Presenting Your 12th Annual SBBC Awards Winners

The top small businesses in BC were announced last night as the winners of the 12th Annual Small Business BC Awards at the Pan Pacific Vancouver.

The competition was fierce and the winners had to prove their excellence among a group of 460 nominated businesses in ten different award categories. The winners were selected after an intense five-month process that involved online voting, applications and a Dragons’ Den style pitch to a judging panel.

This year’s winners are:

Premier’s People’s Choice
Julie’s Edible Bouquets – Quesnel

Best Community Impact
Mealshare – Vancouver

Best Company
Nonna Pia’s Gourmet Sauces – Whistler

Best Concept
Soil Mate – Kelowna

Best Emerging Entrepreneur
Float Space – Kelowna

Best Employer
Origin Gluten-Free Bakery – Victoria

Best Immigrant Entrepreneur
Infinity Enterprises Group – Whistler

Best International Trade
Target Marine Hatcheries – Sechelt

Best Online Marketer
Vonbon Children’s Apparel – Vancouver

Best Workplace
Mel’s Mainstreet Pizza & Pasta – Enderby

This year, the first-ever Best Emerging Entrepreneur Award and Best Immigrant Entrepreneur Award were handed out to recognize a young individual who contributes to the social, cultural and economic well-being of their communities, as well as an outstanding new Canadian who has started a successful business in BC.

“The Small Business BC Awards are all about celebrating hardworking entrepreneurs, the people who make small towns and big cities thrive,” said Premier Christy Clark, who with support of the Province of British Columbia sponsored the Premier’s Prize of $1,500 cash to the winners of all 10 award categories.

Winning a Small Business BC Award can serve as a launching point for many small businesses, offering recognition, raising awareness and creating opportunities for exposure.

“We are extremely proud to help showcase the diverse talent and tremendous determination that exists amongst BC’s entrepreneurs. We congratulate the winners of the Small Business BC Awards and hope to see even more businesses recognized for their success next year,” said George Hunter, CEO of Small Business BC.

The Small Business BC Awards Contest is hosted annually by Small Business BC to celebrate the top small businesses from across British Columbia. Nominations for the 13th Annual Small Business BC Awards open on October 1, 2015; all businesses in BC are encouraged to participate.

Congratulations to the 2015 Small Business BC Awards Top 5 Finalists

After two intense weeks of deliberation by our judges, the Top 5 finalists for the 12th Annual Small Business BC Awards have now been chosen.

The Top 5 finalists from nine of the ten categories will now present a ten minute business pitch to a panel of industry experts and successful entrepreneurs, who will decide the winners of this year’s Small Business BC Awards.

Winners will be announced on February 26, 2015 at the Small Business BC Awards Ceremony at the Pan Pacific Vancouver, where we hear special messages from Premier Christy Clark, the Honourable Naomi Yamamoto, Minister of State for Tourism and Small Business and Travel Best Bets Founder and Global BC travel expert, Claire Newell. Buy your tickets before January 31 and receive $5 off the ticket price, using promo code SBBC-EARLY2.

We now present to you, your 2015 Top 5 finalists.

Premier’s People’s Choice

  • Firehall Brewery – Oliver
  • Game Quest – Prince George
  • Julie’s Edible Bouquets – Quesnel
  • Nonna Pia’s Gourmet Sauces – Whistler
  • So Country Radio – Penticton

Best Community Impact

  • eeko Couriers – Vancouver
  • Mealshare – Vancouver
  • Sole Girls – North Vancouver
  • Spark Creations – Vancouver
  • Squamish ReBuild Society – Squamish

Best Company

  • CoreHealth Technologies – Kelowna
  • Fully Managed – Vancouver
  • Nonna Pia’s Gourmet Sauces – Whistler
  • Pro-Med Ambulance – Fort St. John
  • Rocky Point Ice Cream – Port Moody

Best Concept

  • Flytographer – Victoria
  • Nourish – Kelowna
  • Playgrounds Café – Prince George
  • Soil Mate – Kelowna
  • Swept Away Inn – Port Alberni

Best Emerging Entrepreneur

  • Float Space – Kelowna
  • Hungry For Happiness – Vancouver
  • My Alberni App – Port Alberni
  • Plenty and Spare Naturals – Vancouver
  • Rise Adventure & Wellness Solutions – Victoria

Best Employer

  • 6S Marketing – Vancouver
  • Canadian Wilderness Adventures – Whistler
  • Intuitive Independence Rehabilitation Services – Chilliwack
  • Origin Gluten-Free Bakery – Victoria
  • RDC Fine Homes – Whistler

Best Immigrant Entrepreneur

  • Chez Christophe Chocolaterie – Burnaby
  • Infinity Enterprises Group – Whistler
  • Shiraz Cafe & Restaurant – Prince George
  • Vancouver Tumblebus – Port Coquitlam
  • Your Score Booster – Vancouver

Best International Trade

  • Averill Creek Vineyard – Duncan
  • Branded Athletics – Coquitlam
  • Doi Chaang Coffee Company – Vancouver
  • Polar Feet – Vancouver
  • Target Marine Hatcheries – Sechelt

