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

Celebrating Business
Success In Canada

Organised by CanadianSME Small Business Magazine

The CanadianSME Business Awards is designed to recognize and applaud the contribution that small business owners provide to Canada’s economy. Because the SME industry plays such a crucial role in Canada’s economy, we want to provide our support and recognition to the entrepreneurs who work hard in making their small businesses a success.

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 are what our communities are structured on.

The CanadianSME Business Awards is an important date on our calendars because it marks the day that we celebrate and congratulate those who have made a positive contribution to our country’s economy. Since the inception of the CanadianSME Business Award, we’ve had a very successful turnout with hundreds of small business owners as guests and celebrated over 350 diverse businesses from across Canada. This year we want to continue to show that same support and appreciation for our small and medium-sized businesses.

Small Business Awards Canada
Exclusive Partners for - 2021
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Small Business Awards Canada
Small Business Awards Canada

Editor's Choice Award

Save Max Real Estate Inc.
One of the fastest-growing Canadian Real Estate Brokerages, Save Max International has over $10 Billion in Transactions, a team of 700+ Realtors and a franchise network of more than 60 offices in Canada and India. Save Max has kept pace with current technologies to ensure their best services to clients, and also ease-of-use for their Realtors. Save Max is not just a team of real estate agents, but a team of entrepreneurs who are passionate about owning a business.
Small Business Awards Canada
Raman Dua , CEO/Founder at Save Max Real Estate Inc.

Coming from a humble background, Raman Dua believes in converting every challenge into an opportunity. With an MBA Degree and 5 years of experience in a multi-national company, Raman moved to Canada in 2003, dreaming of becoming an entrepreneur. After a few hits & misses, he decided on Real Estate as a career and established Save Max Real Estate Inc in 2010, out of a basement in Brampton. He is presently the CEO of Save Max.

Thoughts on winning the CanadianSME National Business Award

I am truly humbled to be recognized and receive the Canadian SME Editor’s Choice Award for Entrepreneurship. In today’s world, entrepreneurship goes hand in hand with risk-taking, hard work, and being street smart. The real meaning of success for me is creating success for others and that is the true meaning of being successful for me. I am a true believer in giving someone fish to eat is great; but teaching them to fish is even greater as they will never starve. And I like to lead by example I would like to commend the SME Magazine on this year’s edition of Awards and the hard work they put in to recognize Canadian small businesses

Special message/advice to small business owners during challenging times

My advice to all new and small business owners in this recovery phase is simple clichéd but true phrase – ‘Never give up”. Many doors will be slammed in your face, you will be turned away by many, laughed at for your big dreams, but do not be disillusioned. Continue and keep working at your dream. Remember if you can dream it, you can achieve it. I started my business with a few neighbours and my wife from a basement in Brampton but never shied away from hard work and dedication and today I would like to say Save Max has become not only an iconic Canadian brand but also an international name. If I had stopped dreaming and become discouraged by what others told me, we would not have been where we are today with Save Max.

Small Business Awards Canada

RBC Small Business of
the Year - Top 1

( Up to 10 employees )

Luxe Du Jour
Luxe Du Jour is a Canadian-born one-stop online luxury boutique where you can shop, sell, consign, rent, restore and accessorize bags. We take pride in being a trusted and credible online shop where you can fuel your handbag addiction. Our corporate office is based in Calgary Alberta, with a secondary office in Vancouver, British Columbia. Additionally, we have 3 subsidiary international locations in Malaysia, Hong Kong, and Thailand.
Small Business Awards Canada
Tammy Phan , CEO, Luxe Du Jour

Tammy Phan is the CEO and Founder of Luxe Du Jour. Luxe Du Jour is a luxury consignment company offering an incredible selection of pre-loved, professionally authenticated designer handbags. Shoppers can choose to buy or sell pre-owned purses, rent bags for a short period of time, or send an item to the Luxe Bag Spa to be professionally restored by an in-house expert.

Thoughts on winning the CanadianSME National Business Award

We are honoured to be receiving the award for Small Business of the Year! This award represents the hard work and dedication to make Luxe Du Jour the brand it is today. Our dedication, persistence and perseverance is acknowledged by SME and RBC for this award and for that we are grateful. We want to make luxury affordable and attainable and do our best to contribute to circular fashion.

Recovery looks different for all small businesses however it is essential in order to keep growing and getting closer to your goal. Never let adversity keep you from your dreams, things must fall apart before better things can come.

Luxe Du Jour is a luxury consignment company offering an incredible selection of pre-loved, professionally authenticated designer handbags. Shoppers can choose to buy or sell pre-owned purses, rent bags for a short period of time, or send an item to the Luxe Bag Spa to be professionally restored by an in-house expert.

Small Business Awards Canada

RBC Small Business of
the Year - Top 2

( Up to 10 employees )

Carmella Marketing
Carmella Marketing is an award-winning, nationally certified woman-led marketing agency with a high-energy culture of creativity. Our strategies are results-driven; our approach to digital marketing is always evolving with the market and consistently provides our clients with the best results and an impressive ROI. Dreams don’t come true without hard work and determination, so let’s get to work!
Small Business Awards Canada
Stephanie O'Brien , President of Carmella Marketing

Entrepreneurial at heart, Steff always looks for opportunities to collaborate and elevate the status quo. With 13 years in business, two degrees, a strategic planning certificate, and eleven years focused purely on strategic marketing; your complex business challenges are her jam. She is a magnetic presence who leads from the front lines, Stephanie O’Brien is an accomplished keynote speaker, facilitator, CEO, business owner, event organizer, influencer, community ambassador, and investor.

Your thoughts on winning the CanadianSME National Business Award

I have so much gratitude for my team, our clients who push us to grow, and the living breathing organization that Carmella has become. Winning the small business of the year award fills me with pride and confidence. Pride that the vision can make a difference and confidence that the struggles have been worth it. We are so so so fortunate to live and work in mountain towns and we endeavour to leave them a better place than we found them. I’d like to raise a glass to all those who have supported me and Carmella over the years, this award is as much yours as it is ours.

Being recognized by Canadian SME Small Business Magazine is a great validation of our efforts to build our company over the past few years, especially the last 18 months through the pandemic. This has primarily been the result of the support of our Channel Partners and Customers and the extremely hard work and dedication of our entire team.

Your special message to small business owners during these challenging times

Get. A. Coach.
That’s it, get a business coach.

Get a certified business coach to help you, guide you, support you, and mentor you along your path. The tools and experience they have can really shortcut the painful process of becoming a sustainable, profitable, predictable, stable business that has an emotional connection.” – Stephanie O’Brien, President.

Small Business Awards Canada

RBC Small Business of
the Year - Top 3

( Up to 10 employees )

Education Consultants Canada (ECC)
Studying abroad could be nerve-racking yet a pleasurable experience. Choose wisely and choose right! Collaborate and celebrate with Education Consultants Canada (ECC) and pave the way to a life where there is no looking back!

Studying abroad has its perks and risks, but with Education Consultants Canada (ECC) on board, one can sail the ship smoothly! Education Consultants Canada (ECC) caters to an umbrella of study programs from Masters, Bachelors programs to Diploma, Post-Graduate Certificate, College Certificate, and Transfer programs.

Over the past years, education has undergone a massive change in terms of its pedagogy and in terms of the choices of study. The versatility Education Consultants Canada (ECC) offers, is not just with the program formats but with the choice in the field of study too. We cover a broad spectrum of courses from Technology, Arts, Sciences, Health Studies, Law, Media, Hospitality, Trades, and Business.
Small Business Awards Canada
Sanchari Sen Rai , Co-Founder & CEO, Education Consultants Canada (ECC)

Sanchari Sen Rai is the Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of EDUCATION CONSULTANTS CANADA (ECC) Inc. As committed facilitators who build bridges between aspirations and achievements, ECC provides strategic consulting, including education plans & development for higher education abroad. Working with institutions in Canada, US, UK, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore, ECC helps to guide international students on an academic journey towards a successful career path.



Sanchari believes it is vitally important and a social obligation for businesses to give back to the community all that one has learned and earned when one is in a position to do so to create empowering teams and individuals.

