Small Business Awards Canada
Celebrating Business
Success in Canada
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.
Small Business Awards Canada
Small Business Awards Canada
Entry checklist
Before you fill out your forms, here are some important pointers that are worth going through:
We have very limited spots up for grabs, therefore, it’s quite important to catch the judges’ attention.
Take care of the word limit while filling out the nomination form and make sure that you are concise and to the point.
Never rush! Of course, you need to respect and follow the deadline. However, do not leave it for the last minute and end up rushing in order to apply.
Let the judges know your story and how did you land up where you are!
We know that you are a successful business owner and are making a mark in your field. So, while applying make sure you have as many testimonials and attachments to substantiate your entry
Spell out your business success. Use bullet pointers and proper subheadings to express what you wish to communicate.
Remember, how you frame your sentences matters! Therefore, ensure that you don’t make any grammatical mistakes.
Lastly, be passionate and do not fluff!
Canadian entrepreneurs are more than just business owners of a successful company. They are the innovators of our country. Through their flourishing businesses, they push our economy to the next level and because they play such a crucial role in Canada’s economy, we want to recognize their hard work and applaud their efforts through the CanadianSME Business Awards. The award marks the day that we celebrate and congratulate those who have made a positive contribution to our country’s economy.
While the award indeed is a celebration, it is just not limited to that. The CanadianSME Business Awards is also a platform where entrepreneurs and business owners from different industries come under one roof all with one goal – to cheer on their fellow men and women of business! When great minds meet, even greater things happen – ideas form, and magically weaves their way for a greater good. Therefore, our event is an important day and will be covered across all our social media and websites.
Small Business Awards Canada

1. If you are wondering which category you should enter, well you can enter either one or as many as five.

2. Make sure that you are entering the categories that are relevant to your business.

3. While entering different categories, ensure that you are not copy-pasting the same thing.

4. Read the different criteria for different categories before filling the form.

Finally
If you are that lucky winner of the CanadianSME National Business Awards 2023, do not forget to brag a little on your website. Of course, all your hard work does deserve some recognition now, doesn’t it?

So, what are you waiting for? Get started now!

  • The awards are open to all small businesses in Canada within the retail, service, and manufacturing industries. There are no restrictions. You can be home-based or a solopreneur as long as the following eligibility is met.
  • To enter the CanadianSME National Business Awards, all applicants must read and understand the terms and conditions in this document (Terms and Conditions) and complete the online entry form for their chosen category.
  • Any business facing legal trials or the owners involved in any kind of legal trials are ineligible to apply for the awards. If you have applied, your application will be cancelled automatically.
  • All entrants into the CanadianSME Awards will be notified of any change to these terms and conditions that has taken place before their entry is judged and will be provided with a reasonable opportunity to amend or alter their entry (should they wish to do so).
  • Enterprises wishing to enter the CanadianSME National Business Awards 2023 must be registered Canadian businesses to be eligible. Additionally, it is required for enterprises to have demonstrable revenue growth year-on-year for at least the last two fiscal years.
  • All submissions must be lodged through the CanadianSME Awards website at smeawards.ca (Website).
  • By lodging your entry, you agree to provide CanadianSME, and any other third party undertaking external validation on its behalf, with any relevant documentation requested to assess your application (including verifying your entry against the eligibility criteria requirements set out in these terms and conditions).
  • Applicants must be in business for a minimum of two years.
  • Each organization can apply for up to five award categories.
  • Businesses in the new business category must be in operation for less than 2 years.
  • Judges have the right to create or delete additional categories, depending on the number of entries received.
  • If an entrant selects more than one category, judges have the right to determine the most appropriate category for that entrant without notification or consultation.
  • The decision of the judging panel is final and ultimate.
  • Unsuccessful and successful finalists will be notified via email.
  • Once you submit your entries, the information cannot be changed or added.
  • To be eligible, the young entrepreneur must be 30 years of age or younger.
  • If we notice that the information furnished is falsified, hidden, or incorrect in any manner, the applicant shall be automatically disqualified without written or verbal notice.
  • By entering the CanadianSME National Business Awards 2023, applicants agree to receive relevant communications from CanadianSME.
  • We reserve the right to disqualify entries if the answers to the questions are incomplete or irrelevant.
  • The CanadianSME National Business Awards 2023 reserves the right to alter or change these terms and conditions at any time at its discretion.
  • All entries must be submitted by January 31st, 2024.
  • CanadianSME does not guarantee to share all the marketing collateral for every nomination on their social media channels.
  • Please check our website, smeawards.ca, for event updates.
All entries are judged by a panel of subject matter experts, selected by CanadianSME Small Business Magazine from business and community leaders, which may also include previous partners and Category Sponsors.