Best Online Marketer

  • 505-Junk – Richmond
  • All Inclusive Marketing – Vancouver
  • Heartstrings Home Décor – Smithers
  • The Greenery Garden Centre – Kelowna
  • Vonbon Children’s Apparel – Vancouver

Best Workplace

  • – Vancouver
  • CCN – North Vancouver
  • Chris’s Sign & Lighting Service – Langley
  • CoreHealth Technologies – Kelowna
  • Mel’s Mainstreet Pizza & Pasta – Enderby

While the Votes are Being Counted, Here’s Some of This Year’s Highlights

Nomination and voting has now closed. Thank you for taking the time to nominate your favourite businesses and voting to help them compete. While we’re busy counting the votes and running our normalization calculations, we thought we would share some of the news highlights from this year’s nomination period:

Nominations Open for Small Business BC Awards 2015 – VanCity Buzz

What does being a Small Business in Vancouver Mean to You? – VanCity Buzz

The Tech for Kids initiative: Striving to give all kids access to techh – VanCity Buzz

Small BC Business Owners Share Tricks of the Trade(PHOTOS) – Huffington Post

Two in the Running for SBBC Awards – Delta Optimist

Businesses get the Provincial Nod – The Prince George Citizen

Three Local Businesses Nominated for SBBC Awards – Langley Today

Houston Shop Recognized by Small Business BC Awards – Moose FM

Local Small Businesses Nominated for BC Award – Abbotsford News

More Penticton Nominees for Small Business BC Awards – BC Local News

Two Small Businesses in White Rock Nominated for Small Business BC Awards –

Down to Business: Small Businesses Recognized in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows – Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows Times

Four Small Businesses in Kamloops Nominated for Small Business BC Awards – Interior Daily News

Don’t forget to check back December 12, 2014 to find out who the Top 10 Finalists will be.

And, remember, tickets are now available for the 12th Annual Small Business BC Awards Ceremony, which takes place at the Pan Pacific Vancouver on February 26, 2014, buy yours today!

VIDEO: Toby Barazzuol Shares Tips on Work-Life Balance, Systems and Teams

Toby Barazzuol started Eclipse Awards, a world class recognition supplier and boutique consulting firm in 1998. Originally based in Yaletown, he soon realized that it would be better for his business to move to somewhere that it could make a difference on the community it was based in. So they moved to Strathcona.

As a business, Eclipse has worked with some of the world’s most successful organizations including NASA, the United Nations and the US Marine Corps.

But, it is not their clientele that makes Eclipse stand out in a crowd. Toby’s focus on regeneration and building strong communities has made him an iconic figure in Vancouver and beyond. Understanding sustainability is the single greatest investment you can make toward your future success. But Toby warns that the world is much more transparent now, with social media, so it is important to actively live by those values.

“It is a healthy process to think about your business in new ways in terms of manufacturing, marketing and how you relate to your staff,” explains Toby. “All those things you can look at through a new lens of sustainability it can be very beneficial and enlightening … you might come out with some kind of money-saving program that will not only reduce your environmental footprint but your costs too.”

Find out Toby’s three success tips, including how to achieve work-life balance below.

VIDEO: Fully Managed Inc, Shares how to be the Best Employer

Chris Day started Fully Managed in 2002. We was the sole employee, working as an independent IT consultant from home. Today, he has 40 employees, with offices in Vancouver and Edmonton. Scaling the business from one to 40, though is no small feat, but it was the kind of challenge that inspired Chris to be an entrepreneur.
For Chris, a major turning point in the business came when he clearly defined the company’s vision and goals. “Until we figured out our core purpose and values, we had a difficult time attracting and retaining the right people,” says Chris.

Today, his strive to create an exceptional workplace, is paying dividends. Recently being recognized as the Best Overall Workplace Under 100 Employees in Alberta and in Business in Vancouver’s Top Forty Under 40, as well as the Small Business BC Award for Best Employer in 2014.

Fully Managed does more than recruit employees who share its vision, they invest their resources in developing their employees too. Giving them the opportunity to create better lives for themselves and their families.

Chris’s advice for those starting out? “Figure out what makes you different from the other guy and develop your ‘why’,” he says. “It’s not to make money or to deliver a service – what will your clients feel if they work with you? Why should they choose you?”

Find out more tips for success from Chris in his video below.


VIDEO: Xanatos Marine, Best International Trade Winner, Share Their Tips for Success

Xanatos Marine believes that there is no problem that cannot be solved. They provide unique and customized marine security and monitoring equipment for clients including the Indonesian Marine Police, World Bank, US Department of State, the International Maritime Organization, Transport Canada and the United Nations.

Working in these countries, Xanatos Marine’s founder, Bill English, biggest lesson has been to make sure that he understands his client’s way of doing business. For this, he depends on the Canadian Trade Commissioners in each country, who provide invaluable insight on how to be successful internationally.

When asked what inspires him, Bill simply answers, “Our clients.” He explains, “When you look at the selfless acts organizations like the coast Guard take on it’s quite inspiring. Heading into 10 meter swells and heavy winds to rescue, risking their own well being, inspires me to develop technologies to assist them.”

