TORONTO, Oct. 16 /CNW Telbec/ - A passionate entrepreneur who started his
first business when he was a student, Razor Suleman, 33, now heads an online
incentive marketing company, I Love Rewards, that has grown 5,000% in five
years. For this success, Razor has earned BDC's Young Entrepreneur Award for
Ontario and will be honoured tonight at a ceremony in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
I Love Rewards uses a Web-based point system to build reward programs for
companies that want to increase sales, motivate employees, and build customer
loyalty. The company evolved out of Razor's first business, which he started
from his dorm room in 1995, selling branded athletic apparel to campus groups
and clubs. After graduating, he moved the business off-campus and began
selling to companies. In 2002, he became aware of the opportunity to expand
the business further by creating employee incentive programs and founded
I Love Rewards.
The company targets Fortune 1000 businesses across North America, and
counts firms such as Rogers Communications and KPMG among its clients. "We
compete with the manufacturers of grandfather clocks and crystal vases who
sell these items as employee rewards," says Razor. "But our thinking is, let's
raise the bar and get employees the things they really want." The
I Love Rewards system enables employees to accumulate points which they can
trade in for everything from iPods to weekend getaways.
It all adds up to success
Consult the I Love Rewards Web site and you will find a list of the Top
100 reasons that employees love to work for the company. Among others, there
are the many opportunities for recognition and upward mobility; the minimum
four weeks' vacation; and the vision committees which give employees the
opportunity to devote 20% of their time to areas such as Recognition, Culture
and Communications, Social Responsibility or Training. In fact, social
responsibility is integral to Razor's business. In addition to contributing to
charities, he provides his employees with a week of time every year to donate
to the cause of their choice. "Very few companies do this," says Razor, who
focuses on recruiting people who are what he calls "A's or A+'s".
Razor's business success and the unique corporate culture he has created
have resulted in I Love Rewards being recognized as one of Canada's Top 100
employers, as well as number 12 on the Profit 100 list of Canada's fastest
growing companies. "We've proven that you can be both a fast-growing company
and a great place to work," points out Razor.
Now focused on becoming the global leader in rewards programs, Razor has
mapped out his five-year master plan and shared it with his team. "When you
have 40 people all moving in the same positive direction, you will achieve
what you plan to achieve," he says.
"I congratulate Razor for the success and rapid growth of his business.
He is making his mark on the Canadian corporate landscape with a unique
product and a distinctive corporate culture that capitalizes on social
responsibility," says BDC President and CEO Jean-René Halde.
For Razor, being a successful entrepreneur is about following your
passion. "I've chosen to do what makes me happy," he says. "When you look at
successful entrepreneurs of our time, you will see a direct link between their
success and their passion."
Young entrepreneurs in the spotlight
BDC's Young Entrepreneur Awards are a highlight of Small Business Week,
providing the opportunity to honour the entrepreneurial spirit and business
success of Canadians between the ages of 19 and 35. Winners from each province
and territory are selected by a panel based on the originality of their
business concept, its success, growth potential and their community
involvement. The panel also considers the entrepreneur's age when the business
was started and any special challenges that had to be faced.
Small Business Week partners
Contributing to the success of this year's Small Business Week and Young
Entrepreneur Awards are the following national sponsors: Western Economic
Diversification Canada, Export Development Canada and Rogers. Privileged
partners are the Pan Canadian Community Futures Group and the Canadian Chamber
of Commerce, which 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 2008. Visit
www.bdc.ca for more information.
Small Business Week is a registered trademark of BDC.
For further information:
For further information: or to arrange for an interview on October 16:
Media Room: 1-866-515-6033, (204) 985-6251; After October 16: Johanne
Bissonnette, Media Relations Manager, (514) 283-7929