth and to have good support around you.

Stefanie is a visionary in the childbirth field. She leads the Discover Birth organization providing a variety of services to expectant parents and training for those wishing to pursue work in the childbirth field. Stefanie is a board member with the Association of Ontario Doulas, former Public Relations Director and Treasurer for DONA International, and sits on many local boards and coalitions to improve our communities. She is a DONA-approved Birth Doula Trainer, and runs a Lamaze Lamaze-Accredited Childbirth Educator Program.

Stefanie is a contributing author in the best selling Power of Women United and the book Bearing Witness: Childbirth Stories Told by Doulas. She is a regular contributing writer and blogger, and has done many interviews online and for TV/radio. Stefanie was awarded Business Woman of the Year 2022 by CanadianSME.

Her belief is that the world can be a better place if parents can have more positive childbirth experiences that allow them to bond properly with their babies. She works tirelessly to change the world in this aspect…one family at a time.

Thoughts on winning the Canadian SME National Business Award

The work of being a business owner can often feel thankless so it’s such an honour to be recognized! As Faye Pang from Xero discussed during the awards gala, the hours and dedication that most business owners put in can be life consuming. I was reminded of this recently when my phone was glitching and my daughter told me to just turn it off and on and I realized I didn’t know how! I’m a pretty techy person but my phone is on ALWAYS. That realization struck me that I really need a vacation and some time away from my phone!

Special message/advice to small business owners during challenging times

I remember hearing Oprah discuss the concept of ‘luck’ many years ago during an interview. She defined it as “opportunity meeting preparedness”. I’m not sure how much any of us can really prepare for the rollercoaster of business, but I do know that a common thread can be found among successful business owners: when opportunity presents they say YES. They say yes when they’re not sure how to do the next part. In my profession, which has been built over the past 30 years, 20 of which I’ve been a part of, I often didn’t know HOW to do what came next. But I did it and failed often (sign of a good business person). Secondly I’d say that my business success wouldn’t be possible without my incredible team and the people who have believed in me along the way. The ones who have stuck with me and who support my “yeses” to presented opportunity. For them I will always be forever grateful.

Business of the Year

(100+ Employees)

SRx Health Solutions
SRx Health is one of Canada’s leading providers of innovative, sustainable, and integrated healthcare solutions on a mission to enhance the wellness of Canadians. We have grown to deliver a suite of necessary services to fully support the pharmaceutical sector and optimize health outcomes for patients. Today, SRx has a vast national footprint including SRx Pharmacies, SRx Clinics, SRx Wholesale & Distribution, SRx Clinical Trials, SRx Diagnostics, and SRx PSPs, alongside allied health and nursing. We combine our years of industry knowledge, technology, and patient-centric excellence to create strategies and solutions that consistently exceed client expectations and drive critical patient care initiatives.
Adesh Vora

Founder, President & CEO at SRx Health Solutions

Your thoughts on winning the CanadianSME National Business Award

Winning the Canadian SME Business of the Year 2022 Award is an incredible honour for SRX Health Solutions. It is a testament to our dedication to providing high-quality healthcare solutions to our clients and our commitment to innovation and excellence in the industry. We are extremely proud of our team’s hard work and dedication, and this recognition reflects their efforts. We would like to express our sincerest gratitude to the award committee for their support and this distinguishment. This award will inspire us to continue pushing the boundaries and raising the bar in the healthcare industry.

Your special message/advice to small business owners during these challenging times

Continue to strive to create a stronger economy for Canada and a better future for our children. We commend all business owners (both large and small) who have risked a lot personally and professionally to succeed in a competitive marketplace.

Startup Business of the Year

ORNA is a turn-key cyber incident response and management solution that humanizes and de-stresses incident response and risk mitigation by automating the entire process and bringing InfoSec, IT, third parties, business, and even legal and HR stakeholders together in a single collaborative tool.

