Small Business Awards Canada
Presented by
Celebrating Small Business
Success in Canada
Be a part of the prestigious CanadianSME Small Business Awards Gala on June 7th, 2024, hosted at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.
June 7th, 2024, 5 pm onwards
Metro Toronto Convention Centre, Toronto.
Small Business Awards Canada

Celebrating Business
Success In Canada

Organised by CanadianSME Small Business Magazine

The CanadianSME Business Awards is an important date on our calendars because it marks the day that we celebrate and congratulate those who have made a positive contribution to our country’s economy. Last year we had a very successful turn out with over 400 guests and celebrated over 150 diverse businesses from across Canada. This year we want to continue to show that same support and appreciation for our small and medium-sized businesses.

The CanadianSME Business Awards is designed to recognize and applaud the contribution that small business owners provide for Canada’s economy. Because the SME industry plays such a crucial role in... Canada’s economy, we want to provide our support and recognition to the entrepreneurs who work hard in making their small business a success.

The business awards represent excellence and accomplishment for entrepreneurs because it recognizes and validates all the hard work they have put into making a successful business. The awards also represent several opportunities for businesses, including increasing their credibility to investors and customers. When an entrepreneur takes home a business award, it solidifies their reputation – enhancing trustworthiness in the eyes of others. Receiving an award is often seen as a pivotal facet of a business’ marketing strategy, as it offers award winners a higher chance of competing in the marketplace by attracting more clients and employees.

Recognizing Canadian SMEs and business leaders nationally, join us for the CanadianSME Business Awards night to network and celebrate with other entrepreneurs.

Small Business Awards Canada
Exclusive Partners for - 2020
Small Business Awards Canada

RBC Small Business
of the Year

( Up to 10 employees )

The Leadership Agency
The Leadership Agency is North America’s recruitment partner of choice for the fastest-growing startups. With a mission to help build the most impressive companies of our generation, The Leadership Agency helps startups find and hire best-in-class talent. As industry disruptors with over 15 years of experience and award-winning services, The Leadership Agency has truly become the one-stop-shop for startup recruitment.
Small Business Awards Canada
Jamie Hoobanoff , Founder of The Leadership Agency

Jamie Hoobanoff is the Founder of The Leadership Agency, the recruitment partner of choice for North America’s fastest-growing startups. The Leadership Agency gets to help build the most impressive companies of our generation. Some clients include SkipTheDishes, Endy, StackAdapt, TouchBistro, PagerDuty, Ritual, Justworks. Coming from the corporate world, Jamie launched her firm in 2017 and has continued to grow it ever since; expanding into the US in just 18 months, opening an office in NYC, and earning multiple awards, such as Best Service Provider 2019 (HRD Canada), and Best Professional Services (CanadianSME Business Magazine). A disruptor in the HR and recruitment space, Jamie contributes her expertise to The Globe and Mail, CBC, Inc., and HRD Magazine, and is part of the Forbes HR Council. She was the Emcee and spokesperson for North America’s largest HR Tech Conference 2019, with over 3000 attendees. Jamie is an angel investor and a Founding Member of The Big Push: Taking women-led companies from seed to series A and beyond.

Your thoughts on winning the CanadianSME National Business Award
We are extremely grateful to have won Small Business of the Year (up to 10 employees), and we want to thank CanadianSME Business Magazine and RBC for presenting us with this award. We are truly proud to be a part of this small business community and to have been a nominee alongside so many impressive businesses and leaders. This award is a symbol of our team’s hard work, leadership, innovation, and growth, and to be recognized for it is a great accomplishment for us all.
Your special message to small business owners during these challenging times
It is important to remember that through these difficult and challenging times, you need to follow your gut and trust your instincts. It will keep you from making bad business decisions. Also, don’t be afraid to take risks, because those risks could ultimately help the business grow.
Small Business Awards Canada

RBC Small Business
of the Year

( Up to 10 employees )

Onyx Condo Management
Onyx Condo Management is a division of Onyx Property Group which has over 20 years of Property, Project and Construction Management experience. We are a Canadian owned company, calling the Region of Waterloo home; our service coverage area extends throughout South-Western Ontario.

We believe in a tailored and customized approach to working with our Condo Boards and the communities in which their properties are located. No two communities or buildings are alike; a townhouse community differs greatly from a high-rise community; which is why Onyx CM offers customizable options. Board members can choose either our complete 360 Management Service, Onyx 360 or select only the services which are going to yield the best results for the board, owners and the property.

We recognize that the members which make up a Board of Directors are volunteering their energy and time; time away from work, family, friends, and personal rest and relaxation. Your time is valuable. In order to ensure meetings, decisions and communication is as effective and as timely as possible; Onyx CM maintains a high level of effectiveness and organization; allowing our boards to maximize their time.

Effective condominium management has many facets, from basic property maintenance and upkeep to complicated legal and financial management services that require specific skill sets. Onyx CM is well equipped to handle every aspect of the management process, bringing extensive knowledge and experience to the table. Regardless of size, each client receives specialized attention. Our focus on customer service and satisfaction sets us apart in the industry.
Small Business Awards Canada
Angel-Marie Reiner , President of Onyx Condo Management

Angel-Marie Reiner is the Owner and President of Onyx Condo Management, a sister division of Onyx Property Group, with nearly twenty years of property development and management experience. In 2016 she joined forces with her business partner and Husband, leaving behind an impressive career.

Angel’s background was in sales, selling construction materials to large retailers throughout North America; her background also includes architectural product specification, including structural steel, foundation, building and roofing systems.

Onyx Condo Management provides management services to condo corporations throughout South-Western Ontario. Since their inception in 2019, the team has seen tremendous growth. Their business model is very customer-centric, while they harness technology for enhanced efficiencies. Their team, clients and vendors are treated with a great deal of respect.

Your thoughts on winning the CanadianSME National Business Award
As recipients of the small business of the year award, our team has been very proud of this accomplishment. To be acknowledged for our business growth and our efforts within the communities we serve is a wonderful reminder that our dedication, persistence, and professionalism does not go unnoticed. We have a fierce female team, each who is passionate about their role and the difference they make in people’s lives; after all, we are invited into their homes to assist with protecting their investment and creating and fostering a community.
Your special message to small business owners during these challenging times
To other small business owners, regardless of being in a pandemic or not, my advice is that self-promotion should not be shamed. You have a message, a plan, an idea, a product, a service, maybe you are an industry disruptor, whatever it may be, be sure to be heard and consistently heard from.
Small Business Awards Canada

RBC Small Business
of the Year

( Up to 10 employees )

Star Quality Private Investigations
Star Quality Private Investigations is is a Full-Service Private Investigation Firm, serving individuals, families, legal teams and businesses across the Greater Toronto Area for several decades.

 While we love to rave about our 99.99% SUCCESS RATE at uncovering quality evidence for our clients, the secret to these winning results lies solely in our stand-up Team of Toronto Private Investigators.
Small Business Awards Canada
Adrianne Fekete-Romanick , Founder & CEO, Star Quality Private Investigations

When someone is as driven, passionate, and fiercely independent as Adrianne, owning a business is a natural career choice. Adrianne is one of the first women to venture into running fully licensed, private investigations and security businesses in Ontario; and certainly, the lady with the longest tenure in the role to date. She has led her agency to success repeatedly as a straight-talking, transparent, and compassionate leader committed to ensuring safety and uncovering compelling evidence that reflects the truth. And, supporting individuals as they were forced to face it and the impact it brought into their life. In 2020, Star Quality Private Investigations was the proud receipt of the RBC Small Business of the Year Award. She credits this recognition to her dedication of helping others, an intense work ethic and her entire team. Adrianne is also a Key trusted Private Investigator Media Expert, a 100 Women of Inspiration™️ Book Contributor, a Global Women’s Ambassador, as well as a 2021 Women Of Inspiration™ Nominee.


As an entrepreneur, I credit my commitment to following my inner voice over the outer influences, for my achievements. Most businesses will have to pivot from the way they conducted business, pre-pandemic. Look at today as an opportunity to better what you have already built. Be creative while you find new avenues to reach and service your customers. Protect your business by recognizing its strengths as well as identifying your risks. Be creative and don’t be afraid to ask for help from others whom you admire. Join networks with other businesses and learn from them. These are different times and we are all here supporting each other. Surround yourself with other amazing individuals, just like you, who will share their success plans, trials and tribulations. Never quit, never give up, and remember that this too shall end. The struggle is part of the story. Your story. To all the outstanding entrepreneurs who continue to follow their dreams and especially to those who have been told you can’t, I am here to share ….OH YES YOU CAN!!!