Thoughts on winning the CanadianSME National Business Award

We are extremely honoured and humbled to receive the Small business of the year (upto 10 employees). Thank You Canadian SME Business Magazine and RBC for the recognition.

Winning this award validates the work of our bold, relentless team of international students who are extremely passionate about what they do and own every bit of it. They go above and beyond to support and guide every student who comes to EDUCATION CONSULTANTS CANADA (ECC)Inc. for solutions.

Other than that, we are thankful for the support we receive from our partnered institutions, associates all over the globe, other channel partners and our teams in India, the Philippines and Vietnam. Last but not the least, Abhay Rai, (Founder) whose vision is to understand the unique need of every international student and make a mission to provide them with a “One-stop shop solution”.

Special message/advice to small business owners during challenging times

Pandemic taught us that we can absolutely blow something and then can come back stronger and resilient. Given the challenges faced by all during the pandemic, trying to make an impact by pivoting the business, creating jobs, and internship opportunities if and when possible along with volunteering time for mentoring is a great way to learn and bounce back slowly and steadily.

Small Business Awards Canada

UPS Small Business of
the Year - Top 1

( Up to 100 employees )

1Milk2Sugars
1Milk2Sugars is an award-winning agency specializing in influencer relations, digital marketing and media relations. Priya Chopra founded 1M2S in 2012 and has expanded its reach to include head offices in Montreal, Toronto and New York with an esteemed portfolio of top international brands that includes NIVEA, e.l.f. Cosmetics, Keurig, Canada Dry, Coppertone and Centrum. 1M2S also includes its partner agency, double shot, a talent management division aimed at amplifying BIPOC and underrepresented voices in lifestyle and influencer marketing.
Small Business Awards Canada
Ruth Goudie , VP-General Manager & Partner, 1Milk2Sugars

Ruth oversees the 1Milk2Sugars PR & Social Media divisions and manages daily operations in the Toronto office. Drawing on her 15+ years of experience in marketing and public relations, Ruth excels at building integrated campaign strategies that generate meaningful results. Her proven ability to scale new business, foster client relations and expand the skillset of her fellow Sugars has solidified Ruth as a leader and mentor on the team.

Your thoughts on winning the CanadianSME National Business Award

Thank you to Canadian SME for naming 1Milk2Sugars your 2021 Small Business of the Year. We’re humbled and proud to have our efforts and achievements celebrated in this way. In accepting this award, we’d also like to congratulate our fellow nominees and give a shoutout to the thousands of SMEs that have powered through the last two years with creativity and resolve. Canada’s small business community is fueled by inspiring doers and we’re proud to count ourselves among them.

Your special message/advice to small business owners during these challenging times

As the business world moves from triage mode to recovery, we must remember one key takeaway from the pandemic: to stay agile. The last two years have underscored how quickly the ground can shift from under us and upend everything we know about our business models, so it’s vital that SMEs stay vigilant and open to changing course as necessary. Speaking from our own experience, we reinvented our offerings amid the pandemic to focus more on virtual events and digital experiences knowing those were the best ways to service our clients in a socially-distanced reality. Staying nimble isn’t necessarily easy but it’s critical for ensuring prosperity when the unexpected strikes.

Small Business Awards Canada

UPS Small Business of
the Year - Top 2

( Up to 100 employees )

Quill Inc.
Quill Inc. is an award-winning podcast production agency, specializing in branded content. We produce podcasts for enterprise-level brands that are looking for content that achieves maximum impact and results. Through high-quality audio and strategic podcast marketing tactics, Quill helps to boost your company’s podcast ROI.
Small Business Awards Canada
Fatima Zaidi , CEO and Founder of Quill Inc.

Fatima Zaidi is the CEO and Founder of Quill Inc. a full-service podcast hosting platform and production agency that supports brands in creating their podcasts, and CoHost a podcast growth and analytics tool. Fatima’s recognized as a valuable member of the tech and podcast landscape, winning two Top 30 under 30 awards, the Young Professional of the Year by Notable Life, Veuve Clicquot’s Bold Future Award, WICM Content Marketing award, and one of Flare Magazine’s Top 100 Women.

Your thoughts on winning the CanadianSME National Business Award

Quill is a full-service podcast production company and a hosting tech platform for professional podcasters. We are thrilled to have won the CanadianSME Small Business Award this year and are so proud of our team for everything we’ve been able to accomplish this year. We have navigated two pandemic years and come out the other side- and while raising capital is impressive there’s something to be said about bootstrapping a technology company that requires resilience, and hustle. Thank you again to the team at CanadianSME for giving us this recognition- we’re so incredibly grateful and proud.

Your special message/advice to small business owners during these challenging times

Being a founder, especially a female founder brings a unique set of challenges to the table. It requires us to be resilient, hustle and creative in all aspects of our business. But aside from these traits, I think putting your team first is paramount to a successful business. We’re so incredibly proud of our team at Quill for navigating two pandemic years while still seeing so much success and growth. During uncertain times or moments of recovery, it’s your team that will help to carry the company forward. So my advice for small business owners is to focus on hiring the right people not just based on skills and experience but also on how they mesh with the culture and mission of your business. And then once you’ve hired those people, make sure that they know they’re valued and have an opportunity to grow as the business grows.

Small Business Awards Canada

UPS Small Business of
the Year - Top 3

( Up to 100 employees )

Artha Learning Inc
Artha (Sanskrit: अर्थ) literally translates as “meaning, sense, goal, purpose or essence”. Creating meaning through design is our purpose. Lessons are more impactful when the learner is connected to the material and can associate it with the work they do out in the world. With this in mind, we build learning strategies that blend technology and good design with engaging content.

We make a point to listen, ask questions and learn as much as we can about you. Why is this important? Because every client is different. Every project is unique. By getting to know your goals, your pain points, your passions and your audience, we can develop the best possible strategies and solutions for you.
Small Business Awards Canada
Garima Gupta , Founder and CEO, Artha Learning Inc

Garima Gupta, Founder-CEO of Artha Learning, strives to bring innovation to the eLearning industry through immersive and engaging learning. As an award-winning, end-to-end learning solutions company specializing in all forms of digital learning, Artha Learning strives to make learning more meaningful when learners connect to the material and associate it with the work they do in the real world. Our company’s mission is to design engaging learning strategies that combine technology and design.


In our team, we have been asking ourselves, “When we can learn so much from YouTube, gaming, Google, and even Tiktok, why does institutional learning design seem so unintuitive and uninspiring?”. Artha Learning is changing that narrative by bringing pedagogically sound and visually stimulating digital learning to all learners.

Your thoughts on winning the CanadianSME National Business Award

It’s a privilege to be recognized as the Small Business of the Year (up to 100 employees). Today we are celebrating our work and the steps we’ve taken to make eLearning immersive and impactful. No one ever said learning had to be boring, we decided to prove that. Over the last few years, our client-partners and employees worked closely to bring impactful and engaging eLearning solutions to learners. Being awarded for that is a great accomplishment, and something we’ll deeply cherish.

Your special message/advice to small business owners during these challenging times

Believe in the reason you started your business, and never lose sight of the human goals in the business metrics. Entrepreneurship is chaotic, difficult and risky. It is not for everyone. But it is also very fulfilling and rewarding to create something of value and impact many lives in the process. I have found that keeping eyes on the big, human goals enables you to tide over short-term issues every business must go through.

Small Business Awards Canada

Technopreneur of
the Year Award

Ethical Swag, Inc.
We started Ethical Swag to give you trusted, easy to find options that best reflect your brand values. It’s hard to know when green washing is going on – we get it. So we set out to create a different kind of business.

As a Certified B Corp, we opened up and were audited to a global sustainability standard so that you know you can trust us. It’s important to us because it’s not what you say, but what you do, that matters.

We have built into our DNA a focus on people, planet and profit. We have set out to be wildly successful, so we can use that success to have an impact on our staff, our clients, our communities and our world. We invite you to be a part of that!
Small Business Awards Canada
Tara Milburn , President and CEO at Ethical Swag, Inc.