Bill’s advice to other entrepreneurs? To have an honest discussion with yourself about your strengths and weaknesses. You can then use this understanding to hire the people who are strong, where you are weak, and work as a team to grow the business. But his biggest advice is one of acceptance. “You’re going to make mistakes… learn from them, adjust your strategy and move on.
Don’t give up!”

Find out more tips and advice from Xanatos Marine Business Development Manager, Kris English, in his video below.


How Customer Nominations Can Empower Your Business

We all know that awards can benefit your business. They create opportunities for making connections, generate awareness, and help build your reputation and market position. The benefits can be worth so much more than just the title and trophy you receive. But, the thought of nominating your business can be daunting. You may have that little voice in your head asking “are you really the best?”

So, what greater compliment can there be than when your business is nominated for an award by an employee, customer or community member? They are telling you that they believe in you. That your business makes a positive impact.

We asked two of our nominees from the 2014 Small Business BC Awards how they felt when they found out they had been nominated by a third party. And, here’s what they had to say:

BikeHike Adventures Inc., Top 5 Finalist for Best Employer Award

Trish Sare, Founder and Director of BikeHike Adventures, says she felt truly humbled to be nominated for the Best Employer Award. “Our business is all about people, both employees and clients and I’ve always strived to create a dynamic, supportive, stimulating environment for my employees while giving them as many opportunities for growth as feasible.” At the same time, she says, she has always questioned whether she’s successful in every realm, so to be recognized externally, felt empowering.

i-Worx, Best Workplace Award Winner

Andre Coetzee, Director and Co-Founder of i-Worx, describes how he was delighted when he found out that he and Jose Gavina had been nominated for the Best Workplace Award. “Jose and I are not the kind of people to nominate ourselves for awards,” he says. “I was super excited because it meant that we were being recognized for something that we worked hard to achieve since day one.” Once Andre found out who had nominated them, he immediately found them and thanked them for their nomination, telling them how much it meant to them. They have used the positivity and momentum of the awards to push their business forward and make their workplace “even more awesome” to be part of.

So, what are you waiting for? Nominate your favourite business for a Small Business BC Award today and empower a business that you think makes a positive impact to your community.

VIDEO: Best Online Marketer Winner, Jenna Herbut, Shares Her Tips for Success

Jenna wanted to give traditional craft fairs a makeover and appeal to a whole new generation. She started Make It Productions.

Once a year she gathers 250 exhibitors to the PNE Forum in Vancouver and The Enjoy Centre in Alberta to sell all things craft to well over 15,000 socially conscious shoppers.

What’s Jenna’s secret? “I’m naturally creative, so coming up with lots of ideas was always very easy for me.” Her love of being able to get people excited about Make It! is also key. “I’m good at connecting people and generating a lot of PR for our designers.” One of the contributing factors to her winning the Best Online Marketer Award in 2014.

Jenna puts her quick rise to success down to her determination. “There isn’t anything you can’t do if you put your mind to it and believe in yourself. “ She explains, “One thing I think people do too much is quitting too soon. It can be really tough, but if you just stick with it you’ll be amazing at what you can accomplish. It’s little steps forward every day that gets you to your dream.”

Find out about her three tips of success.

Video: Christina Platt Shares Her 3 Success Tips for Small Businesses

For Christina Platt, Bamboletta Dolls is about community and the positive local impact it creates; something that the judges of the Small Business BC Awards recognized when they awarded her the Best Community Impact Award in February 2014.

However, Christina has been expanding her business’ reach outside of her immediate community too. Through Bamboletta Dolls’ online presence, she’s been able to develop a solid rapport with her customers. As a result, she’s been able to rally Bamboletta’s Dolls online fans to make a difference in her local community through online auctions.

Christina has spent the last 12 years building Bamboletta Dolls exactly as she envisioned it, and is quite content with the state of her business is right now. It’s an event when new dolls are posted for sale on the Bamboletta website, and they sell out almost instantly.

Find out about her three tips for small business success on managing teams, social media strategy and evolving business plans:

Two New Award Categories for 2015

Every year we strive to increase the impact of the SBBC Awards, so we can better support and celebrate BC small business owners. This year, we’re pleased to add two new award categories and significantly increased the prizing with the support of our sponsors.

“Our small business community is driven by hard working committed individuals from diverse backgrounds who understand both the value of community and the opportunity to live and work in our wonderful province. That’s why we felt it important to add the categories Best Emerging Entrepreneur Award and Best Immigrant Entrepreneur Award to the contest,” says George Hunter, CEO at Small Business BC.

Best Emerging Entrepreneur Award

The Best Emerging Entrepreneur Award recognizes a young individual who contributes to the social, cultural and economic well-being of their communities. This individual has demonstrated community leadership and entrepreneurial initiative, and has a strong vision for change.

Find out more about the Best Emerging Entrepreneur Award.

Best Immigrant Entrepreneur Award

The Best Immigrant Entrepreneur Award, recognizes an outstanding new Canadian who has started a successful business in BC. This individual has overcome adversity, exhibits leadership both in their community and within their business, and has strong track record of business growth.

Find out more about the Best Immigrant Entrepreneur Award.