Star Quality Private Investigations is extremely proud to be the recipient of the RBC Small Business of The Year Award. This is a true testament to the culture my team and I have created within our agency. We will be forever grateful to RBC and the CanadianSME National Business Awards for recognizing us. Standing together, besides these other outstanding businesses is a privilege. SQPI’s continued success is anchored in the ongoing drive to better its business performance and service standards through remaining client-centric, compassionate, industry savvy and forward-thinking to define leading-edge approaches to next-level service. Our journey will move forward in a manner that demonstrates resilience, grace and wisdom while honouring the individuals and corporations we serve.

Small Business Awards Canada

UPS Small Business
of the Year

( Up to 50 employees )

Righteous Gelato
Small batch gelato made only with the good stuff.

This journey started 12 years ago with one tiny batch freezer and a pursuit to make the world awesome. Today, nothing has changed except for a braver vision to change the world.

Our Righteous mission is to have a tangible impact on how companies look, how they act, the way they treat their people and what we all deserve in terms of quality and integrity as consumers. The vision has always been built on forging strong relationships, empowering our people, innovation, forward thinking, and legendary customer experience backed by the best quality products possible.

We are, and always have been, people first, and profits second. We think differently, act differently and challenge others to be the change they want to see in the world—we just happen to do it by making gelato. Enriching people’s lives, one tiny spoonful at a time.
Small Business Awards Canada
James Boettcher , Custodian of Culture & CEO, Righteous Gelato

Born and raised in Calgary, Canada, James knew that whatever his life’s work would turn out to be, doing good and having fun would need to be at the heart of it. Acquiring what would become Righteous with nothing more than a dream and a commitment to doing whatever it takes, James has ensured that his once small gelato company has become a force for good and the kind of company you would want your mom or dad to work for.

Your thoughts on winning the CanadianSME National Business Award
“It is a privilege and an honour for our team at Righteous to accept the award of UPS Small Business of the Year! Thank you so much to the team at CanadianSME and all the hard work that went on behind the scenes to bring these awards to life. This wouldn’t be possible without all the amazing businesses acknowledged here and the incredible community we are surrounded by. We will continue to bring this into everything we do while we create something that makes the world more awesome.” James Boettcher, Custodian of Culture & CEO
Your special message/advice to small business owners during these challenging times
“Within all adversity, there is opportunity. Without going through the tough times, you can’t really appreciate what’s possible in the good times. At the intersection of creativity, innovation and aspiration are the most important parts to creating the world we want to live in. Our ethos is to create something that makes the world more awesome, and know that entrepreneurial ambition is the most important ingredient in the success of our community. Communities are literally built around small businesses and people who are willing to take a chance to make the world a better place. So in a time when the future is uncertain, I know that business is inherently responsible for creating something awesome and by working together we can create a future that otherwise wouldn’t exist.” James Boettcher, Custodian of Culture & CEO
Small Business Awards Canada

UPS Small Business
of the Year

( Up to 50 employees )

Transformer Table Inc.
Transformer Table is a Montreal-based commercial and manufacturing company that focuses on the development, innovation, production and commercialization of SMART products in the furniture and interior design industry.

Our core mission is to provide furniture that has a combination of high quality and exclusive innovations with functionality that is space conscious. Transformer Table aims to beat the industry standard through continuous persistence with creativity and exclusive products.
Small Business Awards Canada
Soslan Tsoutsiev , CEO - Transformer Table Inc.

As a veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces, I always give value to teamwork. I believe that this is the reason why I have always enjoyed coming to work. My experience with heavy machinery of the Canadian Military developed my interest in manufacturing mining equipment. This is what I have been doing for the last 8 years of my life.

With numerous new inventions and innovations, my team has been leading the way in terms of growth of market share and client satisfaction. I not a fan of the expression “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. Instead, I try to always find a way to improve and innovate existing systems.

This has been our second award in two years and we are very pleased to be awarded the Small Business of the Year (50 Employees and less). It’s a great honour for us and the whole Transformer Table. We started off this company as 5 best friends and now we have over 60 employees and reaching over $40M in revenue in 2020. Being recognized by the Canadian Business community strengthens our resolve and elevates the Transformer Table team to reach heights that we’ve never imagined. Our journey has only begun and we will continue to move forward.

As small business owners ourselves and going towards a medium-sized company, we have one simple piece of advice we can give to any small business owner that is starting off, follow your instincts. As a creative and inventive company, we thrive on the development of new innovations and solution-driven products. We work diligently and dive deep into research to develop our amazing products. We actively seek guidance from industry professionals and analysts, however, oftentimes will this information conflict with your own convictions.

With our products, we must think broadly, we must also pair that factor with our basic instincts as salesmen, designers, marketers and engineers, but also with being a group of people that are family-oriented, best friends, inventors, explorers and dreamers. Follow your basic instincts and your gut feeling, this will lead you to create the most amazing and never-seen-before products that will shine in front of many others. As they were not built by engineers or technicians but by adventurous and down-to-earth people.

Small Business Awards Canada

UPS Small Business
of the Year

( Up to 50 employees )

Osedea is a sought-after software development company that blends ingenuity, tech prowess, and heart to help you create the future you’ve envisioned for your company. The solutions we build come to life through true teamwork with you.

We specialize in really listening, diving deep into the core of your business, and crafting the perfect creative solution to meet and exceed your needs. Whether you’re looking for a web or mobile application, artificial intelligence solution, or a piece of custom software, we’ll take the stress out of your digital transformation.

With us in your back pocket, a healthy new revenue stream could be just a few weeks away. Code forth and prosper, with Osedea.
Small Business Awards Canada
Martin Coulombe , President at Osedea

Osedea is a sought-after software development company that blends ingenuity, tech prowess, and heart to help you create the future you’ve envisioned for your company. The solutions we build come to life through true teamwork with you. We specialize in really listening, diving deep into the core of your business, and crafting the perfect creative solution to meet and exceed your needs. Whether you’re looking for a web or mobile application, artificial intelligence solution, or a piece of custom software, we’ll take the stress out of your digital transformation. With us in your back pocket, a healthy new revenue stream could be just a few weeks away. Code forth and prosper, with Osedea.

Your thoughts on winning the CanadianSME National Business Award
We felt honoured to be awarded the CanadianSME National Business
Award for Small Business of the year. We were always proud to contribute to the Canadian economy by driving innovation and creating valuable jobs. It’s amazing to be recognized for it.
Your special message/advice to small business owners during these challenging times

We are inspired by all the small businesses out there who are working hard to service their clients and bring their passion to life. Running a small business comes with a ton of rewards, but also the multiple challenges that we face on a daily basis. The key thing, when times are more challenging, is to remember why you started. In addition, acknowledge that you are doing amazing work, by celebrating small wins with your team. And inspire and reward your teams, they are the driving force of your business.
Small Business Awards Canada

Ricoh Small Business
of the Year

( 50+ employees )

Giatec Scientific Inc
Founded in 2010, Giatec has leveraged advanced technologies such as; Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Internet of Things (IoT) solutions, including; wireless concrete sensors, mobile apps, and advanced non-destructive technologies (NDT). With this technology we have helped the construction industry redefine their business models and value propositions by turning concrete testing into a process which speeds up construction, rather than slow it down. As a result, our products have won numerous industry awards and have been used in over 4,200 projects worldwide, across 80 countries.

At Giatec we aim to achieve leadership in integrating engineering practices, research, and developments to achieve sustainable infrastructure. Our strength lies in our experts who have a robust understanding of the industry and solve engineering problems using the most recent research and technological tools.
Small Business Awards Canada
Pouria Ghods , PhD, P.Eng. | Co-Founder and CEO, Giatec Scientific Inc

Dr. Ghods is an experienced entrepreneurial leader with a history of
pushing the concrete industry forward through smart construction solutions. He has extensive knowledge of concrete materials science, corrosion engineering and non-destructive testing. With a Postdoctoral Fellow focused in Materials Engineering from The University of British Columbia, Dr. Ghods has accumulated more than 150 peer-reviewed publications.