Tara Milburn is the founder of Ethical Swag, a company that takes the guesswork out of sourcing sustainable promotional products. Having seen companies struggle to demonstrate their culture and values through their brand touch points, Tara started an e-commerce platform to make relevant, resonant, and responsible buying easy. She came to entrepreneurship in her 50s, determined to create a different kind of business–one in which profit, planet, and people coexist. Ethical Swag is impacting lives through meaningful work and using the power of business to enact lasting change. The result is two solved problems for each client: improved sustainability performance, and responsible, branded products that employees and clients can be proud to carry.

Your thoughts on winning the CanadianSME National Business Award

Ethical Swag is honoured to be recognized for this award. The best part is the acknowledgment of our use of technology as a means to reach our sustainability goals. It is all about solving our client’s problems while leveraging business as a way to address some of our global issues. We do that through our use of tech.

Some may think we sell products with logos. Yes, we do that. The point is that it is not what you sell, it is why you sell it and the impact you can have! Thanks to our use of technology, we are able to amplify our impact and that of our clients.

Your special message/advice to small business owners during these challenging times

This is a significant opportunity as we emerge from the past couple of years. Corporations, the government and our workforce are looking for ways to hit the reset button and avoid some of the pitfalls of the pre-covid days. We can all play a part in the recovery, starting with how we measure success in business. Shareholder value, coupled with people and the planet, can and should be our new normal. As business owners/leaders, it is important that we consider the needs of our clients and staff as we grow. It is clear; that they are looking for a more positive impact. The opportunity exists to be on the leading edge of change and I encourage you to go there!

Small Business Awards Canada

Best Business Innovation

Properly
At Properly, we believe in creating a future in which Canadians can buy or sell a home with dramatically less friction, and surprising simplicity. Buying or selling a home should be a celebrated milestone, but too often instead it’s stressful, risky, and expensive.

We pair top talent, innovation, and technology to transform the buying and selling experience, from dreaming about buying a new home, to closing the sale, and everything in between.

Properly currently operates in the Greater Toronto Area, and Greater Vancouver Area. We’ll soon be expanding across Canada.
Small Business Awards Canada
Anshul Ruparell , Co-Founder & CEO at Properly

Anshul Ruparell is the co-founder, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Properly, a Canadian tech-enabled real estate brokerage that is making real estate customer-centric from ‘search’ to ‘sale’.



Properly’s Sale Assurance enables Canadians to buy their next home before selling their current home, without stress or risk. Properly’s free digital products enable Canadians to search and discover new homes online and its AI-powered pricing models enable Canadians to instantly access and track the value of their existing home. Properly is headquartered in Toronto, has raised over $160 million from top investors, and is currently growing revenue over 50% per month. Anshul has been featured in publications such as the Globe & Mail and Financial Post, has appeared on BNN, and was recognized as one of the most influential Torontonians of 2020 by Toronto Life.

Thoughts on winning the CanadianSME National Business Award

We’re honoured to receive the award for Best Business Innovation. We’re so proud of the work we do at Properly, as we support Canadians through one of the biggest financial and emotional transactions of their lives: buying and selling a home. The traditional real estate process can be stressful, so it’s been our mission to reimagine what real estate in Canada can look like. The innovative tools and services we’ve developed have been the product of hard work, grounding ourselves in our customers’ reality and a shared passion from our team to make real estate customer-centric.

Special message/advice to small business owners during challenging times

As leaders in the Canadian business landscape, we must continue to keep Canadians’ best interests at heart and stay grounded in their reality. Find ways to stay connected to your customer, whether it’s by listening to sales calls, investing in research or speaking to them directly, to understand their motivations, needs and pain points. Especially as Canadians recover from the past few years, we must create opportunities to change our industries from within to better the lives of Canadians.

Small Business Awards Canada

Entrepreneur of the Year

Canadian Mortgages Inc.
We’re a different kind of mortgage company. 

We’re not a bank. We don’t work for a bank. We work for you, our client.

We’re one of the fastest growing mortgage companies in Canada — and our approach to mortgage financing is as fresh as it gets. We believe in putting the power in your hands, where it belongs.

We’re tapped in to a nationwide network of more than 250 top lenders. We make them compete for the privilege of your business – not the other way around. We cut through the red tape, filter through the fine print, and get straight to the bottom line. Then we bring you the best offers on the market, answer every question you have, and let you decide on the loan offer that makes the most sense to you.

From the first phone call to the final signature, we’ll fight to get you the lowest interest rates, the quickest approval, and the most cash possible. You’ll see proof of the CMI difference in your bank account every month
Small Business Awards Canada
Bryan Jaskolka , CEO, Canadian Mortgages Inc.

Bryan is the visionary behind CMI Financial Group. Under his leadership, CMI has grown from a family-owned brokerage to become Canada’s premier private mortgage lender and one of the fastest-growing companies in Canada.


As a driving force in the Canadian private lending and mortgage financing industries, Bryan is recognized for his leadership and innovation. In addition to his vision, he brings expertise in residential, construction and commercial financing to the team. Bryan is passionate about the private lending industry and is committed to helping advance and streamline private lending practices across Canada.

Your thoughts on winning the CanadianSME National Business Award

I am extremely humbled to receive this prestigious honour. Like so many entrepreneurs, my path has not been conventional. This award is proof that there are many roads to success and sometimes you just have to pave your own. But I didn’t do this alone. None of this is possible without the strength and dedication of the incredible team I have behind me. I owe an enormous debt of gratitude to our broker and investor partners, and to our dedicated CMI family, who are the lifeblood of our business. This is a true team achievement.

Your special message/advice to small business owners during these challenging times

Canadian businesses have demonstrated incredible resilience in the face of countless challenges over the past two years. It’s a testament to the entrepreneurial spirit of Canadians, and further proof that adversity inspires true ingenuity. Resilience is a defining characteristic of entrepreneurs and business owners. They’re unfailing optimists and relentless problem solvers. They persist and persevere where many others would surrender.

My best advice to small business owners is to do what you’ve always done, and channel that same spirit of creativity and unconventional thinking. Remain fearless and never accept that something is impossible. Stay curious and never stop questioning how things could be done better. Anticipate change and challenge. Remain nimble and willing and able to pivot. Stay focused on the big picture. These are the constants that will continue to serve you as we enter this phase of recovery.

Small Business Awards Canada

Young Entrepreneur of
the Year

East Coast Lifestyle
Small Business Awards Canada
Alex MacLean , Founder & CEO at East Coast Lifestyle

The DNA of East Coast Lifestyle is simple: it’s about being proud of where you’re from. East Coast Lifestyle acknowledges that we were established and operate in Mi’kma’ki, the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq People. In March of 2013, Alex MacLean, a senior Business student at Acadia University was asked to start a temporary business for an Entrepreneurship class project. With an $800 loan from his dad and a passion to rep his coast, Alex produced his first 30 East Coast Lifestyle hoodies and sold them to his closest friends. Using the proceeds from the first batch, ECL began distribution from the trunk of Alex’s car and on his mom’s front lawn for several months until the birth of the popular anchor logo.



Within weeks, ECL became a staple on social media with thousands of photos of East Coasters showcasing their pride from all around the world. The hype continued to escalate by the day as pictures of celebrities representing their coast made their way to social media. From hockey superstar Sidney Crosby to Wu-Tang Clan’s Ghostface Killah and singing sensation Ed Sheeran, EastCoast Lifestyle solidified its place as the staple brand of the East Coast. Specializing in everything surf, snow and street, East Coast Lifestyle gives everyone an opportunity to wear their heart on their sleeve with fresh designs and high-quality clothing. East Coast Lifestyle allows you to bring a piece of home with you wherever you go – helping you connect with your coast from around the world.

