Startup Canada Celebrates Entrepreneurial Leaders at the CN Tower

12 June 2014
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Leading entrepreneurs, communities and organizations recognized for outstanding leadership in advancing Canadian entrepreneurship at the 2014 Startup Canada Awards Finale

TORONTO, June 12, 2014 –Startup Canada (www.startupcan.ca) unveiled the winners of the 2014 Startup Canada Awards today during a ceremony and reception atop the CN Tower.

The Startup Canada Awards can be likened to the Oscars for the Canadian entrepreneurship community. According to Dr. Sorin Cohn, the Chair of the Adjudication Committee, “These Awards celebrate the people and organizations dedicated to building a strong ecosystem in support of high-impact and high-growth businesses in Canada.”

In its inaugural year, the Awards had more than 260 applications and nominations from across Canada.

Regional winners were selected and celebrated at grassroots events throughout the month of May in Vancouver, Calgary, London, Montreal and Halifax. These events featured fireside discussions and Wolf Blass Wine Lounge receptions. The names of the regional winners were forwarded to the National Adjudication Committee, and more than 3,500 Canadians had their say through online public voting to decide the national winners.

Gerry Pond, a visionary entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist from Fredericton, was awarded the Wolf Blass Lifetime Achievement Award for his commitment to uniting and strengthening the entrepreneurship community in Atlantic Canada – a region re-inventing itself as a startup hub.

“We need to come together as an entrepreneurial region if we want to create the next generation of high-growth companies,” Pond said during his interview at the fireside discussion at the regional awards in Halifax.

Other individuals celebrated this evening include:

  • Ryerson University professor, author and television host Dr. Sean Wise as Mentor of the Year
  • Entrepreneur columnist and speaker Rick Spence as Media Person of the Year
  • Winnipeg-based entrepreneur Chris Johnson as Community Builder of the Year
  • VA Angel’s founder Randy Thompson as Investor of the Year
  • Dalhousie University’s Dr. Mary Kilfoil as Educator of the Year and
  • Fourteen-year-old founder of BodyBijou.com, Linda Manziaris, as Young Entrepreneur of the Year.

As part of the Awards, entrepreneurs also had the chance to recognize organizations and groups that are making a difference for Canadian entrepreneurs, including incubators, accelerators, non-profit, government and private organizations.

“Entrepreneurs don’t rest until they reach their goals, and neither should we,” said Helen Braiter, Director of the Build in Canada Innovation Program (BCIP), which was recognized as Government Program of the Year this evening. “We need to keep innovating as ‘intrapreneurs’ within our organizations to build the Canada our entrepreneurs need and deserve.”

BCIP is a national program that helps the government become the first customer of innovative products and services from startup companies.

Other organizations recognized for their entrepreneurial impact included Microsoft Canada, EY Canada, Wavefront, TEC Edmonton, the MaRS Discovery District, Startup Calgary, the International Startup Festival in Montreal and the University of New Brunswick.

“These Awards have given entrepreneurs across Canada the chance to say thank you to those who are creating the conditions for their success,” said Victoria Lennox, co-founder and CEO of Startup Canada. “We are recognizing and celebrating what we want to see more of in Canada so that we can become the best country in the world in which to start and grow a business.”

Click here for the full list of winners.