Giatec Scientific Inc. is deeply honoured to have received the “Ricoh Small Business of the Year Award” (50+ Employees) from the CanadianSME Small Business Magazine. We have established our role as the world leader in concrete testing technology by consistently fulfilling our collective mission to innovate smart and sustainable technologies within the construction industry. We are highly appreciative of the CanadianSME Small Business Magazine’s recognition of our resilience through a challenging year, as well as the award’s acknowledgement of our sincere work ethic, financial strength through fiscally uncertain times, as well as our innovative and persevering business approach.

Your special message/advice to small business owners during these challenging times
The COVID-19 pandemic and its countless challenges have made it apparent, now more than ever, that small and medium-sized businesses possess an exceptional sense of persistence even when tested by some of the toughest circumstances. Despite being vulnerable to the financial instability of the past year, small businesses continually strive for advancement––something we’ve witnessed having worked alongside numerous Canadian small and medium-sized businesses as well as established and up-and-coming entrepreneurs. Our advice would be to prepare for constant change. With most companies creating organizational accommodations to facilitate the in-person to remote work transition, it is abundantly clear that flexibility is the key attribute keeping organizations afloat as they weather the pandemic’s harshest storms. As the pioneers of several advancing technologies within the construction business, we can vouch for the powerful potential of technology as a tool for small business owners to remain resilient through these challenging but transformative times.
Small Business Awards Canada

Ricoh Small Business
of the Year

( 50+ employees )

The Answer Company
The Answer Company has worked with over 1500 companies from across North America, this has allowed us to harness a wide base of technical and application expertise. Our Sage and Acumatica ERP experience allow us to offer superb customer service and to confidently answer your questions right from the start.

What we do best is building long-lasting relationships with clients who know they can trust our judgement and unrelenting support for their businesses. We do more than just offer consulting services. From helping you ask the right questions, to providing finely tuned details to improve functionality in your current services, we are committed to your success. Our team of experts partner closely with your company to consult, design, install, train and support your distinctive needs and areas of opportunity. We develop software solutions and ensure effective implementation, followed by long-term support.
Small Business Awards Canada
Shawn Ostheimer , Founder & President, The Answer Company

Beginning in 1994, Shawn has spearheaded the company’s growth to become the largest Sage provider in Western Canada. With a Masters in Business Administration and over thirty years of implementing financial and management software systems, Shawn has contributed to every facet of improving clients’ businesses. Taking an active role in the company’s operations, Shawn helps improve businesses by determining software solution fit that generates a substantial return on investment for clients. His emphasis on integrity in customer service has been instrumental in the company’s success and has become a pillar in The Answer Company’s culture.

I am overwhelmed with gratitude to have been selected to receive the Small Business of the Year (50+) title in the Canadian SME National Business Awards 2020. We would not be where we are today without my wonderful team, our clients and our network of partners. Thank you for your ongoing support and trust so that we can continue to do what we do best – Propel Businesses Forward.

And lastly, a major thank you to the CanadianSME Magazine for celebrating business success in Canada and congratulating those who have made a positive contribution to our country’s economy. Sending a warm congratulations to my fellow award winners!

Your special message/advice to small business owners during these challenging times
At a time like this, we need to stand together so that we all can emerge from this pandemic more agile, resilient, and stronger than ever. We’ve always taken pride in our People First approach and giving back to the communities we do business in. This has kept us going during challenging times and we encourage the small business community to continue to grow and support each other as we navigate through these foreign waters.

Today’s circumstances present a unique opportunity for us to help companies like never before. As a Sage Certified Diamond Partner and Acumatica Gold Partner, we are dedicated to utilizing our ERP and Accounting solutions to help businesses thrive and stay competitive in the face of growing complexity and competitive pressures.
Small Business Awards Canada

Ricoh Small Business
of the Year

( 50+ employees )

Simply Group
At Simply Group, we make change for the better. We are committed to empowering our people and partners to deliver exceptional outcomes in the communities they work and live in by creating meaning together. We love making things better for all of us.
Small Business Awards Canada
Lawrence Krimker , CEO, Simply Group

Lawrence Krimker has become one of North America’s most accomplished business leaders. As Chief Executive Officer of Simply Group, he has managed to revolutionize the residential and commercial energy sector, successfully disrupting and transforming an industry that had grown complacent. Through strategic acquisitions, innovative business tactics, and the creation of a specialty financing model that has made high-efficiency energy appliances more affordable for homeowners and businesses, Lawrence has amassed over $1.45 billion in assets for his companies and has helped hundreds of thousands of Canadians reduce their carbon footprint.

Small Business Awards Canada

Excellence in Data Privacy
& Security Award

Volanté Systems
Volanté Systems was founded in 2004 by a group of University of Waterloo Computer Science graduates. What began as a three-person basement project has developed into an industry-leading POS system with a team of over 100 employees in its Toronto, Ontario-based office. From the beginning, Volanté’s point of sale software has evolved based on customer requests and requirements, and has continuously demonstrated its ability to be flexible, scalable, and reliable in the most rigorous and unpredictable environments across a diverse range of venues.
Small Business Awards Canada
Sunil Selby , CEO at Volanté Systems

Prior to his full-time engagement at Volanté, Sunil has invested and played active roles in several early to mid-stage technology companies, through Trellis Capital and Dash40 (he founded PE and VC funds). His executive leadership has been instrumental in scaling Volanté to triple-digit year-over-year growth. He has an MBA from Richard Ivey School of Business (University of Western Ontario) and has worked as a CPA (Ontario).

Thoughts on winning the CanadianSME National Business Award
On behalf of all of us at Volante Systems, I would like to thank the organizers of the Canadian SME National Business Award for selecting us as a winner.

Being recognized by Canadian SME Small Business Magazine is great validation of our efforts to build our company over the past few years, especially the last 18 months through the pandemic. WeThis has primarily been the result of the support of our Channel Partners and Customers and the extremely hard work and dedication of our entire team.

This award definitely motivates us to keep striving for continued growth, success and excellence.
Special message/advice to small business owners during challenging times
As the owner of a small company, it is imperative to ensure that one perseveres through these very challenging times and comes out ahead, if possible, once conditions stabilize.

At the same time, a reality check is required on how COVID has and is expected to affect the demand for your product offering. Through this exercise, any potential to leverage the new environment should be seriously considered. Equally important is to decide if any changes need to be made to the cost infrastructure in order to ensure that there is enough cash for the business to survive through these times. The availability of cash always creates enough options for a business and prevents knee-jerk reaction decisions.

The overarching consideration is an adequate cash runway which allows for a healthy and sustainable business.
Small Business Awards Canada

Exporter of the Year

Canadian Plasma Resources
Canadian Plasma Resources (CPR) is a pharmaceutical manufacturer licensed by Health Canada and certified by the European Union (EU) and the International Quality Plasma Program (IQPP). CPR is a source member of Plasma Protein Therapeutics Association (PPTA).

CPR collects quality plasma from healthy donors. That plasma is used for further manufacturing into therapies to treat a variety of health conditions.

The Need For More Plasma In Canada
Tens of thousands of Canadian patients and millions globally benefit from plasma-based products. These products can be used for immune deficiencies, bleeding disorders, trauma and many rare disorders.

Canada relies on other countries for products made from plasma, primarily the U.S.

Currently, Canada imports roughly 80% of all the blood plasma used in our country from the United States. The plasma used in the plasma-based products we rely on so heavily is collected from foreign donors and sold to us by foreign companies. Canadian Plasma Resources strives for establishing Canada as a major player in this field.

We Are Looking For Healthy Donors

Currently, there are two Canadian Plasma Resource  donation centres available to Canadians living in both Moncton and Saskatoon.

We urge all healthy donors to review our plasma donation eligibility requirements, learn more our donation process, discover more about the positive impact donating plasma can have, and to book an appointment in one of our centres to donate today.

Remember, becoming a regular donor is one of the easiest ways you can help save lives.
Small Business Awards Canada
Dr. Barzin Bahardoust , CEO, Canadian Plasma Resources

Dr. Barzin Bahardoust obtained his B.A.Sc. degree in Engineering Science with recognition from association of Professional Engineers of Ontario in 2003 his M.A.Sc. in Electrical Engineering in 2006 from University of Toronto, and his Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering with a focus in materials interface design in 2012 from University of Toronto. Soon after, He co-founded Canadian Plasma Resources (CPR), a company focused on collection of source plasma and manufacturing plasma-derived pharmaceuticals.

CPR’s establishment licence from Health Canada was accepted for review in January of 2013. Since then, as the CEO of the company, he has led the establishment, regulatory approval, and operation of four plasma collection centers across Canada. In 2016 Dr. Bahardoust oversaw the launch of CPR’s first plasma center in Saskatchewan, with an annual capacity of 40,000 L of source plasma.