At its discretion, CanadianSME applies a weighting to each question, based on the complexity of that question in relation to all questions within a category.

Judges will allocate scores to each question asked, and these scores will be multiplied by an unseen weighting to reach an overall score for each entry.

There will be more than one winner for only categories such as Small Business of the Year, 10 employees, 50 employees and 100 employees, Fintech business of the year.

Where there are two or more entries with the same highest score, the judging panel will be reconvened for the determination of the winner. If after the judging panel has been reconvened, there are still two or more entries with the same highest score, the CanadianSME President will have the final determination.

Judges are required to sign a confidentiality agreement and disclose any conflict of interest.

The Judging Panel’s decision is final, and no further correspondence will be entered into.

In situations where there is only one entrant for a category in an Award, this entry will be judged. Subject to meeting a gateway score, the entry will become an automatic SME Finalist and will be awarded a SME Finalist Award.

A representative of CanadianSME or the Judging Panel may contact any entrant via telephone interview or email for further information or to verify their entry prior to selecting the final preferred winner. Conducting such interviews does not create any obligation on CanadianSME or the Judging Panel to select the interviewed entrant as a winner.
Upon their submission pursuant to these Terms and Conditions, entries become the property of CanadianSME. All information provided in the entry form will be used for the purpose of judging only and will be treated as commercial-in-confidence by CanadianSME and any of its related or controlled entities unless otherwise specified.

If you are selected as a nominee in the CanadianSME Awards, the information provided in your entry (excluding financial information) will be used for the purpose of promoting the CanadianSME Awards and your business.

Contact information provided in your entry form may be disclosed to sponsors for the purpose of direct opportunities for promotion through sponsor partners. You can refuse the disclosure of contact information to sponsors by advising Maheen Bari at [email protected] in writing.
Refer to the Key Award Dates page on the website for entry closing dates.

CanadianSME reserves the right to extend or vary the entry period if required, before or after the CanadianSME National Business Awards entry period commences.
Refer to the Key Award Dates page on the Website for entry opening dates.

CanadianSME reserves the right to extend or vary the entry period if required, before or after the CanadianSME National Business Awards Entry period commences.
All entries for consideration must be lodged online and include all the required information.

CanadianSME reserves the right to declare any entry ineligible, if at any time during or after the term of the award process your entry form is found to be incomplete, deficient, false, or misleading in any way.
During the Awards Ceremony, we may shoot video footage and take photographs of the Awards Ceremony which may include video footage and photographs of you and/or your booked Attendees. We will make use of such footage and photographs in promoting the event on our platform.
Unless expressly stated, no provision of this Agreement is enforceable by, or intended to benefit, any person who is not a party to this Agreement.
We expressly agree that we shall be entitled to refer to you as an Attendee of our Awards Ceremony in sales and marketing literature (including websites) and reproduce your logo and/or trademark for that sole purpose.
The CanadianSME Awards comprise of the following categories:
Young entrepreneurs are the future of the business industry in any part of the world. They demonstrate innovation by finding new and inventive ways to fix problems and show a great deal of social savviness. Aged 30 and under, the Young Entrepreneur of the Year nominees will demonstrate how they have used their skills to build a successful, sustainable, and blooming business that is rare for their age. Opportunity grabbers, dynamic responses, passionate about innovation and progress, the Young Entrepreneur of the Year is an inspiration for business owners everywhere.
Technology is the way of the future and businesses who strategically embrace technology will be recognized through the Technopreneur of the Year Award. Entrepreneurs who use innovative ways to find solutions to several business problems and embrace it in their business operations will be considered in this category. Judges are looking for businesses who embraced technology by implementing it in their business practices that have positively impacted their cost-effectiveness and resultingly in substantial business growth opportunities.
The Best New Business Award recognizes start-up companies that have shown significant promise through their growth and successful business strategy. Entrepreneurs will be asked to show how their new business has scaled since its launch and how well they are doing in comparison to other start-ups. Evidence of the success and a demonstration of a solid business plan for growth will be among the aspects that the judges will consider for the winner.
The Small Business of the Year award is given to small-scale businesses with less than 100 employees who have shown exceptional growth in the past two years. The company that will receive this award will have demonstrated leadership, innovation, growth in profits, and a brilliant business plan for the future throughout the year. The judges will consider aspects such as a solid financial base, growth potential, peer recognition, and innovative business approach for the winner of this award.

