October 16, 2006
(Moncton, New Brunswick - October 17, 2006) - BDC will honour top young business people from across Canada at the Young Entrepreneur Awards (YEA) ceremony to be held this evening in Moncton. The event is a major feature of Small Business Week, which runs from October 15 to 21 under the theme: "A world without boundaries, open to new markets".
"These entrepreneurs represent the best of the next generation of Canadian innovation," said BDC President and CEO Jean-René Halde. "They've tapped into fresh ideas to meet emerging needs, opened up new market opportunities and are making a significant mark in their communities."
"Canadian entrepreneurs are the very heart of Canada's national economy and young entrepreneurs are our future. They play a vital role in helping us achieve a more prosperous society," said the Honourable Maxime Bernier, Minister of Industry and Minister responsible for BDC. "I am committed to helping entrepreneurs continue to grow successful Canadian firms that become increasingly competitive in the global marketplace."
BDC's Young Entrepreneur Awards, an annual event in its 19th year, celebrate the entrepreneurial spirit and business success of Canadian entrepreneurs between the ages of 19 and 35. The winners – one from each province and territory – are selected by a committee, based on criteria including success, growth potential, innovation and participation in new economy activities and community involvement. The committee also considers export performance, the entrepreneur's age when the business was started and any special challenges overcome.
YEA winners were also eligible for two additional awards. Martin Lamontagne from Quebec has won the Export Development Canada Export Excellence Award. Shane Patelakis of Prince Edward Island has received the WestJet Creative Mind Award for daring and originality in the creation, marketing and promotion of a product. The recipients will each take home a $15,000 grant to be invested in their business.
The company W.P. Griffin Inc. and its current President John Griffin were recognized with an award introduced for the first time this year – the CFIB Business Ownership Transition Award – which recognizes the seller and buyer of a business that has successfully changed hands from one generation to the next. It comes with a $20,000 grant to help the company meet its growth objectives.
On Monday, YEA recipients were gathered with business leaders and academics at the BDC Forum, an event in which participants have the opportunity to share knowledge and experience on issues facing Canadian entrepreneurs.
The 2006 Young Entrepreneurs, listed by province and territory, are as follows.
Newfoundland and Labrador – Danny Tuff, 31, Blue Line Innovations Inc., St. John's. The brainchild of Danny and his brother, Maurice, Blue Line's Powercost Monitor™ is a table-top unit that works like a "speedometer for energy consumption", displaying in real-time and dollars and cents how much electricity the consumer is using. The device has caught the attention of a number of power companies and is currently being deployed by Ontario's Hydro One to 30,000 customers. "Our technologies help people make better use of electricity, water and gas, on a global basis," says Danny.
Nova Scotia – Ron Lovett, 27, RFL Group of Companies, Halifax.
Developing new concepts and creating new markets is what drives Ron Lovett, an entrepreneur whose businesses include security services, a bring-your-own-wine restaurant, event marketing, general contracting services and a soon-to-be opened late night noodle restaurant. "It's about being innovative all the time, not giving up and working really hard," says Ron of his constantly-expanding business ventures. His flagship company, Source Security, employs some 250 part-timers who provide security services for a wide variety of events throughout Atlantic Canada on a regular basis.
New Brunswick – Jenny Scott, 27, Ambiance Day Spa, Saint John.
Owner of the city's largest spa, Jenny has built a business that in three years has grown from a staff of eight to 27 and is consistently booked solid. Jenny, who started the spa when she was just out of school, has seen business results double in the first and second years of operation and continue to grow at a steady pace. "Our philosophy is to make sure the entire spa experience relaxes and re-invigorates each and every client," says Jenny.
Prince Edward Island – Shane Patelakis, 32, Progressive BioActives Inc. (PBI), Charlottetown.
Developing a new application for extracting natural extracts to be used as bioactive animal feed, Shane has built a business that is emblematic of PEI's new generation economy. PBI's ProVale™ agent, which stimulates the immune system of certain animal and aquatic species, works as both a disease management tool and an alternative to growth-promoting antibiotics. PBI produces and sells its product to the swine, poultry and farmed fish markets in Canada, has licensed its technology to a U.S. company and is negotiating a similar agreement with a group of investors in Thailand.
Québec – Martin Lamontagne, 33, Creaform, Québec City.
Martin founded Creaform four years ago as a distributor of reverse engineering products. The company soon gained a foothold in Europe and opened a subsidiary – Euroform – in Paris. In 2005, Creaform launched its own product - the Handyscan 3D™, an easy-to-use, hand-held 3D laser scan camera. That same year, Creaform doubled in size and saw its export volumes go from 9% to an astounding 51% of sales. With a one-of-a-kind product, superior customer service and a growing international reputation, "the future looks very bright," says Martin.