ORNA is scaling at lightning speed with 60+ enterprise customers and revenues well into seven figures just 8 months since launch, winning numerous awards and tech challenges, such as Global Omnium’s Tech Challenge 2022 – all in a time when cyberattacks are rising and cybersecurity budgets are shrinking as a result of growing economic uncertainty.
Logan Alexander Wolfe

CEO at ORNA Inc.

Best Professional Services

Since 1999, Solulan has been recognized as a leading specialist of Microsoft technologies around cyber security, virtualization, messaging and unified communications solutions. We have established partnerships with many of these companies in order to always improve the services offered to our customers.

Solulan’s technical staff is composed of professionals with a solid background, several years of experience, as well as various Microsoft certifications (MCSE, MCSA, MCP, MCITP, MCTS, etc.).

With more than 400 active clients, Solulan operates throughout North America, mainly in the greater Montreal, Quebec City and Toronto areas. Its clientele consists mainly of private companies and the public sector. Solulan is also a Microsoft Gold partner and a leading integrator and trainers for Office 365, Azure and Microsoft Teams.
Andre Boutin

CEO at Solulan

Your thoughts on winning the CanadianSME National Business Award

Solulan was proud to be the nominated for the Professional Services Awards. This truly shows and confirms all our efforts made to distinguish our quality services from the industry. Engagement & Expertise are keys values at Solulan, and by winning this award it values our commitment and our value-added services to our clients. But let’s know forget this is a team effort, so employees of Solulan this is YOUR award.

Your special message/advice to small business owners during these challenging times

For 23 years, Solulan has been a leader in the Managed Services IT space by providing added-value services to our customers. Today, it is more than 400 businesses who entrust our team, expertise and offering for managing their IT infrastructure. We hope that this award convince you that we ‘talk the talk and walk the walk’. You are looking for experts to manage your IT projects ? Please feel free to reach out at any point on our website

Immigrant Entrepreneur Of The Year

Fast Track Appliances Ltd.
Fast Track Appliance & Scale is a BC-based company providing installation, repair, and maintenance services to customers on a range of home appliances. With over a decade’s experience in the industry, our trained and dedicated technicians ensure quick and reliable service to give you peace of mind.

Our experienced installation technicians are ready to serve you any day, anytime. We carefully level and secure your appliances, ensuring a hassle-free experience and smooth and reliable operation for many years to come.
Brad Bhatti

Managing Director at Fast Track Appliances Ltd.

Brad Bhatti is the owner and founderof Fast Track Appliances. He recognized the demand for appliance repairservices and immediately jumped on it. 11 years later Fast Track Appliances has 25 employees and is always growing.

As an immigrantfrom south asian descent he has faced many adversities navigating life in a new country. He believes in giving back to the community throughproviding work opportunities for newcomers to Canada.

Within his businesspractices, he followshis motto of ‘Friends for Life’ to create lifelongrelationships which has aided in growing his passion into a lifelongcareer.

Your thoughts on winning the CanadianSME National Business Award

Receiving the Canadian SME National Entrepreneur of the year award is a great honor and validation of our hard work, innovative ideas and contributions to the community. I am extremely humbled and grateful for this award which,to me, symbolizes the recognition of the entireteam’s success.

I have so much gratitude for my family, my team and our clients who push me to continue expanding Fast Track Appliances. We are so fortunate to be located in a country where immigrant entrepreneurship is welcomed and celebrated. Beingan immigrant whereyou start with nothing in your pocket,learning a new language, customs, and culture, building a company from scratch can be extremely challenging, yet rewarding. Winning this award validates the work ethic of our hard working and passionate team of individuals. Throughout all the changes our company has undergone this past year, our team has been nothingbut understanding.

Thank you once againto the Canadian SME for organizing this event and congratulations to all of our fellownominees. I feel encouraged to pour this positive energy back into our community and supporters nurturing Fast Track Appliances’ growthfor the upcoming year.