The Small Business of the Year Award (50-100 employees) is an annual award given to a small business that has demonstrated outstanding achievement and success over the past year. This award recognizes businesses that have made a significant impact in their community and have shown a commitment to excellence in all aspects of their operation. To be eligible for this award, businesses must have 50-100 employees and be in operation for at least one year. This prestigious award is a great way to recognize the hard work and dedication of small businesses across the country.

The Small Business of the Year Award is given to small-scale businesses with less than 10 employees who have shown exceptional growth in the past two years. The company that will receive this award will have demonstrated leadership, innovation, growth in profits, and a brilliant business plan for the future throughout the year. The judges will consider aspects such as a solid financial base, growth potential, peer recognition, and innovative business approach for the winner of this award.
The Small Business of the Year Award is given to the company that has shown an increase in profits throughout the year and a solid business plan for its growth strategy. Judges are looking for small businesses that stand out from the rest. The small business that demonstrates innovation, leadership, thoughtful business planning, and growth potential will be recognized and felicitated with this honor.
Beyond the economic contribution to Canada, Indigenous entrepreneurship is important in numerous ways. This award recognizes the excellence, resilience, innovation of Indigenous businesses while contributing long-term success for these innovative leaders who have found their own voice within an ever-changing world. The judges are looking for a driven entrepreneur who has shown continuous growth and sustainability in their business. The successful candidate should have an established brand with plans of continuing success, as well as solid experience running this type of company already under his belt or her wing! The contribution made by this company will be even greater after they win!
The Inspirational Leader of the Year Award recognizes an entrepreneur who has demonstrated authentic leadership despite a million challenges. Passionate and creative, they take the initiative and think outside the box when running their business and managing their team. Through their strong leadership skills, innovative management strategies, and entrepreneurial spirit, the winner of this award will be an inspiration for all entrepreneurs to follow.
Despite being a comparatively new person in the game and after overcoming many challenges and hurdles that came their way, individuals who were still successful in establishing a thriving business are felicitated with the Immigrant Entrepreneur of the Year award. Companies that have shown significant growth and success throughout the year will be recognized under this category. Immigrating to a new country has several challenges, and starting a business in a foreign country is even more challenging. Therefore, our award is a bid to recognize the efforts of such entrepreneurs who built a robust and growing company from scratch.
Businesses that have shown exceptional growth in sales, profits, market shares, customers, and employment are a perfect match for this honor. With change comes workload expansion, lack of inventory, resources, employment, and funds. The entrepreneur that has shown their ability to successfully overcome these challenges by intelligent business planning and implementing strategies to avoid high-growth issues deserves recognition. Therefore, the organization that has demonstrated rapid growth throughout the year due to its business strategy despite the unprecedented scenarios that they faced will be felicitated with the Fastest Growing Company award.
Data privacy & security are not just legal requirements; enacting them ensures business success and sustainability. Furthermore, it builds trust among the common masses. The Excellence in Data Privacy & Security Award is given to the company that has proven that data privacy & security are their top priority. Businesses who demonstrate that they have a formal privacy officer, have written policies in place, implement proper network security measures, and invest in security awareness training will be considered for this award. This is the prominent factor judges will refer to when it comes to choosing the winner. Small businesses of all industries (not IT or security companies) are eligible under this category.
Among the most honorable and prestigious awards for any business owner is the Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Individuals who have demonstrated excellence in every facet of their business whether innovation or sales or marketing or advertising will be felicitated with this honor. The judges are on the lookout for an entrepreneur who has established a successful business and brand that has shown continuous growth, a solid business plan, and a sustainability outlook. The individual who will take home the Entrepreneur of the Year Award will be an inspiration for generations of entrepreneurs to come!
The E-commerce business of the Year award is given to a business that have made a significant impact and contribution to the development of e-commerce. This award recognizes company that have developed innovative and effective ways to conduct e-commerce, and that have made a positive impact on the industry as a whole. The award also recognizes business that have been successful in promoting e-commerce within their own organizations and among their customers.