Small Business Awards Canada

Excellence in Data Privacy
& Security Award

Capstone Industrial Training Solutions
Capstone Industrial Training Solutions is a remote-first company that works alongside global energy businesses of all sizes as their training partner of choice. Their portfolio of services explores how best to establish scalable and cost-effective training partnerships while remaining focused on driving value and exceeding clients’ training needs. As a full-service training company, they specialize in delivering high-quality technical writing, custom training, and competency management solutions. Their team of experts consult with clients on all aspects of industrial training and process safety, offer cutting-edge technology expertise, and deliver agile project management methodologies towards unparalleled training solutions.
Small Business Awards Canada
Alex Taimuri , CEO and Co-founder, Capstone Industrial Training Solutions

Our Director of IT Systems and Data Management has dedicated time each week to keep up to date on the latest cybersecurity threats and data breaches, a practice which Capstone ITS highly recommends all small businesses invest some time into. Both literature and news inform Security Tuesday, a weekly newsletter sent out to our entire Capstone ITS team to communicate relevant cybersecurity practices and reinforce our culture of digital literacy. Security Tuesday presents summaries of recent data breaches, cyber-attacks, and relevant new methodologies to secure systems. Background information on practices and procedures is also provided to support our efforts to protect the Capstone ITS infrastructure and our team from threats.

Thoughts on winning the CanadianSME National Business Award

We are honoured to have won the Excellence in Data Privacy and Security Award. The team has worked very hard to put processes in place to ensure data privacy and security are top priority at Capstone ITS and to drive success for our business, team, and clients.

Congratulations to our team who have shown true dedication to cyber security.

A very special thanks to our Director of IT Systems and Data Management for all your hard work and unwavering passion for technology and training!

Special message/advice to small business owners during challenging times

The COVID-19 pandemic was a major contributing factor to Capstone ITS becoming a remote-first company. As such, many practices were put in place in direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic and ensured our team, clients, and our wider community were supported throughout. Capstone ITS’ commitments at the onset of the pandemic remain in place to this day. The past two years have been a challenging time for all, but we are excited to be moving into the recovery stage and we have learnt many lessons!

Small Business Awards Canada

Black Entrepreneur of
the Year

Lisa’s Holistic Rehab & Neurofeedback
We can help you overcome these challenges by using cutting edge interventions such a Neurofeedback, PoNS, Urban Poling, Auditory Integration Training, and Colorimetry… to name a few. We have scoured the earth to find brain rehab interventions for your brain based disorders – from Australia, UK, USA, France, Israel, and Canada. Many of these interventions are offered in Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal…now it is finally here in the East Coast! Two locations to serve you. Halifax and Fredericton!
Small Business Awards Canada
Marcia-Lisa Dennis , Founder, Lisa's Holistic Rehab & Neurofeedback

Lisa Dennis has been a rehabilitation professional since 1999 and is the founder of Lisa’s Holistic Rehab & Neurofeedback. She has struggled with personal experiences of her own brain-based disorders (trauma, concussions, anxiety, depression, poor attention, reading difficulties) and this drives her to find interventions to help heal brains so that people of all ages can live a productive, meaningful life. She is also a doctoral student at Boston University and offers various workshops to help her community such as a Racism Rehabilitation experiential workshop with teachers and Early Childhood Educators (ECE) to reflect and act on their racial bias so that black and aboriginal children don’t end up on the school to prison pipeline. Lisa’s Holistic Rehab & Neurofeedback is committed to providing cutting-edge interventions that change the brain’s ability to heal itself. They help people of all ages by offering comprehensive assessments and innovative treatment options from across the globe to those suffering from chronic symptoms of trauma, attention issues, concussions, reading difficulties, sensory processing difficulties, anxiety, depression, balance, walking, migraines, and light sensitivity. Lisa is an out-of-the-box thinker and provides a holistic, culturally competent, client-centred service.

Thoughts on winning the CanadianSME National Business Award

I am thrilled and excited that CanadianSME is recognizing me as a black entrepreneur worthy of this honour. This category is needed because it is very common for black people to be invisible, unless something bad happens. I’m so pleased that I can be a part of helping everyone see black people as productive and contributing members of society. I am a proud Montrealer and former military spouse who moved around a lot and have constantly had to start from scratch to build my business. This award is proof that hard work pays off in the end.

Special message/advice to small business owners during challenging times

Life is short. There are no do overs. It is more important to live a life of meaning and passion then to get up each day doing a job that is not fulfilling. If you have a business idea, test the market, and see if people want your service or product. Be flexible and adaptable. Listen carefully and take a risk. It may mean that you only have $5 left (or negative) in your bank account! Use that to motivate you to continue. Get help from other people who love what they do so that you can continue doing what you love to do. Find mentors in your community. There are a lot of free resources and organizations that want you to succeed, so avail of them. You have a purpose, so get on with figuring it out so you can live your best life. There is no excuse.

Small Business Awards Canada

Digital & E-Commerce Business of
the Year Award

Seoplus+
We partner with world class organizations to deliver exceptional marketing campaigns. Our dynamic team of in-house experts leverages prestige partnerships, uses state-of-the-art tools & technology, and undertakes proven digital marketing tactics to achieve maximum results.

Our mission is to make life better, whether it is creating a worry-free experience that results in clients achieving their goals, or proactively helping a new hire maximize their professional development with a on-going training programs.

We maintain several prestige partnerships, including the Google Premier Partner designation, reserved for the top 4% of Google Partners globally. We are also a Facebook Marketing Partner and Shopify Partner.
Small Business Awards Canada
Brock Murray , Co-Founder and COO of seoplus+

Brock Murray is the co-founder and COO of seoplus+. As the driving force behind this award-winning, full-service digital agency, Brock’s passion is to help businesses establish, grow, and maintain their online presence. With the help of SEO, PPC, social media, content marketing, and more, Brock and his team help clients of varying sizes and verticals, from small, local retailers to large, multinational enterprise companies.

Your thoughts on winning the CanadianSME National Business Award

What an honour to be named the Digital & E-commerce Business of the Year. Thank you to CanadianSME and Zoho for the recognition. Full credit to our amazing team for their continued efforts and tireless work to help our clients achieve their online marketing goals. We are truly blessed and grateful to be working in an industry that has thrived in such challenging times. The sky’s the limit for our team and we hope to continue to have the opportunity to work with world-class organizations across Canada and beyond.

Your special message/advice to small business owners during these challenging times

Kudos to all the small business owners who have battled through unprecedented times and who have persevered. It has not been an easy road, and there is still much work ahead. The one thing that I’ve tried focusing on throughout the pandemic and on the road to recovery has been to lead by example. As a leader, our team looks to us for guidance, motivation, and support. At the same time, it’s also important to make sure you take care of yourself first. Be your best self. Keep your physical and mental health in order so you can bring your best every day. Take time to recharge if you need it, and don’t feel guilty for doing so. Small businesses are the lifeline of the economy and our community. Thank you for everything you do and wishing you success in the future.

Small Business Awards Canada

Business Woman of the Year

HER Digital Academy
HER Digital Academy is a global social impact school providing girls and women with the skills, confidence and community support enter and excel in a world of tech.
Small Business Awards Canada
Andrea Sesum , Co-Founder, HER Digital Academy

Andrea Sesum is a founder of HER Digital Academy, a global social impact school for women in tech.

 

She had her start in an education industry 18 years ago and had since then build several higher education schools in Canada & globally. Today, she work closely with companies, institutions and governments on bridging the global skills gap by helping them deliver industry relevant programs.

 

Although Andrea was born and grew up in former Yugoslavia during the civil war, Canada is her home now and where she

lives with my husband and two girls. Experiencing a civil unrest as a very young person has taught her the fragility of society, and how education can be life-changing in the face of adversity. Education was the key to Andrea’s empowerment and was instrumental in helping her build a successful career in a profession that not only she loves, but that also allows her to help others change lives.

Thoughts on winning the CanadianSME National Business Award

To receive a CanadianSME National Business Award is a great privilege and a truly humbling experience. It is recognition of the often hard and gruelling work we entrepreneurs put into building a business.

I am excited to know that CanadianSME Team and its sponsors are always paying attention, taking notes and working relentlessly to support and recognize the Canadian entrepreneurial community. I would like to congratulate all the nominees and winners of the 2021 awards. It’s an honour to be included among such a great list of trailblazing Canadian entrepreneurs.