Ontario – Bob Hoang, 35, Vy Hoang, 33, Grace Baba, 31, i³DVR International, Toronto.
This entrepreneurial trio has built a leading-edge surveillance equipment business that numbers 135 employees, the majority of whom are new Canadians. Boasting the largest research group in its industry, their business has a worldwide distribution network and realized $20 million in sales in 2005. With clients as varied as casinos, military bases and the U.S. Federal Reserve, i³DVR provides state-of-the-art equipment with video analytic software that adds value to captured video data. "Our customers love the integration and innovation of our products and the flexibility of our staff," says Bob.
Manitoba – Jeff Ganczar, 31, Capitol Welding Ltd., Winnipeg.
Jeff has come a long way since leaving a salaried position to strike out on his own with one welding machine and a truck in 1998. Today Capitol Welding is a multifaceted structural steel business that employs 60 people, occupies a 35,000 square-foot facility and regularly takes on multi-million-dollar industrial and commercial construction projects for clients in Western Canada, Ontario and into the U.S. "I intend to continue to expand as aggressively as I can," says Jeff.
Saskatchewan – Marc Paquette, 34, DyMark Industries Inc., Saskatoon.
Founded by Marc in 2003, Dymark has rapidly gained a reputation with commercial contractors as a top-notch steel supply and installation business. An unwavering commitment to keeping to schedule has become DyMark's trademark and attracted contractors in Saskatchewan, Winnipeg and as far as Mexico. With a young staff of 20 employees all under the age of 35, DyMark sales have tripled since its first year in business. "I am living my dream," says Marc of his business success.
Alberta – Arnon Levy, 35, Guest-Tek Interactive Entertainment Ltd., Calgary.
Providing high-speed internet access to 530,000 hotel rooms around the globe, Guest-Tek is a dominant player in its field. A public company listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange, Guest-Tek doubled its previous year's revenues to $44 million in 2005 and has expanded services to offer an integrated suite of products: internet access, video and voice systems. "This business has become a significant part of my life," says Arnon, of the company he founded 10 years ago in his Calgary basement and which today numbers 300.
British Columbia – Todd Dunlop, 27, Dave Arnsdorf, 29, Jordan Visco, 26 and Greg Bate, 26, Neverblue Media Inc., Victoria.
Taking the online advertising world by storm, these four young entrepreneurs have realized 10,000% growth for Neverblue Media in just two and half years. Starting with web-based search marketing, they've expanded their offering to include co-registration campaigns, affiliate marketing and specialized, lead generation campaigns. In December 2005, they spun off a direct contact company. "We were all hoping to be successful, but if you'd asked us two and half years ago where we'd be today, I don't think we would have projected this far out," says Jordan.
Nunavut – Tara Tootoo Fotheringham, 31, Sugar Rush Café, Rankin Inlet.
Tara has converted an existing business that she purchased just one year ago into a local hot spot. Sugar Rush, her 1950's-style café, caters to the local population with extended hours, a menu that offers exotic choices such as arctic char sushi and caribou chili, a gift store and a wedding supply business. Tara also owns and operates a Bed and Breakfast, was instrumental in opening a local daycare centre, has acted as a hamlet councilor and works for the local government as a custom adoption commissioner.
Northwest Territories – Holly Norris, 26, Delta Sun Services, Inuvik.
Holly started a catering business in 2003 and soon saw demand for her services boom. Building on that success, the company took over the concession service at the local arena and purchased a restaurant in 2005. Delta Sun Services, 100-percent Aboriginal-owned, provides opportunities for young people to gain work experience and pursue careers in the cooking trade. Holly says she hopes her own success shows aspiring young entrepreneurs, "you can do something like this if you really want to."
Yukon – Katrina Russell, 33, Mail Boxes Etc., Whitehorse.
Katrina saw a need and quickly moved to fill it when a mailbox location in Whitehorse shut down in 2002. She stepped in by opening a Mail Boxes Etc. store that provides clients with an alternative mailbox solution as well as a full range of business management services from printing and photocopying to packaging and desktop publishing. Working hard to promote the store's services, Katrina has turned her business into a flourishing, one-stop business service centre that is an integral part of the downtown business community.
Small Business Week partners
National partners help make Small Business Week a success. Western Economic Diversification, WestJet, Rogers, Export and Development Canada, CFIB and Intuit Canada are national partners of the 2006 Small Business Week and Young Entrepreneur Awards. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce has been a privileged partner of the event since 1981.
BDC is a financial institution wholly owned by the Government of Canada. BDC actively supports the development and growth of Canadian small and medium-sized businesses through its complementary financial, investment and consulting solutions. BDC is one of Canada's Top 100 Employers for 2007.
For more information or to arrange for an interview on October 17th:
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