Your special message/advice to small business owners during these challenging times

As we reflect upon the past few years, it has provided us an opportunity to shift our perspective as entrepreneurs and how we can contribute to the positive changes in this world and within our communities. Now we are in the recoveryphase of COVID-19and we find ourselves in the middleof a recession. Remember to continue to adapt your business model towards evolving consumer needs and preferences. A way to do this is to welcome technology within your company operations. Technology is an investment within your company that offers many ways to cut overhead costs. It can help to pivot your business model to focus on creating sustainable revenue streams that can withstand future disruptions. It is a tool that can be used to connect with your community. One thing that the pandemic taught us is that change is inevitable, nothing is temporary, use the tools available to you to your advantage and let it help you grow your business.

Fastest Growing Company

GDA Capital
GDA Capital is focused on accelerating the mainstream adoption of digital assets by bridging the gap between the institutional capital market and the digital asset capital market. GDA Capital provides exposure to the digital asset capital market in a secure and trusted way. GDA Capital has expanded in 2020 into a group of companies that have exposure across the entire digital asset market, including launching Metaverse Group, focused on metaverse real estate, NFT BAZL, focused on investment grade NFTs, and acquired Life DeFi, focused on making decentralized finance accessible to the masses.
Michael Gord

Co-Founder & CEO at GDA Capital

Your thoughts on winning the CanadianSME National Business Award

GDA Capital expresses gratitude to CanadianSME for this honor and extends heartfelt appreciation to its clients, partners, and dedicated team for their unwavering support. This esteemed award acknowledges our remarkable growth, exceptional industry contributions, and commitment to innovation. The accolade serves as a testament to our unwavering dedication to delivering cutting-edge solutions and driving the advancement of the blockchain and digital asset industry.

Your special message/advice to small business owners during these challenging times

Here are a few insights to help guide small businesses:

Embrace Change: The business landscape has evolved, and it’s essential to be flexible and open to new ideas. Embrace technology, explore innovative solutions, and adapt your business model to meet evolving customer needs.

Prioritize Customer Experience: Focus on providing exceptional customer service and personalized experiences. Build strong relationships with your customers, understand their changing preferences, and tailor your offerings accordingly.

Nurture Your Team: Your employees are your most valuable asset. Invest in their growth, provide a supportive work environment, and foster a strong company culture. Engaged and motivated employees will contribute significantly to your business success.

Remember, you are not alone in this journey. Connect with other small business owners, join local business networks, and seek mentorship from industry experts to overcome challenges, adapt to the new normal, and emerge stronger. Wishing you resilience, creativity, and continued success.

Inspirational Leader of the Year

Options Consulting Solutions
Options Consulting Solutions (OCS) is a proudly Canadian company that specializes in the business of recruitment. Since 1991, we have partnered with our clients to guide them through their recruitment and HR consulting needs.

Our founder, Antoinette King, pioneered the way for a more equal opportunity recruiting industry that had previously been less accepting of inclusion. Her courage, perseverance, and resolve for equal and fair opportunity is embedded in the way we operate, even to this day.
Antoinette King

Founder and Managing Partner, Options Consulting Solutions

As the Founder and Managing Partner at OCS, Antoinette successfully oversees all aspects of business operations, alongside specializing in Senior Management and Executive level staffing. Her mission for founding OCS was to create a more inclusive workforce and today, OCS remains committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion as well as giving back to the community.

Antoinette’s distinguishing attribute is her genuine desire and commitment to support each individual that she partners with. She takes the time to truly understand their values, goals, and needs in order to provide the best possible service and guidance to them.

Having over 30 years of experience within the recruitment industry, Antoinette has gained numerous accolades, including the TopRecruiter award for one of the top Agency Recruiters in Canada as well as the Inspirational Business Leader of the Year award from the CanadianSME Small Business Magazine. Previously, she was also nominated in 2020 for CPSN’s awards as Inspirational Leader, Employee Experience Leader, and Leader in Change Management.

Over the years, Antoinette has not only been a recruiting partner with her clients, she has become their trusted partner and advisor leveraging her industry experience and knowledge to provide consulting and guidance in all aspects of HR strategy and change management. In this capacity, Antoinette’s experience transcends across all industries and organizations both public and private.