Special message/advice to small business owners during challenging times

It’s a great time to be an entrepreneur in Canada! There are so many opportunities, support systems and entrepreneurial communities that you can plug into as a budding entrepreneur. My advice is to keep the grind going, put yourself out there and form strategic relationships and networking opportunities. That’s the smartest, leanest and a really effective way to create new business opportunities. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people. The worst that can happen is that you dont ever hear back, but there is also an even bigger chance that you do get a reply and open a new door to growing your business.

Small Business Awards Canada

Business of the Year -
Top 1

( 100+ Employees )

The Answer Company
Since 1994, we have been helping organizations answer questions about investments in technology and information systems. As Sage and Acumatica ERP consultants, our goal is to make companies more successful at what they do and help them gain the confidence to make profitable moves in their respective industries. From our offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto and Portland (US), our Sage and Acumatica ERP software solutions support accounting, operations, customer relationship management, human resources, time tracking and merchant services. Our ERP consultants are dedicated to addressing the unique challenges you face in your industry, and ensuring that your software is one that your business can grow with. We provide specialized business management solutions to industries such as manufacturing, construction, distribution, healthcare, food & beverage, nonprofit, and real estate.
Small Business Awards Canada
Shawn Ostheimer , Founder & President, The Answer Company

Beginning in 1994, Shawn has spearheaded The Answer Company’s growth to become one of the largest Independent ERP and Accounting software implementation and consulting firms in Canada. Shawn works actively with top technology partners like Sage and Acumatica to bring their solutions to life with customers. With over thirty years of experience implementing financial and management software systems, Shawn has contributed to every facet of improving clients’ businesses. Taking an active role in the company’s operations, Shawn is focused on propelling clients forward with technology. His emphasis on delivering phenomenal customer service has been instrumental in the company’s success and has become a pillar in The Answer Company’s culture.

Your thoughts on winning the CanadianSME National Business Award

We are extremely grateful to receive the Small Business of the Year (100+ employees) title in the Canadian SME National Business Awards 2021. We placed top three in the Small Business of the Year (50+ employees) category in 2020 and it’s with pride and joy to be recognized with an even higher ranking this year as our business and team continue to grow. This award is a testament to all the hard work my wonderful team has contributed to Propelling Businesses Forward and we would not be where we are today without them.

On behalf of all of us at The Answer Company, I would like to extend a warm congratulations to all my fellow award winners and a major thank you to the CanadianSME Magazine for celebrating business success in Canada.

Your special message/advice to small business owners during these challenging times

While many things changed over the last couple of years, our commitment to our team, clients and the greater community remained a top priority. Our People First approach continues to ring true today and has been the North Star in guiding our tremendous growth over the years. To other small business owners, while it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day, do not forget the people behind the technology, products and services you sell. As we enter into a phase of recovery, it’s important for us to stand together so that we all can emerge from this pandemic more agile, resilient, and stronger than ever.

Small Business Awards Canada

Business of the Year -
Top 2

( 100+ Employees )

Dig Insights
We founded Dig because we knew the industry could do better, and we wanted to be a part of leading that change.

People were beginning to transform the way they engaged with the world (Instagram, WhatsApp, and Snapchat), find a future partner (online dating), bank/invest (online and mobile banking), and even communicate their feelings (emojis/memes).

In comparison, traditional market research questions, methodologies and 5-point scale response options were starting to feel a little bit Shakespearian. The ways in which the industry was collecting information from people meant forcing them to communicate in unnatural ways, and this resulted in unnatural answers and intel that didn’t predict genuine human behavior.

This incomplete data was being presented to clients in long PowerPoint decks (or complex, confusing dashboards) that didn’t speak to them in the language of business. Researchers were presenting top-two-box scores and indexes vs. norms when what businesses truly care about is volume and revenue.

We’ve built a business that addresses these issues, developing methodologies and technology solutions that deliver insights to clients in the language of their business.
Small Business Awards Canada
Paul Gaudette , CEO, Dig Insights

A passion for strategy and innovation led Paul into consumer insights after finishing his degree in Strategic Management at EDHEC Business School in France. Paul currently spends most of his time focused on strategic growth opportunities, which includes investment opportunities with private equity and venture capital, acquisition opportunities for geographic and portfolio expansion, and additional revenue generating opportunities within Dig’s current operations.

Your thoughts on winning the CanadianSME National Business Award

We are so honoured and grateful to be accepting this award. It is truly down to the hard work of our team members at Dig Insights, the culture we’ve fostered across our company, and the projects our clients have partnered with us on. Thank you so much for the recognition!

Your special message/advice to small business owners during these challenging times

Our message to small business owners in this period of change is to be open to pivoting quickly to meet the changing demands of consumers and the economy. While much has changed in the last couple of years, things aren’t slowing down; being able to adapt to this kind of uncertainty and bring innovative and creative solutions to your business and customers will be your competitive advantage. The best part? Small businesses are particularly nimble. They can be adaptable in ways that larger players cannot – so do take advantage!

Small Business Awards Canada

Business of the Year -
Top 3

( 100+ Employees )

Fresh Prep
Small Business Awards Canada
Husein Rahemtulla , COO, Co-Founder at Fresh Prep

Fresh Prep was started in the Winter of 2014 by childhood friends Becky Brauer, Dhruv Sood and Husein Rahemtulla who were all in search of an easier answer to the question “what’s for dinner?” For busy people they found there were too many obstacles to cooking a wholesome meal at home and that made it all too appealing to just grab fast food instead. They figured there had to be a better option and that’s why they started Fresh Prep.

Small Business Awards Canada

Startup Business of the year

Delphi Technology Corp
Founded in 2020, Delphi Technology Corp is leading the digital transformation of adaptive training with virtual and augmented modalities, starting with the aviation and aerospace industries. With VR City, users engage in self-paced learning experiences and solutions in a Metaverse environment.
Small Business Awards Canada
Alan Tay , Co-Founder | CEO, Delphi Technology Corp

Thoughts on winning the CanadianSME National Business Award

My advice to any small business owners, during this recovery phase is not to give up and to collaborate with each other and other partners. The past two years, although highly challenging, have offered us an opportunity to shift our perspective as entrepreneurs, on how we can contribute to positive change in this world, and in our communities. It all starts at our doorsteps. By adapting to new ways of working and new products and services, in particular in this tech-boom era, we can continue to re-invent ourselves through upskilling, collaboration and inclusivity. We now have the opportunity to transcend barriers that entrepreneurs from decades ago, wouldn’t have dreamed of. By embracing change and adapting ourselves to constant-evolving technology and a world-inclusive culture, we can better understand our consumers’ needs and, therefore, set the foundation for a brighter future that we can be proud of.

Small Business Awards Canada

Best Professional Services award

ED for RDs: Eating Disorder EDucation for Registered Dietitians
Small Business Awards Canada
Shawna Melbourn , Certified Intuitive Eating Counsellor, ED for RDs: Eating Disorder EDucation for Registered Dietitians

Shawna Melbourn is a non-diet Registered Dietitian, an Approved Supervisor through the International Association for Eating Disorder Professionals (CEDS-S), and a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor. Shawna has dedicated her entire career of choice to supporting individuals and families to nurture recovery from eating disorders, disordered eating and chronic dieting.



With almost 20 years of dedicating her career to this vulnerable and rewarding population, Shawna developed an online training course just for Registered Dietitians. Dietitians generally do not learn how to support eating disorders in school, which has left many dietitians underprepared to support in a caring and safe approach. In ED for RDs: Eating Disorder EDucation for Registered Dietitians online courses, Shawna shares her years of training, clinical experience and evidence-based approaches to eating disorder care.



ED for RDs is a proud recipient of the 2021 Canadian SME Awards for Professional Services.

Your thoughts on winning the CanadianSME National Business Award

Winning the 2021 Canadian SME Awards for Professional Services is like discovering that the cake came with icing. I have always felt proud of the dietitians who dedicated their heart space, time and energy to learning about eating disorders. It has been through connecting with these dietitians that have shaped ED for RDs into what it is today.