Organizations that have demonstrated significant success by providing their consumers with an outstanding online experience will be recognized through this award. Digital innovation, an increase in financial performance, and the successful use of digital tools to achieve business growth are among the aspects that the judges will consider for the Digital Business of the Year winner.

Customer service is crucial when it comes to the success of any business. The Customer Service Excellence Award is given to the company that has repeatedly proven that customer service is their top priority. Businesses who implement procedures and methods that put the customer at the top of their daily operations will be considered for this award and are the prominent factor judges will refer to when it comes to choosing the winner. Businesses of all industries are eligible under this category.
The Business Woman of the Year Award is meant to recognize and award the determination and success of a woman entrepreneur who made it in the stringent business world. Judges are looking for a female entrepreneur who has demonstrated how she has successfully overcome challenges to build a robust and thriving company.
Innovation plays a key role when it comes to the winner of this award. The Business Innovation Award is given to the company that has implemented strategies and products that signify outside-of-the-box thinking. Whether it’s in the form of their management strategies, their business models, product design and manufacturing techniques, or marketing strategy, this award recognizes innovation in all aspects. The judges are looking for a business that has defied conservative ways of thinking in their business strategy and seen an evident, positive impact as a result.
This award goes out to recognize the efforts of a person of color who is also a successful entrepreneur and has paved space for themselves through their hard work and dedication to their craft. Belonging from a minority community, black entrepreneurs have had to face the many hardships and struggles in the business landscape but that hasn’t deterred them from scaling new heights. Whether it’s in logistics, tech, retail, or finance, this entrepreneur shows why you should never give up on your goals. This award is to highlight this individual’s achievement and their immense contribution to the Canadian economy.
Companies nominated under this category must showcase exemplary and excellent customer service, business growth, innovation, and personal development. A wide range of professional services is considered under this category, such as legal, financial, hospitality, and retail. There are very specific criteria that judges take into consideration and organizations that have demonstrated the ability to successfully build and manage a thriving business are felicitated with this honor.
This year’s Diversity and Inclusion Award goes to a business that has demonstrated excellence in living and promoting behaviours that demonstrate diversity, inclusion, and cultural competence.

This award encourages businesses to embrace cultural differences and build relationships with diverse communities.

It is important for businesses to actively work towards creating a diverse and inclusive workplace and culture, as this will benefit everyone involved. By doing so, they are also setting themselves up as leaders in the industry.

By demonstrating these qualities, businesses can create a more inclusive workplace for all employees. The award is dedicated to celebrating the successes of businesses that have positively impacted their communities.
The Tech Business of the Year award is a “competitive award” given to businesses that have gone above and beyond in their innovation.

The Tech Business of the Year award is given to a company that has demonstrated excellence in technology and innovation. The award is presented to the company that has made the most significant contribution to the advancement of technology.

The Tech Business of the Year award is among the most prestigious honours in the tech industry. It’s given to the company that has had the biggest impact on the industry over the past year.

