By Lindsay Bright
Last week, Startup Canada kicked off its fourth annual Startup Canada Awards tour in Ottawa by announcing this year’s recipients of the 2017 Ontario regional awards. Entrepreneurs from across Ontario gathered together at Collab Space, a local incubator-inspired coworking facility, to celebrate the 2017 Ontario regional award winners.
“Ontario has a vibrant entrepreneurship and innovation community,” said Victoria Lennox, Startup Canada’s co-Founder and CEO. “It’s underpinned by a robust network of regional innovation centres, grassroots startup communities and a network of entrepreneurs that see the opportunity for Canada to own entrepreneurship and innovation on the global stage.”
This year’s award recipients are:
- Entrepreneur of the Year Award: Mike Serbinis, Founder and CEO of League
- Woman Entrepreneur Award: Nicole Verkindt, CEO and Founder of Offset Market Exchange
- Young Entrepreneur Award: Kelly Lovell, CEO of Lovell Corporation
- Senior Entrepreneur Award: Cindy Gordon, CEO and Co-Founder of SalesChoice
- Entrepreneur Promotion Award: Nevin Buconjic, Founder and Community Lead at Startup Sault
- Entrepreneur Support Award: IgniteAC – Algonquin College Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
- Innovation Award: Clearbanc
- High-Growth Entrepreneurship Award: RateHub.ca
- Social Enterprise Award: African Bronze Honey Company
- Global Entrepreneurship Award: Wave
The Startup Canada Awards began four years ago as an outcome of the 2012 Startup Canada national tour, whereby Startup Canada convened with over 30,000 entrepreneurs across the nation to find out how Canada can better support its entrepreneurship community. The consensus was that Canada needed to create a culture of entrepreneurship, share the stories of entrepreneurs and celebrate the diversity of Canada’s entrepreneurship community.
In 2013 Startup Canada launched its first awards tour to recognize and celebrate the outstanding entrepreneurs, businesses, and support organizations present throughout Canada.
“The Startup Canada Awards are so important because entrepreneurs are the fuel of the future,” said Lennox. “They are visionaries seeing the greatest opportunities where others might just see challenges and barriers.”
The Startup Canada Awards celebrated the Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award, presented to Kelly Lovell, CEO of Lovell Corporation. Lovell outlined Canada’s role as a global leader and explained the importance of entrepreneurs in the future development of a stronger Canada.
“An entrepreneur’s superpower is their ability to see a future that is not yet built,” said Lovell. “This is both our asset and our greatest challenge because most people don’t see that future and often times may not understand what we see.”
Cindy Gordon, CEO and co-founder of SalesChoice, was presented with the Senior Entrepreneur Award. In her remarks, Gordon underscored Canada’s opportunity as an AI leader and technology leader.
“We are moving rapidly into the area of augmented intelligence and AI, and this country can crush it. We are one of the global leaders but we have to start embracing and buying Canadian tech,” she said.
The Startup Canada Awards will be continuing its tour across Canada with stops in Fredericton, NB on September 7; Montreal, QC on September 12; Kamloops, BC on September 15; Whitehorse, NWT on September 19; and Winnipeg, Manitoba on September 21.
The national winners will be celebrated at the Startup Canada Awards Grand Finale in Ottawa on October 19, 2017 following Startup Canada Day on the Hill, an event connecting leading entrepreneurs, innovators, investors, industry executives, and government representatives to discuss raising the bar for Canada as a globally competitive, innovative nation.
Lindsay Bright is the Communications and Media Relations contact at Startup Canada and a newly graduated journalist from Carleton University. When she’s not writing she enjoys travelling, movies and photography. You can find her on LinkedIn, or follow Startup Canada on Twitter.