It is an honor to have won the EDC exporter of the year. In order for businesses to succeed, the external environment is very important and the quick action from the different levels of government was crucial for us to initially minimize damage made to our business due to COVID and eventually see substantial growth by the end of the year. Exports are a crucial part of the Canadian economy. I believe it is important for Canada’s future to diversify our export products and also the export markets. We are grateful the judges have recognized our work in this area.

To succeed you need to be resilient. The key to success for an entrepreneur comes down to lasting and being there when the right time finally arrives. There are lots of ups and downs and there is a very fine line between success and failure. It may take many years and lots of sacrifices to build a successful and sustainable business. You can’t be emotional and have learn from your mistakes that will eventually lead to your success.

Small Business Awards Canada

Best Business Innovation

Worldwide College Tours
Meet & market to students, parents, and guidance counselors. We work with guidance counselors at private based high schools and top ranked public schools all over the world. We work together to organize private fairs for their students & parents while educating counselors on an international education. We provide after-event marketing & advertising to continue exposure to those same students, parents, and guidance counselor. We also produce the Worldwide College Education Guide, a guide which provides students, parents, and guidance counselor, information on applying internationally.
Small Business Awards Canada
Brandon Grenier , President, Worldwide College Tours

I started my first company when I was only 18. It was an advertising agency that specialized in working with real estate agents. After 4 years of running the company, I sold it and pursued a career in telecommunications. Working for Bell, Telus, and Rogers (Canada’s telecom companies), I gained a lot of experience in marketing, technology, advertising, and business strategy. In 2016, I decided to take another leap into the entrepreneurial field and started Worldwide College Tours.

My goal for Worldwide College Tours is to support those students who may not know what to do when looking to apply abroad, to help parents and guidance counselor with supporting the process, and to provide colleges and universities with ample opportunities to connect with those students, parents, and guidance counselors.

Small Business Awards Canada

Business Woman of the Year

At Kidcrew we aim to offer every service you want and need for your child. From allergists to psychologists, we have you covered! Our crew members work together to provide a comprehensive and collaborative model under one roof. From our friendly front desk staff to our non-traditional 2,000 square foot patient lounge, Kidcrew is committed to providing an exceptional patient experience. Through a focus on medical research, we are leading the way in innovative approaches to patient care. Remember to check our calendar for events and programs for your family including CPR courses and classes on topics such as newborn and toddler feeding, healthy sleep habits and many more. New doctors and allied health practioners will be joining in the coming weeks. You will soon be able to book your routine or sick visits online, and will have access to home and virtual visits through some exciting partnerships coming soon!
Small Business Awards Canada
Dr. Dina Kulik , Founder and CEO of Kidcrew™

I am a mother of four, pediatrician, and emergency medicine doctor. I am a runner, spin fanatic, and adrenaline junky. I am a serial entrepreneur and am passionate about encouraging other women founders and entrepreneurs to follow their dream. Organized chaos is how I thrive!

I am the Founder and CEO of Kidcrew™, a multidisciplinary kids’ health clinic ( We are the One Stop For Kids Health™. We have over 50,000 patients and had over 80,000 patient visits in 2020.

I have a kids health blog,, with information about every topic in kids’ health and parenting. I love to share practical and fun kids’ health and parenting advice & knowledge. I educate in fun and unexpected ways on TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube (@DrDinaKulik). Parenting and health advice doesn’t have to be confusing or boring. It can be fun and entertaining!

From breastfeeding challenges to solid food introduction to managing night terrors, I have been through it all, both personally and professionally.

Raising healthy, adaptable children is a challenge. No one does perfectly, and no one comes out unscathed. Survival is the goal most days! Let’s chat and make it just a little bit easier with tips and tricks for parenting.

It is such an honour to win this award. The other finalists are truly remarkable, inspiring women, and I am humbled to be among them!
As a woman and mother, I strive to encourage other women to become entrepreneurs, even if they feel overwhelmed or think it impossible. I truly believe a woman entrepreneur can have it all, even at the same time. I am living proof.

The Business Woman of the Year Award sponsored by Nerds On Site is given to the woman who has shown success in the business industry. Strength, business savvy, and innovation in their business strategies will be amongst the main aspects that the judges will be considered for this award. The woman who will take home the Business Woman of the Year Award will be an inspiration for all entrepreneurs to follow.
Small Business Awards Canada

Immigrant Entrepreneur
of the Year

Lazeez Shawarma
The Lazeez story begins with the universal passion for great taste. Our founders, while each having different and unique stories, backgrounds and personalities, found a strong connection over their common love for great tasting Middle Eastern food.

This connection united them in a vision to share the cuisine that they loved so much with the community they cherished. The first “Lazeez” in Mississauga opened in 2013 with a menu focused on authentic flavours, freshness and above all, great taste.

Spiced to perfection, marinated right, and topped with our signature sauces, our food hits the local taste buds hard. Lazeez has since become the go-to place for those who love the delicious flavours of the Middle East; and as we have learned, that’s pretty much everyone.
Small Business Awards Canada
Sahib Singh Rana , Co-founder and Vice President of Lazeez Shawarma

Sahib Singh Rana, an entrepreneur, and the co-founder and Vice President of Lazeez Shawarma is a well-rounded and developed individual who has taken part in extensive community-based initiatives. Alongside running franchises across Ontario, his keen interest in cultural diversity and Canadian community development has been exemplified through his involvement with local and global charities. He has previously served as a Director for St. John’s Ambulance. Currently, alongside being a recipient of the Community Service Award by the Toronto Real Estate Board, Sahib is the Vice President for Canadian Eyesight Global, a Director at ‘Canadian Community and Art Initiatives Mosaic Festival, and an avid volunteer of grassroots organizations including ‘Khalsa Aid’.

Sahib Singh Rana spends his free time figuring out innovative strategies to bring about cultural diversity and patriotism in Canada – one of the utmost important things to him.

Thoughts on winning the CanadianSME National Business Award
This award may have my name on it, but the truth is that it belongs to everyone who has worked tirelessly to make Lazeez the best shawarma restaurant in Ontario. There are not enough words to express how much I would like to extend my gratitude towards my partners, Nada Nasri and Rafat Shoukry, the Lazeez Family, and my family who have always understood and shared my passion and drive.

This award exemplifies Lazeez Shawarma’s commitment to moulding the Lazeez Family into successful business people who are resilient, and capable of securing a brighter future.
Your special message/advice to small business owners during these challenging time
During the current COVID-19 situation we are facing unprecedented times filled with challenges. However, this does not mean we need to stop serving our patrons. Right now, more than ever, small business owners need to take precautions to mitigate financial losses. We need to illustrate support for our teams for all that they do and their endless hours of work. Due to the closure of dine-in eateries, it is imperative to leverage delivery platforms and takeout options and readjust menus to fit those options. In essence, to overcome the challenges associated with COVID-19, I strongly urge small business owners to support their teams, be fiscally responsible, and build a strong and happy customer base. God Bless Canada!
Small Business Awards Canada

Entrepreneur of the Year

Safety First Consulting Professional Corporation
At Safety First Consulting Professional Corporation, workplace safety is our priority. As one of the country’s leading full-service workplace health and safety consulting firms, our goal is to provide effective programs and services to companies that require professional and economical safety solutions. Our expert team of health and safety professionals consult with businesses of all sizes, and from a variety of different industries. We are committed to ensuring that our clients are completely in tune with government legislation and regulations. For superior service and effective results, choose Safety First to establish a safe and comfortable environment within your company.

At Safety First, our goal is to leave your company with a thorough and reliable understanding of health and safety in the workplace. We accomplish this through a variety of different services. Our occupational health and safety services ensure that your business is in sync with the Occupational Health & Safety Act. Employers can take advantage of our professional health and safety training, which offers a wide and rich array of informative courses that will get your company in the know. Finally, our WSIB claims management services navigate employers using strategic and comprehensive planning.
Small Business Awards Canada
Mary Strazzeri , President at Safety First Consulting Professional Corporation

I am beyond humbled to have been recognized as Entrepreneur of the Year by a Canadian SME. This award validates that all of the sacrifices over the last 16 years have paid off. I have always been driven to succeed at something, I wasn’t quite sure what that was until I started managing WSIB claims early on in my career, which segued into Occupational Health and Safety. The need for full-service health and safety consulting firm was what the industry needed, luckily it was the right career choice for me.