Your special message/advice to small business owners during these challenging times

Since winning this award, it has added an extra layer of recognition that extends beyond dietitians and into the world of business. I’m thrilled and honoured that ED for RDs is now recognized as a model in business by the Canadian SME Awards.

Small Business Awards Canada

Immigrant Entrepreneur of
the Year

ApplyBoard
ApplyBoard simplifies the study abroad search, application, and acceptance process by connecting international students, recruitment partners, and academic institutions on one platform. Founded in 2015 by brothers Martin, Meti, and Massi Basiri, we’ve built partnerships with 1,500+ primary, secondary, and post-secondary educational institutions, and work with 10,000+ recruitment partners to drive diversity on campuses across Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia.

ApplyBoard has grown to become the world’s largest online platform for international student recruitment, assisting more than 300,000 students with their educational journeys. In 2019, ApplyBoard was named the fastest-growing technology company in Canada by Deloitte, ranking #1 on the Technology Fast 50™ list. In 2021, ApplyBoard ranked #8 on LinkedIn’s Top Startups List in Canada.

Our team has grown rapidly in the past six years, and we now have 1,500+ team members across the globe. The ApplyBoard headquarters is located in downtown Kitchener, ON, with representatives in more than 25 other countries including India, China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Nepal, Bangladesh, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the United States.
Small Business Awards Canada
Martin Basiri , Founder, ApplyBoard

As the son of two educators, Martin’s instinctive passion for education and modest upbringing in Iran led him to value the pivotal role learning plays in creating opportunity. Long before setting foot in Canada, Martin made his name as a serial innovator. At a young age, he discovered that he had a talent for creating and building systems. At 16, he landed his first order for one of his inventions.



During his undergraduate studies in Iran, Martin founded his first startup, where he invented and sold six different inventions. These inventions led to him winning the gold medal at the Geneva International Invention show in 2009.

Your thoughts on winning the CanadianSME National Business Award

“I’m so grateful and appreciative of winning the Immigrant Entrepreneur of the Year award. Being an immigrant entrepreneur where you have to learn a new country, language and culture, and at the same time, build a company from scratch is challenging, but also extremely rewarding. ApplyBoard wouldn’t be here without the immense support and hard work from all of our team members and of course, our students, school partners and recruitment partners. I want to congratulate all of the other amazing winners.” – Martin Basiri

Your special message/advice to small business owners during these challenging times

“My advice to all entrepreneurs and small business owners is to reevaluate your company’s mission and the impact that it brings into the world. Ask yourself if your mission motivates you, and can that mission drive each and everyone one of your team members. There should be a unifying value that unites every team member. This is going to tremendously help to align your team and bring an impact-driven mindset, not just one focused on monetary gain.” – Martin Basiri

Small Business Awards Canada

Inspirational Leader of
the Year

INKAS® Group of Companies
INKAS® Group of Companies is a Canadian organization whose divisions are global leaders that are renowned for their expertise in the fields of security, defense, manufacturing, finance, and environmental sustainability. As a forward-thinking company, INKAS strives to create a better and safer tomorrow by delivering an extensive range of industry-leading solutions on a global scale. Driven by continuous innovation and dedication to precision engineering, INKAS has developed some of the most innovative and cutting-edge security solutions within its industri90es today. For over 25 years, INKAS has been entrusted by governments, law enforcement agencies, corporations, and individuals worldwide to deliver solutions that meet their stringent security and quality requirements.
Small Business Awards Canada
Margarita Simkin , Founder, INKAS® Group of Companies

As Co-Founder and chairwoman of INKAS® Group of Companies, Margarita Simkin has been successfully building businesses and brands from scratch and bringing strategic direction to all divisions within the company. Margarita has been instrumental in building INKAS into a global brand known for continuous industry-leading innovations and leading multiple brands which have gone on to be acquired by major players in their industries. Among her accomplishments are founding and serving as the President of INKAS® Security Services Ltd. for over two decades, where her vision and unwavering work ethic led the company to rapidly become one of Canada’s top 3 Cash-in-Transit providers. She is pivotal to the strategic direction of the company and spearheads the expansion of the various divisions, both functionally and geographically, in order to drive the business to new heights.

Your thoughts on winning the CanadianSME National Business Award

As a woman driven to make a difference in the male-dominated industries of security and finance, I am honoured and humbled to be named Inspirational Leader of the Year. I started the company with my husband over 25 years ago with a single armored courier truck – and today, we run a multitude of companies, across various industries, that we have grown into global leaders within their respective fields. As a Canadian company, I am particularly proud that we are able to support our local community right here in Canada. I have a personal mission to protect individuals and enact positive change in the world, so I hope this recognition helps inspire other entrepreneurs to strive to build a better tomorrow.

Your special message/advice to small business owners during these challenging times

I am no stranger to the unapologetic obstacles that entrepreneurs endure in creating sustainable businesses that can withstand the test of time and prosper through the toughest times. I know we’ve all faced unimaginable challenges in these past few years, and my businesses have been no exception. But with perseverance, we can overcome adversity and challenges. If there’s one thing I’ve learned being in business for over 25 years, it’s that you must always be ready to pivot. We must not look at challenges and be defeated by them, but instead allow them to spark the change and innovation that will ultimately help us succeed. You must not fear shifting direction. Sometimes its necessary to pursue new directions, because the world is constantly evolving and we must be willing to continue evolving with it, despite the obstacles we face.

Small Business Awards Canada

Fintech Business of the Year

Zensurance
We believe the current process of buying and managing business insurance is due for a refresh.

How come we can buy almost everything online, but for business insurance, we need to make multiple phone calls, wait for a quote, send documents via fax and then go to the broker’s office?

At Zensurance we do things a little differently. We work hard at helping business owners save time by allowing them to request a quote online, 24/7, without having to speak to anyone. We understand how this is different from traditional insurance brokers, and that is exactly what motivated us to create an online brokerage!
,br> While our business is carried out online, we have a face and a place. We’re 100+ people working passionately across Canada to make getting business insurance a fast and easy process. If a business owner ever has to file a claim, we’re there to provide support.
Small Business Awards Canada
Danish Yusuf , Founder and CEO of Zensurance

Danish Yusuf is the CEO and founder of Zensurance, a Toronto-based technology startup focused on commercial insurance products and distribution. Danish is a former leader in McKinsey & Company’s Digital Insurance practice, supporting insurance clients globally in defining their digital strategy. Prior to McKinsey, Danish was a software architect and developer at IBM Canada. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Software Engineering from the University of Toronto and has an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Your thoughts on winning the CanadianSME National Business Award

This award recognizes Zensurance’s efforts to put business owners first as we simplify the insurance experience for entrepreneurs and self-employed professionals. It validates the innovative work we do to help business owners get the insurance they need and the respect they deserve. We started Zensurance with the aim of changing the status quo and making business insurance accessible to any company or independent professional. We will continue to focus on making the insurance buying experience for small businesses easy, quick, and transparent.

Your special message/advice to small business owners during these challenging times

There’s never been a time when being an entrepreneur or small business owner didn’t have countless challenges and unexpected turns in the road. The pandemic certainly exacerbated those challenges, but the Canadian small business community is resilient and has become stronger as a result. So keep doing what you’ve always done: be fearless and pursue your goals with unrelenting passion and determination. Take rejection as a positive sign: it may mean that you are challenging conventional thinking. Don’t give up. Keep learning, growing, and striving to achieve your goals no matter how long and hard the road ahead is.

Small Business Awards Canada

The Fastest Growing Company

Properly
At Properly, we believe in creating a future in which Canadians can buy or sell a home with dramatically less friction, and surprising simplicity.

Buying or selling a home should be a celebrated milestone, but too often instead it’s stressful, risky, and expensive.

We pair top talent, innovation, and technology to transform the buying and selling experience, from dreaming about buying a new home, to closing the sale, and everything in between.

Properly currently operates in the Greater Toronto Area, and Greater Vancouver Area. We’ll soon be expanding across Canada.
Small Business Awards Canada
Anshul Ruparell , Co-Founder & CEO at Properly

Anshul Ruparell is the co-founder, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Properly, a Canadian tech-enabled real estate brokerage that is making real estate customer-centric from ‘search’ to ‘sale’.


