OTTAWA, Oct. 20 /CNW Telbec/ - The entrepreneurial spirit of young business people from across Canada will be celebrated tonight as the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) presents it 2009 Young Entrepreneur Awards (YEA) at a ceremony in Ottawa. The awards are a highlight of Small Business Week which runs October 18-24 under the theme "Your dream, your business, your passion".
"Tonight's award recipients have realized their dreams in innovative ways, some by tapping in to the potential of emerging sectors and others by taking fresh approaches to traditional businesses," said BDC President and CEO Jean-Rene Halde. "They are proving the value of original ideas, effective planning and hard work in any economic climate."
This is the 22nd year that BDC is honouring young entrepreneurs between the ages of 19 and 35 with these awards. The winners are selected by assembling panels of business people, representatives of Small Business Week partners, members of chambers of commerce and BDC employees from every province and territory. Selection criteria include the originality of the business concept, success, growth potential and social involvement. The selection committees also consider the entrepreneur's age when the business was started and any special challenges overcome.
Two additional special awards will be presented during tonight's ceremony. The Export Development Canada Export Excellence Award will be presented to the company with the most outstanding export objectives, strategies and results. The Deloitte Corporate Social Responsibility Award will honour a company that stands out in terms of practices and policies promoting environmental protection, sound human resources management or community well being.
The BDC 2009 YEA winners are as follows:
Alberta - Steve, 31, Matt, 30, Chris, 27, and Mike Baines, 22, Enviro
Foam Insulation, Raymond
Steve Baines knew he had hit on something big when he found a highly effective, environmentally friendly soy-based alternative to older insulation products. After launching Enviro Foam in 2005, he was joined by his three brothers to keep up with soaring demand. With the product's spectacular success, they decided to franchise less than a year later. Now with 29 franchises from coast to coast, Enviro Foam is Canada's largest spray foam insulation company. "The feedback from customers is phenomenal," says Steve. Building on its appeal, the company recently launched a do-it-yourself line.
British Columbia - Daisy Leslie Orser, 30, and Adam Orser, 35, The Root
Cellar Village Green Grocer, Victoria
Daisy and Adam are feeding the voracious appetites of Victoria residents for fresh, local produce. Since uprooting their family and moving across the province to open their business two years ago, they have made their business a preferred destination for an ever-growing number of food shoppers. The Root Cellar has grown beyond their wildest expectations, doing five times the volume they had expected and already employing 50 people. "The 100-mile diet trend is really working in our favour," says Daisy.
Manitoba - Wade Barnes, 34, and Curtis MacKinnon, 33, Farmers Edge
Precision Consulting, Pilot Mound
These two agronomy experts have pioneered an innovative means of helping grain and oilseed farmers improve their practices and profits by taking the guesswork out of farming. Their solution combines remote sensing equipment and technology to redefine how farmers apply fertilizer to their fields in order to increase their crop yields. They have helped customers increase their profits by $15 to $100 per acre, while contributing to a 15-25% decrease in fertilizer application. Now covering 750,000 acres across the Prairies, Farmers Edge has grown to 10 management partners, 34 full-time and 11 seasonal employees, along with 17 consulting partners who are re-sellers of the services. The company has just opened its own soil-testing laboratory, has taken its concept to large corporate farms in Russia and is constantly exploring new ideas.
New Brunswick - Allain Ouellette, 34, City Glass & Locks, Bathurst
Since acquiring what was a small custom glass business in 2004, Allain has transformed City Glass & Locks into a shining example of entrepreneurial ingenuity. Expanding to serve the entire province of New Brunswick, the business has grown at an average of 20 percent a year. Allain, who had been a successful salesman, jumped when the opportunity to acquire City Glass & Locks came up. With the existing seven-person team, he diversified the company's offerings and grew the commercial side of the business. Today City Glass & Locks is a preferred sub-contractor to many construction companies and has doubled the number of employees to 14, with seven trucks on the road.
Newfoundland and Labrador - Peter Ollerhead, 28, Cycle Solutions, Corner
A summer job assembling bikes started this avid cyclist on the route to entrepreneurship. Today, he is pursuing his dream of making a career out of his favourite sport with Cycle Solutions, a thriving cycle, cross country ski and snowshoe shop that employs up to 19 people and has grown to include a specialty coffee shop. Cycle Solutions attracts customers from across the province and beyond with services which include equipment sales and rentals, four-season group events and tourism experiences. "We believe in building our customer base by increasing the number of people who participate in sports," says Peter. Two years ago, he opened Brewed Awakening to help drive more traffic to the shop. It became a destination in itself, and Peter added coffee bean roasting to his list of businesses.