Your thoughts on winning the CanadianSME National Business Award

I am humble and grateful for being gifted this award and being among such incredible, deserving individuals. I have so much gratitude for everything that I’ve accomplished, my OCS team, and the people who supported me and my endeavors to make OCS into what it is today.

I feel so fulfilled knowing I’ve made a difference by doing everything I can to support and uplift others by with insight from my life experiences and the recruitment space. I can change lives for the better and that has been the motivation for my entire career. Thank you for recognizing me.

Your special message/advice to small business owners during these challenging times

To all the small business owners, entrepreneurs, and all who are looking to create and build something new: I am inspired by you and the work you want to do. It was wonderful to learn about the amazing things being done by small businesses in Canada and the improvements to our country and society. Remember your purpose and your passion. Remember why you wanted to start this journey and use that to move forward. Even in the face of obstacles and sacrifices that might need to be made, remember what matters most to you and the difference you can make.

I hope to inspire and encourage you to believe in yourself, to challenge yourself, and to go after what you want because you are greater than your circumstances and capable of so much more than you might imagine. Take a risk on yourself; you will see the rewards.

Customer Service Excellence - Top 1

F12.net Inc.
F12.net is a leading provider of full-stack managed IT services, sovereign cloud hosting, and cybersecurity solutions. Our platforms are built on the NIST Cyber Security Framework and CIS controls, making us one of North America’s most secure technology partners. In addition, we are proud to be the first managed IT provider to achieve simultaneous SOC 2 Type 2 and CyberSecure Canada certification.

At the helm of F12.net is founder and CEO Alex Webb. Alex has dedicated his career to delivering quality service, innovation, and growth. His mission is to see hardworking ethical business leaders thrive. He has pushed F12 to become the predominant provider of unique offerings such as managed hardware-as-a-service, geo-redundant Canadian sovereign cloud, and subscription IT. Alex is passionate about tackling the business community’s cybersecurity challenges and feels a professional responsibility to protect the organizations that partner with F12. Alex always looks for the next great opportunity to expand F12’s capabilities and reach.

F12.net has become one of the largest privately held IT providers focused on small and medium-sized Canadian organizations. This growth has been fueled by Alex’s ability to attract numerous internal and external IT leaders to join F12 as partners and owners. Now, F12 is driven by the ambition of 22 entrepreneurial owners who share a relentless desire to deliver high-quality, efficient technology solutions.
Alex Webb

CEO at F12.net Inc.

Customer Service Excellence - Top 2

Fibernetics Corporation
Originating in our co-founders’ basement almost twenty years ago, Fibernetics has grown into one of Canada’s largest telecommunication companies and wholesale providers. As a government-regulated CLEC, we have established one of Canada’s most prominent voice networks, covering over 90% of the population.

Our company purpose, “We empower you for success”, shapes our internal culture and guides the delivery of our full range of voice and data products to our valued residential, business, and wholesale customers.

Our history is one of entrepreneurship, disruption, perseverance, and friendship. Our future is always focused on finding new ways to change the telecom landscape.
Jody Schnarr and John Stix

Co-Founders at Fibernetics Corporation

Your thoughts on winning the CanadianSME National Business Award

“We are honoured and privileged to win this award among so many deserving small businesses. Over the last few years, we have focused on customer service excellence throughout our residential and business brands. It’s always exciting to get recognized among our peers for our efforts and this award motivates us to work even harder. We have many team members working within multiple brands, who interact with our customers on a daily basis, so this award is shared and appreciated throughout our entire organization. Thank you to the CanadianSME Awards!”

Your special message/advice to small business owners during these challenging times

“It has been a difficult and trying time for small businesses in Canada. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to make it to 2023, must acknowledge our fellow entrepreneurs who were not so lucky. I was always told it doesn’t matter how many times you get knocked down, but how many times you get back up and for us at Fibernetics, that has become a real battle cry. With wobbly legs, we must push ourselves to rise from the canvas and continue the good fight. I encourage all small businesses, to do everything they can to keep their doors open. Ask customers, employees and vendors for their support and understanding. We are all part of the same team, all running in the same race … the human race.”