Properly’s Sale Assurance enables Canadians to buy their next home before selling their current home, without stress or risk. Properly’s free digital products enable Canadians to search and discover new homes online and its AI-powered pricing models enable Canadians to instantly access and track the value of their existing home. Properly is headquartered in Toronto, has raised over $160 million from top investors, and is currently growing revenue over 50% per month. Anshul has been featured in publications such as the Globe & Mail and Financial Post, has appeared on BNN, and was recognized as one of the most influential Torontonians of 2020 by Toronto Life.

Your thoughts on winning the CanadianSME National Business Award

Thank you CanadianSME Small Business Magazine for awarding Properly with the Fastest Growing Company award. Our exponential growth has meant that more Canadians can buy or sell a home with confidence through a seamless, reimagined real estate experience.



We’re grateful to be among such great companies in the small business community. Our team continues to grow and is motivated by the impact we’re making within the industry. We’re looking forward to continuing this momentum as we work to make real estate more customer-centric.

Your special message/advice to small business owners during these challenging times

While building a successful business that’s measured by metrics like revenue performance and profit is a top priority for many business leaders, building a successful company should be of equal importance. Surrounding yourself with a diverse group of people that can push you and your colleagues to grow is so important, so ensure you’re building an environment that fosters growth and fulfillment early on. Your people are your biggest asset and most important stakeholder group.

Small Business Awards Canada

Exporter of the Year

INKAS® Group of Companies
INKAS® Armored Vehicle Manufacturing is a global leader in its industry, specializing in the precision-engineering of vehicles that are designed to protect the lives of high-risk individuals. With over 25+ years of expertise in innovative technology and security solutions, INKAS is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of armored vehicles – delivering an extensive line of armored luxury cars, cash-in-transit bank trucks, special purpose law enforcement vehicles, and more. Renowned for its meticulous workmanship and its industry-leading security features, INKAS vehicles are entrusted for the secure transportation of government officials, law enforcement teams, corporate executives, and high net-worth individuals around the world. INKAS vehicles are built to uphold the most stringent standards and are expertly-engineered to integrate leading-edge protection features that stand up to the ever-evolving threats in today’s security landscape.
Small Business Awards Canada
Margarita Simkin , Founder, INKAS® Group of Companies

As Co-Founder and chairwoman of INKAS® Group of Companies, Margarita Simkin has been successfully building businesses and brands from scratch and bringing strategic direction to all divisions within the company. Margarita has been instrumental in building INKAS into a global brand known for continuous industry-leading innovations, and leading multiple brands which have gone on to be acquired by major players in their industries. Among her accomplishments are founding and serving as the President of INKAS® Security Services Ltd. for over two decades, where her vision and unwavering work ethic led the company to rapidly become one of Canada’s top 3 Cash-in-Transit providers. She is pivotal to the strategic direction of the company and spearheads the expansion of the various divisions, both functionally and geographically, in order to drive the business to new heights.

Your thoughts on winning the CanadianSME National Business Award

INKAS® is honoured to be named Exporter of the Year. As one of the largest manufacturers of armored vehicles in North America, we are proud to say that we generate a large part of our revenue from our export initiatives – which enables us to support the Canadian economy by creating new jobs and investing here locally within our community. For over 25 years, we have been dedicated to innovation within our field in order to help protect individuals whose lives are at risk due to the nature of their work, or the regions where they reside. Thus, serving the international market is at the core of our business model, and we are honoured to be recognized for our achievements in international trade.

Your special message/advice to small business owners during these challenging times

The automotive industry was especially hard-hit during the pandemic, when lockdowns caused an unprecedented halt in vehicle production and a bottleneck in the global supply chain. But while other automotive companies were shutting their doors, INKAS continued to grow. This is because, in order to build a business that is sustainable in an ever-evolving world, it is critical that entrepreneurs focus on reimagining their business in the face of disruptions, broadening or modifying their offerings to create stability, look for new opportunities to remain competitive, and develop lean yet flexible operations by using a data-driven approach to evaluate what is actually working. Furthermore, global demand continues to be the driving force behind INKAS exponential year-over-year growth  so as the world begins to reopen, we hope to inspire other Canadian entrepreneurs to explore the endless opportunities that lay beyond our borders.

Small Business Awards Canada

Customer Service Excellence

meowbox
meowbox is a happy humble cat subscription box company with offices in both Vancouver, BC and Portland, OR. We are kind of like an actual meowbox itself: cute, entertaining, unique, and well-put together.

meowbox is run by real people, who really love cats, and who care about their customers. We sincerely hope you can feel that.

It is our mission to get you as passionate as we are to try out new products and enrich the lives of your kitties. meowbox is our way of providing you with an exciting way to give your kitties the exercise, stimulation and happiness they deserve.
Small Business Awards Canada
Olivia Canlas , Co-Founder & CEO at meowbox

Aside from serving as meowbox’s head of opurrations, Olivia is a world traveller, aspiring polyglot, and cat mom to office mischief-makers Zac and Harvey. She never turns down ketchup chips or a good theme party.

Your thoughts on winning the CanadianSME National Business Award

It’s an honour to be the recipient of this beautiful award! On behalf of meowbox, thank you so much for choosing us. We are a small but very proud team of people and to be recognized like this means the world to us. Thank you.

Your special message/advice to small business owners during these challenging times

During this recovery phase, my advice to small business owners is to be very mindful of where you invest your funds and where you save them. My philosophy is to always ensure you take off your team because they’re the ones who keep the doors open and the wheels turning.

Small Business Awards Canada

The Best Business Support Organization

York Entrepreneurship Development Institute (YEDI)
York Entrepreneurship Development Institute is a charitable organization (no. 81209 5735 RR0001) whose mission is to provide top-tier business education and mentorship to innovative entrepreneurs from any sector or industry in order to build and accelerate successful businesses and efficient not-for-profit organizations. YEDI is committed to ensuring that ideas with high impact are not lost due to lack of knowledge during the start-up process. YEDI guides innovators to refine their ideas and create tested proof of concepts that are attractive to investors and will benefit Canadian society.

Upon graduation the entrepreneurs receive formal certification from YEDI, and the opportunity to pitch to potential investors, including our own Venture Fund.
Small Business Awards Canada
Marat Ressin , President, Professor at York Entrepreneurship Development Institute (YEDI)

Marat Ressin has led an incredible 20+ year career as an internationally successful businessman in business and real estate development. Having completed his PhD in Economics with a specialization in “small business crisis management,” Marat Ressin has extensive expertise in growing small businesses that attract investment, and has successfully reinvented and rehabilitated over 30 businesses from a variety of industries. Marat personally believes in the importance of social impact and has volunteered his knowledge to many not-for-profit organizations to help them become more efficient and achieve their goals.

Your thoughts on winning the CanadianSME National Business Award

Since 2013, YEDI has sought to identify and propagate the leaders of tomorrow – free-thinkers and outliers that bring audacious and transformative ideas with them. When these innovative entrepreneurs are supported and encouraged, they grow into the passionate, dedicated and inspirational leaders the world needs. At YEDI, professors, instructors, and facilitators actively collaborate to pursue meaningful change that benefits everyone. The result is an economy rooted in innovation, leveraging the latest technology to inspire creativity and imagination to grow and thrive. We are deeply grateful for the recognition of CanadianSME in our continuous pursuit of bridging the gap between entrepreneurs and access to high-level education.

Your special message/advice to small business owners during these challenging times

As Canadians begin to rebuild, my advice is to find meaningful problems in our changing society and bring forth innovative solutions. When your business is driven by the mission to help others, society will partner in your success. Speaking of partnerships, I think the best and fastest way to jump into the market is by developing strong relationships with organizations that may play a significant role in the execution of your business model. A new reality presents an abundance of opportunities and YEDI is committed to supporting Canadian entrepreneurs along the way. – Dr. Marat Ressin, YEDI President

YEDI’s mission is to educate, inspire, and nurture entrepreneurs and not-for-profit leaders with unrivalled programs, resources and mentorship that enable them to drive innovation and generate prosperity in Canada and around the world.