Nova Scotia - Kim Hong Dao, 27, Bang Gia Dao, 31, Niem Gia Dao, 26, Talay
Thai Restaurant Limited, Halifax
These three young siblings, who came to Canada from Vietnam as children, opened Talay Thai Restaurant in 2005, to rave reviews. Shortly after opening, Talay Thai was named one of Canada's Top Ten New Restaurants and within 10 months, it had people lining up daily. Their winning recipe consists of a first-rate staff, a uniquely Thai ambiance, high quality local ingredients and affordable pricing. As demand continued to grow, they invested in a second restaurant, Cha Baa Thai, a bigger venture which they opened in 2007. They are now building on their success by franchising this popular concept which has captivated the taste buds of local restaurant goers and tourists alike.
Ontario - John Carbrey, 27, Intrafinity Inc., Toronto
This self-taught Web prodigy, who was ranked among the top young Web architects in North America when he was just 16, launched Intrafinity eight years ago. Now boasting an expert team of 30, Intrafinity provides a suite of enterprise Web content solutions that has captured clients throughout North America, including organizations as diverse as universities, hospitals and world-leading private sector companies. Drawing on top-notch talent, the company provides an integrated suite of Web-based tools and applications that create, publish and manage digital content and enable collaboration for portals, websites, communities, document management, event coordination, mentoring and online learning. "We made a strategic decision to focus on quality, on building a strong team and developing leadership capability. And we continue to grow in the midst of recession," says John.
Prince Edward Island - Eireann Rigby, 34, UFIT, Charlottetown
This former professional basketball player broke the stereotypical fitness club mold when she developed her business from her vision of an all-inclusive, non-judgmental, fun group activity. UFIT provides pay-as-you-go $5 fitness classes for one and all in a big street party atmosphere. UFIT's philosophy has struck a chord with Islanders, with classes averaging 100 people from all walks of life, all ages and all shapes and sizes. Since its start-up seven years ago, UFIT has expanded to cover eight locations across the Island with more than 20 classes per week. The company has also developed its own charity, UFIT CARES, and added a professional speaking component, The Power To Believe.
Québec - Patrick Grégoire, 34, Boréal - Informations Stratégiques Inc.
This young entrepreneur's business stretches across the world into Africa and South America. Co-founder and vice-president of Boréalis, Patrick has made a name for his company by helping multinational corporations ensure the sustainability of their international development projects. Patrick and co-founder Jules Paquette started Boréalis after working on development projects in Africa. They identified an unserved niche and started applying their geographical information systems training to help corporations in the mining and petroleum sectors adhere to corporate social responsibility standards while managing development projects. Today, the company employs 37 people and has revenues in the millions. The company's niche has expanded to include environmental footprint management, a service they are bringing to the North American market, particularly in the wind turbine energy sector.
Saskatchewan - Johan, 33, and Charla van den Berg, 34, Plains Powder
When Johan came to Saskatchewan from his native Holland for a student work term, he was soon convinced that Canada held opportunities he could never find in Europe. Having met his wife Charla here, he returned after completing his studies and gained valuable work experience. After more than a year of research, they opened Plains Powder Coating in 2007, providing equipment manufacturers and other clients with a long-lasting, eco-friendly alternative to spray painting. Today, the thriving operation has nine full-time employees, with more during the peak winter period, as well as students on term programs. They are now building a new 12,000-square-foot facility on four acres of land, with room for further expansion.
Yukon - Julien Plourde, 27, Technical Solutions Company Limited,
This Ontario native has combined his life-long love of automation, controls and robotics with his dream of working in Canada's North, creating a unique Yukon business that helps public utilities and other large organizations operate more efficiently. Technical Solutions provides custom electronic solutions, as well as industrial control and automation systems - including applications like power management controllers - that enable organizations to boost efficiency. Working with telecommunications companies, public utilities and some mining businesses, the three-year-old business has grown from a one-man operation to a team of five and is actively recruiting additional talent.
2009 YEA and Small Business Week partners
Platinum partners of the 2009 Young Entrepreneur Awards and Small Business Week are Deloitte and Export Development Canada. Gold partners are Borden Ladner Gervais and Maclean's.
BDC is Canada's business development bank. From 100 offices across the country, BDC promotes entrepreneurship by providing highly tailored financing, venture capital and consulting services to entrepreneurs. Visit www.bdc.ca for more information.
Small Business Week is a registered trademark of BDC.
SOURCE Business Development Bank of Canada
For further information: For further information: or to arrange for an interview with the YEA winners on October 20: BDC Media Room: 1-866-962-4554, (613) 562-3443; After October 20: Johanne Bissonnette, Media Relations Manager, (514) 283-7929, firstname.lastname@example.org