Customer Service Excellence - Top 3

BridgGroup of Companies
The BridgGroup of Companies is different and sustainable in a multitude of ways that include but are not limited to the business structure and culture, and customer service standards and practices. We believe that a company’s success starts at all levels of the totem pole. Every team member’s contribution is equally valued and required for the team to succeed. A daily acronym used in our office to help us resonate with this mindset is T.E.A.M which stands for, together everyone achieves more. At the BridgGroup of Companies, you are not just a number. Unlike larger corporations with hundreds of employees, the BridgGroup operates on a smaller scale which allows interpersonal relationships to better formulate among staff, management, and clients without compromising productivity and revenue.
Natasha Bridgmohan

President & Chief Visionary Officer, BridgGroup of Companies

In 2003 when Natasha began her journey into the financial sector, she had a vision of changing people’s lives in the most positive way she could with the gifts she was given. She quickly realized that to truly make a difference she would have to fully embrace what makes her unique in this industry. She may be a numbers woman with many professional achievements under her belt, but her heart lies in empowerment through education and celebrating successes. Focusing on those two things has brought her clients an abundance of financial success which in turn makes her heart sing.

Natasha Bridgmohan, AMP is the President & Chief Visionary Officer of The BridgGroup of Companies and is proud of her strong commitment and willingness to help others succeed. As a charismatic, energetic and motivational leader and speaker, she attributes her success to something she calls Customer Lifetime Value Experience (CLVE). Natasha and her entire team believe in supporting clients through all stages of life providing them with financial solutions when they’re first starting, deciding their next steps when they become first-time home buyers, empty nesters, retirees and through all stages of life!

Your thoughts on winning the CanadianSME National Business Award

On behalf of my team, the BridgGroup of Companies and myself, we are incredibly grateful to have received the Customer Service Excellence Award. We have always prioritized customer service at the BridgGroup of Companies, to ensure each client’s expectations are exceeded. We are appreciative to have received national recognition for the efforts and strides we take to provide lifetime-valued experiences. It is truly inspiring and encouraging for our company to be awarded with such an accolade. We will continue our dedication to changing lives one client at a time through stellar customer service practices.

Your special message/advice to small business owners during these challenging times

To fellow business owners, we have persevered through a global pandemic. Take this time to build your support system with like-minded entrepreneurial professionals, supportive family, and friends. It is imperative that you take each and every opportunity presented for growth and networking, as it is a fundamental way to expand your business organically.

My advice to business owners during this recovery phase is to be mindful of investment decisions to grow and expand your company. As the economy recovers, it is becoming increasingly unpredictable to determine safe investing options with optimal returns and good results. Always ensure you have a plan for every decision you make, because if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

Indigenous Entrepreneur of the Year - Top 1

Dreamcatcher Promotions
To date, Dreamcatcher Promotions continues to be successful with steady growth. I am thee sole proprietor and continue to manage the day-to-day operations, alongside our 56 staff members. Dreamcatcher Promotions is the largest Indigenous owned promotional company in Canada and is one of the largest promotional companies in Winnipeg. Dreamcatcher Promotions has been registered with the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB) since 2019, this has provided many opportunities to access resources and procurements with multiple Indigenous businesses and Governments.
Michelle Cameron

Owner at Dreamcatcher Promotions

I started the business Dreamcatcher Embroidery as a home-based business in 2011. The company name was changed to Dreamcatcher Promotions in 2013 to better establish and describe Dreamcatcher Promotions as a business which did far more than simply embroidery. We wanted to brand and identify Dreamcatcher Promotions as a promotional company, essentially broadening our services to include a variety of printed promotional products and apparel for businesses, agencies and organizations. The first five years of business were difficult, and we were met with many struggles, and often many days of self-doubt if the business would be successful. There were times of financial strain, long hours, self and family sacrifices and feelings of wanting to give up. I am thankful to this day, we preserved through the hardships and put in the commitment which we did.