Small Business Awards Canada

Indigenous Entrepreneur
of the Year

Shades of Gray Indigenous Pet Treats Co
Shades of Gray is a family started, Canadian owned business that was inspired because of the food allergies that plague our daughters and a need for healthy dietary. This need led us to the discovery of the health benefits that rabbit meat gives, not only to humans but for our pets too and this led to us to raising rabbits.

Growing up on a farm with parents owning a butcher shop; it was a natural decision for the farm to start selling Federally inspected rabbits to local butcher shops, grocery stores and restaurants, thus the business grew so did our products.
Small Business Awards Canada
Keri Gray , Founder of Shades of Gray Indigenous Pet Treats Co

My passion for pets and meat products can be traced back to my pre-professional days. I grew up with my father farming and my parents running a local butcher shop in the town of Lakefield, ON. I worked in the Butchershop after school and on weekends. Being a 4-H member in both the Beef and Dairy groups, hanging out with our dogs, cats and farm animals or riding horses with friends. I have always been involved with animals and lots of pets. The reason? Well, they bring us joy, support and most of all unconditional love and happiness. Right now, my passion is the health and wellness of pet treats and farming animals to produce high-quality Treats for pets so they can live their best lives.



At 18, I left home for my education at the University of Manitoba. I enjoyed university very much and excelled on the university Track and Field Team. I also worked at the university while attending Agricultural classes. After university, I attended Red River College and completed a business program.

Your thoughts on winning the CanadianSME National Business Award

Chi Meegwetch, I am so honoured and humbled by this award. Thank you to the Canadian SME National Business Awards for taking the time to recognize Indigenous Business and manufacturing innovation. This award has deep meaning and so much impact on my journey as an indigenous woman entrepreneur. We are so thankful to our team and our clients, retail stores, IAPO and everyone believing in us.

As an Aboriginal woman in a male-dominated sector, I hope by achieving these awards it helps to show our youth and really anyone seeking a new career that at any age you can be successful and build your own business.

Your special message/advice to small business owners during these challenging times

When you try hard enough, there isn’t anything you can’t do. These encouraging words changed my life.

Small Business Awards Canada

The Best Team of
the Year Award

Fox Flight Air Ambulance
Fox Flight Air Ambulance is a Canadian-owned and operated international medical repatriation company with offices and hangar facilities located in Toronto. Fox Flight provides international medical transportation services through its fleet of specially configured LearJet 40XR air ambulances, as well as medical escort services on commercial air carriers. Fox Flight is staffed by fully licensed medical and aviation professionals and is accredited globally by EURAMI.

Whether via commercial aircraft or one of the company’s fully equipped Lear air ambulances, Fox Flight’s staff of licensed and experienced physicians, registered nurses and respiratory therapists can respond immediately to meet your medical repatriation needs – 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Small Business Awards Canada
David Fox , President - Fox Flight Air Ambulance

David Fox has been an active healthcare practitioner for more than three decades and a leader in the international medical repatriation industry for more than 25 years. He holds a degree in Nursing and Health Promotion and has worked as a critical care nurse in Emergency, ICU and NICU units in major metropolitan hospitals in Canada and the US. He founded Fox Flight Air Ambulance in Toronto in 1997 specializing in aeromedical transport and commercial escort services. Today, Fox Flight operates a fleet of four Learjet air ambulances and employs an experienced staff of medical and aviation professionals engaged in bringing sick and injured travellers home from wherever they are in the world.

Thoughts on winning the CanadianSME National Business Award

“Speaking for the entire team here at Fox Flight Air Ambulance, I can say that we are delighted and grateful to be recognized by Canadian SME magazine with their BEST TEAM Business Award for 2021. Last year was a challenging one for everyone, but for our team, it presented us with the biggest challenge in the history of our company. As healthcare professionals, we are proud that we were able to play a part in helping the healthcare systems in several provinces get through the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic. To have our team recognized, through this award, for their incredible dedication and professionalism is especially gratifying.”

Special message/advice to small business owners during challenging times

The COVID pandemic was hard on many small businesses. As an air ambulance company specializing in medical repatriation, the pandemic posed an existential challenge for our company as the global travel industry essentially disappeared. But by anticipating changes in the industry, being flexible and finding new revenue streams, our company was able to survive the crisis and emerge even stronger than before. I believe any small business that managed to survive deserves credit, but it is important that we learn the main lesson of the pandemic: that is you never know what challenge is coming around the corner. For that reason, it is important to stay ahead of trends in your industry, remain flexible in your business and always open to change.

Small Business Awards Canada

Editor's Choice Award

Save Max Real Estate Inc.
One of the fastest-growing Canadian Real Estate Brokerages, Save Max International has over $10 Billion in Transactions, a team of 700+ Realtors and a franchise network of more than 60 offices in Canada and India. Save Max has kept pace with current technologies to ensure their best services to clients, and also ease-of-use for their Realtors. Save Max is not just a team of real estate agents, but a team of entrepreneurs who are passionate about owning a business.
Small Business Awards Canada
Raman Dua , CEO/Founder at Save Max Real Estate Inc.

Coming from a humble background, Raman Dua believes in converting every challenge into an opportunity. With an MBA Degree and 5 years of experience in a multi-national company, Raman moved to Canada in 2003, dreaming of becoming an entrepreneur. After a few hits & misses, he decided on Real Estate as a career and established Save Max Real Estate Inc in 2010, out of a basement in Brampton. He is presently the CEO of Save Max.

Thoughts on winning the Canadian SME National Business Award

I am truly humbled to be recognized and receive the Canadian SME Editor’s Choice Award for Entrepreneurship. In today’s world, entrepreneurship goes hand in hand with risk-taking, hard work, and being street smart. The real meaning of success for me is creating success for others and that is the true meaning of being successful for me. I am a true believer in giving someone fish to eat is great; but teaching them to fish is even greater as they will never starve. And I like to lead by example I would like to commend the SME Magazine on this year’s edition of Awards and the hard work they put in to recognize Canadian small businesses.

Special message/advice to small business owners during challenging times

My advice to all new and small business owners in this recovery phase is simple clichéd but true phrase – ‘Never give up”. Many doors will be slammed in your face, you will be turned away by many, laughed at for your big dreams, but do not be disillusioned. Continue and keep working at your dream. Remember if you can dream it, you can achieve it. I started my business with a few neighbours and my wife from a basement in Brampton but never shied away from hard work and dedication and today I would like to say Save Max has become not only an iconic Canadian brand but also an international name. If I had stopped dreaming and become discouraged by what others told me, we would not have been where we are today with Save Max.

Small Business Awards Canada

The Best Place To Work

Uberflip
We empower marketers to personalize content experiences to help drive business growth by enriching go-to-market strategies with relevant content to accelerate customer engagement at scale.
Small Business Awards Canada
Sara Thomas , VP, People and Culture at Uberflip

Sara Thomas has over fifteen years of global experience leading people and culture at start-up, scale-up, and enterprise-level companies. She is an accomplished and empathetic leader who can connect with individuals at all levels of an organization with a focus on understanding what motivates and drives them. Her focus is to put the “human” back in human resources.



Sara has proven results by partnering with leaders throughout an organization to become better people managers– ensuring they think strategically about their teams, plan for growth and retention, and minimize managerial blind spots.

Thoughts on winning the Canadian SME National Business Award

It’s an honor to be named the Best Place to Work by CanadianSME. There’s so much that goes into creating a great culture, and this award is reflective of the leadership team and the learning and development opportunities offered to all Uberflippers. By putting work culture first, followed by product and then revenue, the company invests in the growth and career success of their employees and we’re excited that it’s paid off.

Special message/advice to small business owners during challenging times

The past two years were difficult for all businesses around the world, but now that the dust has begun to settle the time has come to recover. Here at Uberflip, we live and breathe experiences. So when we had to adapt to a remote environment at the height of the pandemic, we had to be sure that engagement and connection was a top priority. The company was able to act and pivot according to company values when the world felt chaotic and uncertain. Uberflip’s advice for small business owners? Hold fast to your company values and the rest will follow.

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