The company must have made significant contributions to the advancement of technology and must be a leader in its field.
Small businesses that demonstrate a commitment to environmental and social responsibility are honoured with the Sustainable Business Award. The award honours businesses working to make the world more sustainable through their goods, services, or activities. Businesses must be small (fewer than 500 employees) and have been in operation for at least three years to be eligible for the award. A demonstrated dedication to sustainability, innovation, and growth is also required. The CanadianSME Small Business Magazine bestows the award each year. The award recognizes small businesses’ achievements that pave the path to a more sustainable future.
This award celebrates a business that is owned, operated, and controlled by a 2SLGBTQI+ individual(s) that has made a significant economic impact on the local, regional, or national community while making contributions to the 2SLGBTQI+ community in Canada. This award is open to all 2SLGBTQI+ owned businesses that: 1) are established for more than 3 years and operate in Canada, with annual revenues above $100,000. 2) Demonstrate outstanding achievement and leadership in building a growing and successful business. 3) Support and enhance the visibility and opportunities for 2SLGBTQI+ individuals, businesses, organizations, and/or communities to grow and prosper. 4) Past award winners will be excluded from consideration in the same category for the following 3 years. If a previous winner applies, only achievements since winning the last award will be considered. Nominations will be requested through a call for nominations throughout the community. Self-nominations will also be accepted. NOTE: Nominations are open to all 2SLGBTQI+owned businesses
The Community Impact Award honors businesses that make a significant and lasting impression on their local communities. This accolade celebrates companies that extend beyond their primary functions to cultivate well-being, growth, and unity within the community. Organizations that demonstrate active engagement with local entities, initiating or contributing to projects that lead to tangible improvements are eligible for this prestigious award. Their efforts promote long-term sustainability, ensuring benefits are not fleeting. Emphasis is placed on initiatives that embrace diversity, encourage inclusivity, and ensure all community members benefit from their endeavors. This award is a testament to the power businesses hold in shaping and uplifting the communities they serve.
The Best in Retail Award celebrates companies at the forefront of the retail industry, championing innovation, customer experience, and market growth. This honor distinguishes those who have not only achieved outstanding sales and operational metrics but have also showcased an unwavering commitment to adapting in an ever-evolving marketplace. Eligible contenders are those that have made significant strides in integrating technology, enhancing in-store experiences, implementing sustainable practices, or pioneering new retail strategies. Their endeavors are marked by creativity, resilience, and a dedication to meeting consumer needs. Whether a large chain, a small boutique, or an e-commerce platform, contenders for this award are recognized for setting exceptional standards in retail and inspiring others to elevate the industry. This accolade underscores the significance of continuous improvement, visionary leadership, and an unyielding passion for retail excellence.
The Best in Manufacturing Award celebrates companies that exemplify excellence, innovation, and efficiency in the realm of manufacturing. This accolade seeks to highlight businesses that have demonstrated not only superior production capabilities but also a dedication to sustainability, workforce welfare, and technological advancements. Eligible companies are those that have achieved remarkable milestones in production quality, embraced state-of-the-art manufacturing techniques, and showcased a commitment to reducing environmental impact. From small-scale craftsmen to large industrial giants, this award recognizes those that set industry benchmarks, optimize supply chains, and pave the way for future innovation. It’s a tribute to manufacturers that push boundaries, uphold the highest standards, and, in doing so, drive the global economy while respecting both people and planet.

The Best in Health and Wellness Business Award recognizes companies that have excelled in promoting and providing holistic health and well-being solutions to their clientele. This accolade is reserved for businesses that demonstrate innovation, efficacy, and a commitment to the highest standards in their offerings, whether it’s through fitness programs, health products, wellness services, or educational content. Eligible contenders will have a proven track record of enhancing the physical, mental, or emotional well-being of their customers. They prioritize sustainable and ethical practices, stay updated with the latest health research, and continuously adapt to the evolving wellness landscape. Whether they operate in the realm of traditional medicine, alternative therapies, fitness, or nutrition, nominees should exemplify dedication to bettering lives, pioneering advancements, and setting industry benchmarks in health and wellness.

The Best in AI & Automation Award seeks to honor companies leading the charge in the realms of artificial intelligence and automation. This distinction is reserved for businesses that have showcased groundbreaking innovation, scalability, and tangible impacts through their AI and automation endeavors. Eligible companies are those that have successfully harnessed the power of AI to solve complex challenges, optimize operations, or bring novel solutions to market. Whether it’s through machine learning, robotics, natural language processing, or intelligent automation, nominees should be at the vanguard of technological advancements. The award lauds those that not only push technological boundaries but also consider ethical implications and societal benefits. In an era driven by digital transformation, this accolade recognizes visionaries that pave the way for smarter, more efficient, and transformative solutions using AI and automation.
The CSR Excellence Award is dedicated to celebrating businesses that have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). This prestigious accolade recognizes organizations that go beyond traditional business practices to create a positive and sustainable impact on society, the environment, and the communities in which they operate. Eligible companies are those that have implemented robust CSR initiatives, showcasing innovation, scalability, and tangible results. Whether it’s through environmental sustainability, community development, ethical labor practices, or philanthropy, nominees should have a clear record of making a meaningful difference. This award honors those enterprises that not only prioritize profitability but also view societal welfare and ethical considerations as integral to their business model. In recognizing these trailblazers, the CSR Excellence Award highlights the potential for business to be a force for good in the world.