Acknowledgement of my efforts by my peers and by the CanadianSME is an affirmation that I made a positive impact in my industry and my community of safety professionals, for that I am truly grateful.

I started my career at a Local Union Hall representing injured workers with their Workplace Safety and Insurance Board Claims. I represented injured workers for the better part of 5 years. I then went on to work for a disability management consulting firm representing employers in Ontario. My success at managing employer claims and related costs provided me with opportunities to work for other clients. I jumped at the opportunity to work for a large Drywall Contractor/Home Builder. I felt this position would broaden my knowledge in the construction industry and would open doors for me that would otherwise not be available to me had I stayed working for a consulting firm.

My position at this company expanded from disability management to include health and safety. After 1 year I felt ready to advocate for employers in the workplace on my own and decided to open up a consulting firm that offers both injury management and health and safety services for employers. Safety First Consulting Professional Corporation is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada and carries extensive Errors and Omissions Insurance.

We opened our doors with 20 signed contracts in 2005 and now have over 500 clients in Toronto and the GTA. We are proud to point out that we have never needed the assistance of a salesperson and have grown in size exponentially due to referrals and word of mouth. We have now expanded our level of service to include online workplace safety training. In addition, we consult with our clients as it pertains to a contravention of the Human Rights Code and Accessibility Ontario Disability Act, Environmental Act and Workplace Safety and Insurance Act.

Our ideal customer would be any employer facing compliance or injury management issues. Even a very small employer with a couple of employees could face the same obstacles as a large employer with injuries or health and safety compliance. Unfortunately, for a small employer an injury or a charge by the Ministry of Labour could put them out of business. Having the right tools in place will mitigate damages in a court of law.

Small Business Awards Canada

The Fastest Growing Company is a Toronto-based company that helps Canadians make better financial decisions by saving them time and money on personal finance products. Launched in 2012, we have saved millions of Canadians over $1 billion in fees and interest to date.

We make it easy for consumers to select the right insurance, mortgage, loan, and credit card offer by comparing rates on these products from 75+ Canadian providers — all for free. is the largest impartial and independent financial rate comparison site in Canada. Our product recommendations are based solely on finding consumers the best offers and lowest prices for their unique needs — #JustLikeThat.

We fuel our partners’ growth and success by providing them with consumer leads that are perfectly matched for their offer. Partners have told us that purchasing leads from is the most effective marketing channel for them to grow at scale.

Together with our partners of all sizes and types, we are improving financial literacy and redefining the Canadian financial services industry by making it easier to connect consumers with the right partner at the right price.
Small Business Awards Canada
Justin Thouin , Founder and CEO,

Justin Thouin is the Co-Founder and CEO of, one of the fastest-growing companies in North America. He has been an EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award finalist and under his leadership, has ranked in the top 50 on Maclean’s/Canadian Business’ Growth 500 list of Canada’s fastest-growing companies for four years in a row. The company has also ranked on Deloitte’s Technology Fast 50 the past three years, and won Startup Canada’s National and Ontario High-Growth Entrepreneurship Awards.

Your thoughts on winning the CanadianSME National Business Award
Winning this award based on our revenue performance is meaningful to us on many levels. Most fundamentally, it means we are delivering on what we set out to do when we started the company, which is saving Canadians money on personal financial items. To date, we have saved Canadians over a billion dollars, which means more than ever during this pandemic when finances are at the top of so many people’s minds. This award is also proof that we are well on our way to becoming the first place Canadians go when they have a financial decision to make.
Your special message to small business owners during these challenging times
Your business, just like the stock market, will never go up in a straight line. During challenging times, it is more important than ever to have a focused strategy, to execute as well as possible on your priorities, and to not be moved off your long term strategic path by short term concerns. This is easier said than done, and a reason why it is ideal to have some financial cushion available for the inevitable times when your company is faced with challenges.
Small Business Awards Canada

The Best Team of the Year

Squeeze provides world-classe 3D animation services to creators and producers of animated films, TV series, commercials, video games (trailers and cinematics) and theme parks content.

Squeeze specializes in high-quality CG animation, creating character animations with a strong personality. The studio stands out for its ability to provide solid technical execution, coupled with a high level of artistic performance, thanks to its experienced and talented team.

Squeeze is also the creator of Cracké, an animated TV series broadcasted in over 210 territories and counting over 450 million views worldwide on digital platforms. The animated series features Ed, a paranoid dad ostrich desperately trying to protect his eight eggs from danger. More about Cracké at:
Small Business Awards Canada
Denis Doré , CEO at Squeeze

Ranked on the 2020 Report on Business list of Canada’s Top Growing Companies, Squeeze is an animation studio located in Quebec and Montreal with an international reputation. Co-founded in 2011 by Denis Doré and Patrick Beaulieu and supported by a creative team of more than 200 artists and technical experts, the studio develops larger-than-life characters thanks to the magic of 3D animation. Squeeze works with the world’s elite in the entertainment industry including companies such as Disney, Marvel, Universal, Illumination, Supercell, Warner and Ubisoft.

The studio also produces a portfolio of original creations aimed at an international audience including films and animated series. Squeeze’s animated kids show Cracké is broadcast in 210 countries and territories around the world, and cumulated over 480 million views on digital platforms.

It’s an honour for the entire Squeeze team to be awarded this prize, it has great value for us. We couldn’t have gone through this very special year with the help of our amazing people in Quebec and Montreal. Since our beginning, bringing a positive vibe to the work environment has always been a priority, as well as reaching a very high level of excellence in the quality of our work. Our philosophy is based on transparency and empowerment and we firmly believe that it is by relying on collective intelligence, from all cultures and backgrounds, that we stand out and shine every day.

Stay focused.
When things get challenging, it’s tempting to try and change everything to make it better… But even though it’s crucial to stay agile and adapt, it’s even more important to stay true to the ‘added value’ that your business is bringing to the market. Even if it means ramping down a little bit and slowing down. Staying away from spending precious time, money and efforts in all directions is key. We need to acknowledge that It’s a marathon and not a sprint. And, obviously, no need to say that sticking together and building on teamwork is essential. It is in these difficult times that collective intelligence takes on its full meaning and that the greatest achievements come true.
Small Business Awards Canada

Customer Service Excellence

WebSan Solutions Inc.
WebSan Solutions Inc. is a multi-award winning company recognized for its top-notch customer service and software solutions. With offices in both Toronto, Canada, and Tennessee, USA, we are a premier Microsoft Dynamics Certified Partner and IT consulting and solutions provider. As the Largest Hosting Provider for Microsoft Dynamics in Canada and with over a decade of experience in Enterprise Software solutions, online business and financial accounting software, the experts at WebSan know how to help you transform your business.

Our team consists of over 35+ professionals, with multiple decades of combined experience in the areas of ERP, and IT consulting. We had an amazing journey coming to where we are today and this means we’re able to offer guidance and assistance to any sized company, looking to increase profitability by more effectively managing their resources, and improving productivity and efficiency in their operations.
Small Business Awards Canada
Andrew King , Director at WebSan Solutions Inc.

Andrew King is Managing Director at WebSan Solutions Inc. He manages strategic client projects as well as business development, sales, and marketing at WebSan Solutions. He is a contributor for MSDynamicsWorld and has been featured in The Globe and Mail. Andrew is also known to be enthusiastic, honest, and sharp-witted. He’s a born adventurer and hence enjoys flying planes, riding his road bike, and zip-lining. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN, USA.

To be among great companies and win the Customer Excellence award is such a great honour. It validates the hard work and tireless efforts of our technical support team to achieve outstanding results. Our advice to small business owners is to learn from your customers, prioritize customer support and deliver an exceptional experience to stay ahead of the curve.

Small Business Awards Canada

Digital & E-Commerce Business
of the Year Award

Road Coffee Inc.
At Road Coffee, we’re passionate about building relationships; connecting coffee lovers with coffee farmers. We’re blazing trails, bringing quality roasts and innovative trends to coffee drinkers across Canada.

Our passion for coffee has led us across the world to meet and learn from coffee farmers. We get excited to connect coffee lovers with coffee farmers.

Being smaller means being nimble when sourcing beans and testing new products. We bring unique, trend setting blends to our customers before they reach the masses.