Indigenous Entrepreneur of the Year - Top 2

Archipel Research and Consulting Inc
Archipel is an Indigenous-owned and women-led company bringing together a diverse team of Indigenous, non-Indigenous, and racialized associates with the goal of bridging worlds of knowledge.

In our work, we aim to generate understanding and coexistence between communities through our socially engaged way of doing business according to Indigenous and anti-racist principles, theories, and methodologies.

We saw a major gap in the services available in the research field. We wanted to provide services that honoured the knowledge of Indigenous Peoples, and sought to be safe and reciprocal when we approached communities.

We wanted Archipel to a standard bearer of an ethical way of doing business in the field of research and consulting.
Sabre Pictou Lee

Founder and CEO of Archipel Research and Consulting Inc

Indigenous Entrepreneur of the Year - Top 3

Indigenous Box™
Indigenous Box™ is the e-commerce retailer and custom gift service that promotes Indigenous entrepreneurship by creating opportunities for emerging, under-represented and established Indigenous businesses to reach new customers and enter new market spaces
Mallory G Yawnghwe

Founder and CEO of Indigenous Box™

Your thoughts on winning the CanadianSME National Business Award

I am grateful to be in this space where I can be a champion of Indigenous entrepreneurs, makers, artists, authors and creators. Winning this award is recognition of the collective work we do as Indigenous peoples in commerce, taking up spaces that weren’t meant for us and making space for future generations.

Your special message/advice to small business owners during these challenging times

Everything is figureoutable.

E-commerce Business of the Year

Starting in 1983 as Fisher & Co, and rebranding to Hangar9 in 2015, it all began with a goal to help women get dressed for their day and build their personal brand for corporate success. Founded by Jo-Ann Fisher, the business is now run by her 3 daughters – Denise MacDonald, Rachael Doak & Lisa Ferguson – who manage the daily operations and direct the strategic course of the business. The driving force behind Hangar9 is the commitment to providing a unique blend of shopping, experiential retail and unparalleled service, as well as their exclusive Formula to Fashion Success, creating 36 unique looks out of only 9 key pieces. In today’s omnichannel world, Hangar9 is known for the ability to translate this in-store experience to their eCommerce platform ensuring a positive customer experience no matter how you visit.
JoAnn Fisher, Rachael Fisher-Doak, Denise MacDonald & Lisa Ferguson

Co-Founders of Hangar9

Thoughts on winning the Canadian SME National Business Award

We are very proud to receive the eCommerce Business of the year award from CanadianSME. With only 3 years under our belt in the eCommerce space, we have worked tirelessly to build a platform with engaging content, unique shopping experiences and of course an eCommerce channel. Thank you to our digital team, partners and store teams for championing this endeavour and working collectively to bring the Hangar9 experience to the digital world. We have made incredible progress from our initial launch, and look forward to growing this platform further to improve our customized approach to online retail.

Special message/advice to small business owners during challenging times

Entering a new space comes with its challenges, however sometimes the unexpected obstacles are the best surprises. As a business who faced the same challenge as many at the beginning of 2020 with the pandemic, we learned to adapt quickly and pivot our business strategy to open an eCommerce store. Now three years later and recovering from these changes, we have developed a new customer base, and improved the experience for our existing clients. At Hangar9, we live by the mantra “event + response = outcome” and as a result we continue to explore and develop new business opportunities in the face of change, rather than allowing it to interfere with our growth. Every obstacle is a learning opportunity that will ultimately contribute to your long-term development, and if you are willing to be agile, flexible and open to change, it often leads to successful new ventures.

The CanadianSME National Business Awards 2023 is the perfect stage for you to stand out and shine with your accomplishments in the business world. It is a place where all your hard work, passion, dedication, and determination are recognized before everyone in the world. Furthermore, it is the perfect opportunity to materialize your outreach campaigns by attracting more probable clients, employees, and partners.



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