We’re taking initiative, and breaking down barriers, finding ways to pay farmers fairly and directly. Our customer subscription model cuts out the middleman, a win for everyone.
Small Business Awards Canada
Alisha Esmail , CEO at Road Coffee Inc.

Andrew King is Managing Director at WebSan Solutions Inc. He manages strategic client projects as well as business development, sales, and marketing at WebSan Solutions. He is a contributor for MSDynamicsWorld and has been featured in The Globe and Mail. Andrew is also known to be enthusiastic, honest, and sharp-witted. He’s a born adventurer and hence enjoys flying planes, riding his road bike, and zip-lining. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN, USA.

Creating platforms for others to be successful is one of my biggest drivers. Helping individuals build a life pursuing their passions through leadership development, emotional intelligence, organizational culture, and innovative strategy.

I’m passionate about disrupting the status quo by developing culture, people, systems, and products to impact change in the world around us. I view entrepreneurship as a way to solve some of the world’s biggest problems.

Small Business Awards Canada

Best Professional Services Award

Gauvreau & Associates CPA
We take great pride in providing high quality financial services

Gauvreau & Associates Chartered Professional Accountants is an award winning licensed public accounting firm that specializes in providing proactive accounting, advisory, and taxation services to businesses, practicing professionals, and individuals. The firm was established in 2008 based on the vision to create a public accounting firm focusing on 3 fundamental principles:

To provide the highest quality of financial reporting and taxation services
To provide a proactive approach to accounting and taxation planning To provide the highest level of client service
Since 2008, the firm has realized much success which has contributed to a growing clientele and has allowed the firm to continually evolve and add valued professionals to our growing team of accounting and tax experts.

The members of Gauvreau & Associates are also very involved and active in giving back to our community. Our team currently volunteers time with many local organizations such as Camp Kawartha, the Canadian Cancer Society, the Peterborough Minor Hockey Association, H.O.P.E., the PRHC Foundation, the Peterborough Golf & Country Club, as well as Trent University.

At Gauvreau & Associates we value our culture of hard work and commitment to the 3 fundamental principles of which the firm was founded. We look forward to the opportunity of growing with our clients and continually working together to ensure that all of our client’s financial expectations are exceeded and that any services we offer continue to evolve with the businesses we serve.
Small Business Awards Canada
Robert Gauvreau , Partner at Gauvreau & Associates CPA

Robert Gauvreau is an award-winning CPA and founding partner of Gauvreau & Associates CPA who specializes in helping entrepreneurs grow scale and turns a profit. With upwards of 500 clients including businesses recognized on Fortune 500 and Growth 500 in North America, Robert’s firm not only provides advisory, accounting, and taxation services but also helps entrepreneurs find financial success and generate significant wealth.

Our team was thrilled to be the recipient of the CanadianSME Best Professional Services award! We have an incredible team who has gone above and beyond for the clients they serve over the last 14 months, giving the time, energy, passion, and expertise that was needed to support the small business community as the entire community was hit with uncertainty and economic hardship. We feel honoured that we are able to serve the mission-driven entrepreneurial community, and we are confident that those we work with will deliver their world-changing impact for many years to come!

We have just survived what will undoubtedly be the greatest time of economic and global uncertainty that we will ever face. However, on every side of struggle and pain is an opportunity to realize extraordinary gains. Although we have persevered, not everyone has. There will be an incredible opportunity to serve greater markets and to establish yourself as a leader in your industry. The economics don’t lie, the supply has decreased, but the demand hasn’t changed. Now is the time to double down on you, the survivor, the leader that your community has looked to for stability during this time. Now is your time to invest in working with those who have proven strategies and expertise in growth and financial success, to implement strategies into your business so that your suffering over the past year is not lost, but a mere stepping stone to realizing excellence in your space. Your time to invest in you and to lead your industry is now.

Small Business Awards Canada

Inspirational Leader of
the Year

1Milk2Sugars Communications is a marketing & communications agency, brewing the brand building stories of tomorrow. Our strategies are rooted in radical honesty, to be as custom as your coffee. Refreshing, bold and authentically yours. That’s the #SugarFactor. Founded in 2012, with offices in Toronto, Montreal and New York, the Sugars offer turn key solutions for International lifestyle brands. 1Milk2Sugars services include media relations, influencer marketing, social media management, digital advertising and marketing consultation.

1Milk2Sugars is an award-winning agency, most recently earning a prize in the Canadian Public Relations Society 2020 Ace Awards, for Brand Development Campaign of the Year for NIVEA Canada. 1M2S is a Forbes accredited Agency, an invite only network for fast growing firms.

The Sugars represent some of the most prominent global brands, spanning the industries of beauty/fashion, health/wellness, food/beverage, real estate/hospitality and tech. The agency’s roster includes brands like Beiersdorf (NIVEA, NIVEA Men, Coppertone, Elastoplast), Pfizer (Centrum & Emergen-C), Sotheby’s Realty, Red Bull, Endy, Marriott Hotels and Welch’s Frozen Fruits.
Small Business Awards Canada
Priya Chopra , Founder and President, 1Milk2Sugars

Born and raised in Montreal with an East Indian heritage, Priya is the founder and CEO of 1Milk2Sugars Communications, a thriving public relations agency specializing in influencer marketing, social media, and media relations.

Under Priya’s leadership, 1Milk2Sugars has grown by over 200 percent in the last two years alone. The agency has been recognized with numerous industry accolades, including a CPRS Ace Award for outstanding brand development and a PR Daily Award for Best Content Marketing and Brand Journalism. In 2020, the Growth List named 1Milk2Sugars one of Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies.

I’m very grateful to CanadianSME for awarding me Inspirational Leader of the Year. In accepting this honour, I’d like to recognize my fellow SME leaders who’ve met the challenges of the last year with courage, ingenuity and determination. I draw inspiration from you and feel privileged to call you my peers. Thank you and let’s keep going!

My advice to small business owners is to think critically about your company’s value proposition and refine it to meet this moment. What made your business unique or competitive may no longer apply in this pandemic era. Today, it’s about meeting your customer’s needs as they are now, not what they were when you launched your business. It’s much easier said than done, but leaning into a challenge is the best way not to be overwhelmed by it.

Small Business Awards Canada

Young Entrepreneur of the Year

The Canadian Shield
The Canadian Shield produces PPE that is 100% designed, sourced and manufactured in Ontario, Canada. We supply Face Shields for adults, Face Shields for kids, and Procedural Masks across Canada.
Small Business Awards Canada
Jeremy Hedges , President at The Canadian Shield

Jeremy Hedges may be just 27-years-old, but he has always understood what it means to be a leader and that confidence led to the creation of The Canadian Shield, one of the earliest responders to the COVID-19 pandemic fight, filling the need for personal protective gear.

Hedges traces his leadership instincts and the need to make a difference in the community to his youth. Growing up in Cambridge, Ont., he was heavily involved in athletics and student leadership when he attended Preston High School and Wilfrid Laurier University, where earned a degree in international development and politics. He credits his university studies for giving him a sense of the challenges and hardships people face around the world.

“It’s a pretty incredible honour to receive Canadian SME’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Very thankful for the support from my team and all of their hard work to make sure our frontline healthcare workers had the PPE they needed to keep them safe. We also had really great community supporters like Communitech that enabled us to move fast and in many ways, we wouldn’t be where we are without help from teams like theirs.”

“Wishing all of my fellow small business owners the best as we hopefully near the end of the pandemic. It’s been a marathon sprint and we’ve all been pushed to our limits to adjust.”

Small Business Awards Canada

Startup Business of the Year

North Water Canada
We at North Water aim to inspire healthier communities and a healthier planet and doing some honest good. North Water not only nourishes the body with a high alkaline spring water, but also helps the planet by using an infinitely recyclable aluminum bottle. At North Water we believe we are the change.
Small Business Awards Canada
Saawan Logan , CEO & Co-founder, North Water Canada

Saawan is a proud immigrant to Canada and shares a strong entrepreneurial spirit with a passion for sustainability. She adventured internationally over the years, and while her love for the globe runs deep, her love for Canada and its limitless possibilities runs deeper.

Throughout her travels, Saawan gained an elevated appreciation for the clean and pristine spring water of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. So, why hasn’t the country shared its distinctly refreshing water in a plastic-alternative bottle, with the rest of the world?

After discovering and sipping from a stream in the Rockies, the dream took meaningful shape. And her thirst-quenching homage to Canada became…

A thoughtful initiative that honours the land she loves.
It is an honour to win the Canadian SME Small Business Magazine’s Start-up of the Year award. The award is a recognition of the change that North Water is trying to make by introducing delicious Canadian Rocky Mountain glacial water in aluminum bottles. Creating change is never easy, but watching our marine life get destroyed by plastics is even harder. The last 14 months have been extremely challenging for the world, let alone a start-up. This award is our North Star to get us to the end of the tunnel.
Special message/advice to small business owners
Giving our all into something because we believe we can drive a change takes a lot of courage. Now more than ever, Canadians and people around the world are choosing to risk it all in the hopes of a better or different tomorrow. When the journey feels daunting and lonely, remember you are not alone. We have an entire community of change-makers that have dared to take this path less travelled. You are all an inspiration to the existing and next generation of entrepreneurs and innovators. And the world can never have too many of us. In the words of Soren Kierkegaard, “to dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily. To not dare is to lose oneself.”
Small Business Awards Canada

Technopreneur of the Year Award

iS5 Communications Inc
iS5 Communications Inc., is a global provider of integrated services and solutions, and manufacturer of intelligent Industrial Ethernet products. Our products are designed to meet the stringent demand requirements of utility sub-stations, roadside transportation, rail, and industrial applications. iS5Com’s services and products are key enablers of advanced technology implementation such as the Smart Grid, Intelligent Transportation Systems, Intelligent Oil Field, and Internet of Things. All products have the ability to transmit data efficiently without the loss of any packets under harsh environments and EMI conditions.
Small Business Awards Canada
Clive Dias , Founder, President and CEO of iS5 Communications Inc

Clive is a seasoned entrepreneur and the Founder, President and CEO of iS5 Communications Inc. He has well over 25 years of experience in the Power, Transmission and Distribution, and Communications industries with GE Multilin and RuggedCom. At RuggedCom, Clive was the Chief Operations Officer where he provided short and long-term growth strategies while spearheading the expansion of the company operations locally and internationally. He provided hands-on leadership and engagement through various cross-functional departments while maintaining and optimizing P&L responsibilities. He participated in the company’s successful M&A activity, integration activities, and instrumental in the overall growth of the company since its inception. He succeeded in meeting the demands of the company’s increasing revenues year over year leading to the eventual sale of the company.

Prior to RuggedCom, he worked at GE Multilin as the Manager of Mechanical Design and Manufacturing Test. He was integral in the design of products and solutions and in the sale of the company to GE. Clive is a CMET from Ryerson University, has a Six Sigma Blackbelt, and holds 6 patents.

Your thoughts on winning the CanadianSME National Business Award
Winning the CanadianSME National Business Award for Technopreneur of the Year was a very proud moment for me and iS5, especially during the pandemic. The team at iS5 did not stop working during these times and we are very proud of everyone’s continued dedication to the company and our customers. iS5 provides products to utilities and other critical infrastructure verticals that in turn are relied upon to ensure their customers have reliable power. Thank you again for awarding me and iS5 this award and congratulations to all the winners and nominees from the 2020 Canadian National Business Awards.
Your special message/advice to small business owners during these challenging times
My advice to small business owners is to make sure that they look after and support their employees. They are the company and without them, we would not have a business. Empower them and they will power your business.
Small Business Awards Canada

Technopreneur of
the Year Award

We enhance customer experience with our revolutionary kiosk.
Small Business Awards Canada
Gurinder Singh , Founder, ElectricGo

Gurinder has a Bachelor’s of Commerce degree with Honours and is also an Accountant. He has competed at various athletics competitions such as winning gold at professional powerlifting and bronze at natural bodybuilding. He built ElectricGo from the ground up, which has now partnered with some of the largest education institutions and chains. Gurinder has grown ElectricGo to partnerships in cities throughout North America including as far south as Orlando, Florida. Gurinder’s energy and resilience is contagious, and he successfully delivers excellence in any engagement. Outside of work, Gurinder’s community service efforts vary.

He has supported a number of local community centers. He has served as the Chair of the Parks Committee. In this role, he facilitated the process of acquiring artists to complete a $50,000, six-month community art project. Gurinder has also served as the Treasurer of a local community centre. In this role, he applied his Accountancy background to manage an $850,000 budget, provide leadership during key events, and implemented an in-house payroll system for approximately 60 employees to increase efficiency. Gurinder was constantly building relationships for the Centre and took it upon himself to steward getting them in a position to be sustainable. Gurinder currently serves as a volunteer Trustee of a local non-profit association, serving a community of 200,000.

American Best Selling Author H. Jackson Brown, Jr said, “Don’t work for recognition, but do work worthy of recognition.” We share this philosophy at ElectricGo, and it is truly an honour to be recognized by the CanadianSME National Business Awards. Our team works hard despite challenges, to provide value for our partners and customers.

It has always been clear to me that our team’s work is recognition worthy, and we are pleased that the CanadianSME agrees. I would therefore like to express our sincere appreciation on behalf of ElectricGo. We are truly humbled to receive this award.

To our colleagues in the technology sector, we have a massive responsibility as leaders in charge to make the world a better place. The current and future generations are depending on us to provide jobs and improve their quality of life. We must therefore continue to innovate creatively; while sustaining the environment and our scarce natural resources. Innovation and growth come primarily from within.

Let’s challenge our teams to deliver epic productivity levels by continuously exceeding customer’s expectations. Happy customers promote our brands, and a popular brand is a valuable one.

Small Business Awards Canada

Black Entrepreneur of
the Year

Smooth Meal Prep
We are not just a business, we are a family!

Smooth Meal Prep is a local family owned and operated business founded in 2018. Since late 2018 we’ve prepared over 10,000 meals, making our customers lives easier, providing jobs for our community, and bringing our family closer together.

Who We Are

We are health and fitness focused family led by our Co-Founder and CEO Nevell Provo, a former Team Canada athlete and Fitness Coach. Co-Founder and Head Chef Karen Provo a.k.a Mom, brings in the perfect fusion with elite culinary skills, and over 30 years of cooking experience.

Our Vision

Our team and family is firstly committed to delivering convenient delicious and nutritious meals to Haligonians, helping them reach fitness goals or just maintain a healthy life.
Small Business Awards Canada
Nevell Provo , Founder/CEO at Smooth Meal Prep

I am a team player that focuses on goals and results, with strong leadership and organizational skills. I am reliable, motivated, and I have an exceptional will to learn. These are all skills I use in my everyday life to achieve my goals. I have picked up many skills through my experience playing sports across North America while maintaining honor roll grades. These skills include: working closely with others, being detail-oriented, and learning many aspects of time management.

“I am honoured to be the winner of this award, my family, friends and community is extremely proud. I’ve received a wave of congratulations and attention to my business during this time, and we are super grateful. But one of the biggest standouts for me was the message I received from a youth where he explained he wanted to be just like me. That’s what this is all about, young black youth seeing themselves in these successful positions.”

“My advice to small business during this time. Adapt, stay agile, and find a way! It’s challenging for all of us, there’s a ton of people or organizations or governments to blame, but it is only your responsibility to keep your business alive. Customer needs are changing, the world is changing. So listen closely to those needs, and create the products to solve those problems”.

Small Business Awards Canada

The Fastest Growing Company

Canadian Mortgage Inc.
We work with a wide range of public and private lenders, including banks, insurance companies, investment trusts, credit unions, private lending corporations, and a diverse variety of other companies.

And because we’re not a bank – you are not limited to just a single set of products from a single lender. We’ll work overtime to find the best loan for you – no matter how far or how long we have to search for it. We won’t stop until we’ve found you the best possible financial option available on the market.

We are also pleased to note that Bryan Jaskolka, CMI’s Chief Operating Officer (COO), was nominated as the Mortgage Broker of the Year at the 2018 Canadian Mortgage Awards.
Small Business Awards Canada
Bryan Jaskolka , CEO, Canadian Mortgage Inc.

Bryan has been the managing executive and visionary behind CMI Financial Group since its inception in 2005. Under his leadership, CMI has grown to become the multi-faceted, award winning institution it is today. With expertise in residential, construction and commercial financing, Bryan has facilitated more than $1 billion in mortgage financing and has been recognized as a key contributor and driving force within the Canadian private lending and mortgage financing industries. Bryan’s vision and strategic leadership have fuelled CMI’s evolution from a family-owned mortgage brokerage to become Canada’s premier private mortgage lender. He was named a Top Executive in Lending in 2019 by the Canadian Lenders Association and is also a committee member for the Canadian Mortgage Brokers Association (CMBA).

We are honoured and humbled to receive the prestigious CanadianSME National Business Award for the fastest growing company. As CMI celebrates 15 years of excellence in the mortgage industry, we owe our tremendous growth and success to our dedicated team, who work tirelessly and are the true lifeblood of our business. This award reaffirms our commitment and dedication to strategic business planning and innovation, which have been the cornerstones of our operations, leading us to become Canada’s premier private mortgage lender.

Special message/advice to small business owners during these challenging times
The past year and a half have been challenging for many small businesses and Canadians alike. Despite these monumental challenges, and perhaps because of them, Canadian businesses have been able to showcase their ingenuity, creativity, and resilience. My advice is don’t be afraid to take a chance, to make a change, to pivot and to think outside the box. Taking chances and calculated risks is what defines true entrepreneurs. Although change is difficult, it is our only means of evolving in the face of constant trials and tribulations and keeping up with the world around us.
Small Business Awards Canada

The Best Place To Work

We’re obsessed with your success and creating digital experiences your users will genuinely love. Since 2001, ImageX has been delivering awesome Drupal websites that are beautiful inside and out.

We take pride in the websites we build. Some have received awards, others have been featured in articles or online galleries for their great design. But we’re even prouder of the people who create them.

Whether roasting coffee or racing cars, hitting the links or the slopes, we’re passionate about what we do and are constantly pushing ourselves, and the web to get better.
Small Business Awards Canada
Glenn Hilton , Founder and CEO of ImageX

Glenn’s role at ImageX encompasses company vision, leadership oversight, and strategic partnerships and he is constantly on the lookout for A-level talent to join their growing team at their offices in Vancouver, Canada, and Kiev, Ukraine. He is passionate about open source and has been an active participant in the Drupal community for over a decade. Glenn understands that relationships are the key to success, his personal mission is to enable each ImageX team member to reach his or her full potential so they can help build powerful, user-centric solutions to enable ImageX’s clients to grow and deliver results.

Small Business Awards Canada

The Best Business Support Organization

Startup Canada
Startup Canada is the gateway to Canada’s entrepreneurial ecosystem that points you in the right direction, eliminates barriers, and champions your needs to private and public sector partners. We connect you with support organizations and peers across the country with industry expertise, regional knowledge, and funding to help you start and build successful businesses.
Small Business Awards Canada
Kayla Isabelle , CEO & Executive Director of Startup Canada

Kayla Isabelle is the Executive Director of Startup Canada, the national rallying community supporting and giving a voice to Canada’s 3.5 million entrepreneurs. Kayla has dedicated her career to supporting entrepreneurs, both in Canada and internationally. Kayla is an award-winning strategic communications consultant and change management facilitator and is passionate about leveraging the power of storytelling in the entrepreneurial community.

Your thoughts on winning the CanadianSME National Business Award
I’m beyond proud of all of the work that the Startup Canada team has done for entrepreneurship in Canada. Thank you CanadianSME Small Business Magazine for the Best Business Support Organization Award. This award isn’t just for us, it’s for every entrepreneur out there taking big risks, running with crazy ideas, and supporting their families during COVID-19. We need to continue putting entrepreneurs and their stories at the forefront of Canada’s economy, supporting startups and small businesses is more important than ever. We’ve been supporting startups navigate and champion entrepreneurship for almost a decade now, here’s to many more.
Your special message/advice to small business owners during these challenging times
Surviving as an entrepreneur or startup has been beyond difficult during a pandemic, that much is clear. But what is also clear, is the sheer tenacity and resilience of Canadian entrepreneurs when faced with adversity. We know it’s been challenging, and we deeply admire your commitment to keep the entrepreneurial spirit alive.
Small Business Awards Canada

Fintech Business of the Year

Zafin, the global leader in SaaS cloud-native product and pricing solutions, is a trusted partner to the world’s most customer-centric financial institutions. Zafin’s product and pricing platform empowers banks of all sizes to center their customers, grow relationships and drive revenues.

The Zafin platform separates product and pricing from core processing to accelerate progressive modernization, enable digital transformation and deliver personalization at the relationship level.

A typical Zafin installation integrates easily with most back-end systems and customer-facing channels to increase product and pricing efficiency and agility, drive interest and non-interest income, and deliver a positive ROI—often in one year or less.
Small Business Awards Canada
Al Karim Somji , Founder and CEO, Zafin

Zafin, a Canada-based fintech, is the global leader in SaaS cloud-native product and pricing management solutions for banks. As a trusted partner to the world’s largest and most customer-centric financial institutions, Zafin’s product and pricing platform empowers banks to centre their customers, grow relationships and drive revenues.

Zafin is a proudly Canadian company that serves financial institutions across the globe. Since 2002, Zafin has enabled banks to increase efficiencies, grow relationships, ensure regulatory compliance and accelerate digital transformation. Initially developed as an on-premise solution, Zafin transformed to become fully SaaS in the cloud well ahead of the curve in 2017. The platform delivers game-changing business results while integrating easily with back-end systems and customer-facing channels. Zafin’s suite of applications can be implemented quickly, with minimal changes to existing infrastructure, to improve the precision, integrity and flexibility of banks’ product and pricing strategies at the segment and customer levels. By equipping banks with a means to decouple product and pricing from core processing, thereby enabling personalization down to a segment of one, institutions on Zafin’s platform can innovate freely and serve fully, executing relevant and compelling product and pricing strategies in half the time.

Al Karim Somji is an award-winning serial entrepreneur and true innovator. With over 20 years of experience in the information technology industry, he has a knack for founding and growing businesses and an impressive track record of personal and professional excellence.

In 1991, Mr. Somji graduated summa cum laude in computer engineering from the University of Ottawa and began his career at Bell Canada. He went on to found OpCom Solutions, an IT infrastructure management company, which was acquired in 1997.

Building on his experience in IT, business development, sales and corporate engineering, Mr. Somji founded Eftia in 1997. As CEO, he grew Eftia from a team of 16 to more than 400 and secured two rounds of venture financing. His business prowess led to strategic alliances with several global powerhouses.

In 2002, Mr. Somji embarked on yet another entrepreneurial venture and founded Zafin, the leading global SaaS cloud-native product and pricing management platform for banks. Zafin has over 315 employees globally.

Mr. Somji has won many prestigious awards, recognizing his excellence in entrepreneurship and management including: Gold Medal Finalist for Top Entrepreneur, Gold Medal for Top Company, Top 40 Under 40 Entrepreneur (Ontario), Top 40 Under 40 Entrepreneur (Canada), and Finalist for Top National Entrepreneur for Technology Innovation (Canada).

Small Business Awards Canada

The Fastest Growing Company


Vendasta is the leading platform for channel partners who provide digital solutions to small- and medium-sized businesses. Our partners get access to an end-to-end e-commerce platform that allows them market, sell, bill, fulfill and serve digital solutions to their business clients–all from a single login. It’s free to start! Sign up today.
Small Business Awards Canada
Jeff Tomlin , Co-Founder & Chief Marketing Officer of Vendasta

Vendasta co-founder Jeff Tomlin is a visionary in all things marketing, SEO, and digital. His passion and innovative nature drive the success of the business. While conducting market research and developing strategies, he is always measuring and analyzing the effectiveness of the marketing efforts. Tomlin is constantly developing and iterating marketing and public relations plans, seeking out the most effective paths.

Your thoughts on winning the CanadianSME National Business Award
Our purpose is to drive local economies by democratizing technology for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). When COVID-19 hit, SMBs were disproportionately affected. Most had a modest digital presence and were not e-commerce enabled. Our company helps by providing local experts, like marketing agencies, with e-commerce and other digital solutions to support their SMB clients. Our platform and tools help businesses navigate the permanent changes to the economy. Vendasta’s growth has been made possible through the success of our channel partners and their drive to help SMBs transform digitally. We dedicate this award to them.
Your special message/advice to small business owners during these challenging times
COVID-19 has been a forcing function for digital adoption. Customers have changed their habits. It’s more important than ever for SMBs to have an effective online presence. Owners should sit down and simply Google their own business. Are the digital listings accurate? Are your business’s reviews positive? Do you have a website? These are the starting points for most customer transactions. Once your online presence is polished, ensure your customers can transact with you online effectively. This said, finding the right solutions to address a business’s needs can be overwhelming. Who do you turn to for improving your digital listings or getting a website? Working with a local expert to prescribe a variety of