Help Select the Futurpreneur Canada 2019 Award Winners!

The 2019 Futurpreneur Entrepreneur of the Year award goes to a young entrepreneur or young entrepreneurs who have made a mark on the entrepreneurial landscape through their exemplary activities and leadership of their company, as well as their engagement in the entrepreneurship community.


Graeme Deroux, Alpine Print Company

"In our community, our shop has helped over 500 brands make money selling products - we have helped them decide on promotional product to sell and helped with design work. With full rebranding packages, and tshirt promo kits - we have opened up e-commerce to tons of businesses in and around us. As a leader for entrepreneurs we have proven that you don't have to follow the giants in the industry - you can forge your own path and create your own lane. As an example we are the only shop in town using thinner thread mesh on our screens - something that requires your shop to be a little more tuned in but has a huge payout in the quality of product you use. Every time someone asks our secrets, I get a little more excited to talk about the small things we do in our shop that make us who we are."


Ann Margarette Roque, Little Medical School – Calgary

"As a young entrepreneur, woman entrepreneur, mom entrepreneur and an immigrant to Canada, I believe I have embodied the underrepresented groups that can breakthrough in business. My mindset of a “Can Do” attitude has helped me to navigate through issues and setbacks in starting your own business. I also have the belief that we are in a community willing to help each other, and we should not be hesitant to reach out for opinion and expertise in order to grow. I love that I have benefited a lot from Futurpreneur’s mentorship program. Also, being authentic and honest as much as possible will bring true success. In a short time of doing business, I have gained the trust of my community and other businesses as I was recently featured in CBC News Calgary for the significant impact our programs have in our community."


Jacqueline Wong, Maker Cube

"As entrepreneurs we know the start up struggle very well, there are many barriers in place that make it difficult for an entrepreneur to launch their business. Maker Cube has impacted the entrepreneur community by eliminating those barriers and creating a place for entrepreneurs to connect. Entrepreneurs at Maker Cube can rent studio spaces or offices to do their work that are almost half the price of renting a commercial office space. Our business also provides access to tools and equipment that would create a heavy dent in start up costs for any entrepreneur. The final barrier of gaining exposure has been eliminated as entrepreneurs can connect with other Maker Cube members, share their story and their business ventures."


"I have surrounded myself with entrepreneurs in Canada and the US. From other trainers and gym owners to those who are outside of my field of expertise. I am constantly sharing ideas, best practices and what I've learned and having those conversations to help one another. I also am a source of encouragement to those around me who own businesses. I think it is really important to share what you know, what works, what doesn't, what you've learned to help others as well. "

The Growing Strong Award goes to a business that has successfully expanded its operations to new locations outside of their original market, either nationally or internationally.


Craig Vandermeer, Insight Global Education

"The biggest challenge has been figuring out how to accurately market within locations where we don't have physical presence, a recognized brand, or much capacity. In turn, we've developed a partnership based strategy allowing us access to large markets in collaboration with organizations, rather than in competition.
Our sales growth outside of our initial market has resulted in significant growth for the company, as our last fiscal year saw company total revenue grow from approximately $600k CAD to $1.2m. We have just signed extensive partnership agreements with the largest public education institution in the United States - the State University of New York (SUNY), giving us access to 64 higher education institutions. "


Oliver St-Onge, Urban Studies

Urban Studies offers vocational training in the field of building inspection. We are the only training school to provide a program that is entirely online and well-suited to each student individually. We are recognized by many provincial and international professional associations. For the last four years, we have grown exponentially annually. This year, we trained 106 students in Québec and Ontario, generating nearly $ 500,000.00 in revenues. We changed our platform for students in order to respond to an increasing demand and provide an excellent service. I believe that this strong growth has been a real challenge and helped us bring our product to the next level.


Sunil Khandade, Venuetop Rentals Inc.

"We were very successful in establishing a relationship with services providers and aggregator companies for the venue sourcing and expand our reach Canada wide. Our biggest challenge was: being in a small space with a small team and convince the global players for the partnership with our potential and right approach we could overcome the challenges in expansion.
Our growth and expansion are helping us in setting up as a brand, the largest platform for venues resulting in more sales and trust. "


Melissandre Reffo, Esprit de Famille

Esprit de Famille is a new concept structured around day-to-day activities: a daycare centre, a coffee shop, a caterer, workshops and a store, all built to suit our clientele's needs. Esprit de Famille is mainly known for its daycare centre. Today, after being in operations for 18 months, we have more than 200 people on our waiting list. Our service offer is an "all-inclusive package" to ease the life of the families and offer a communication framework relying on co-education.

The 2019 Disruption Award goes to a business that has demonstrated innovation and industry disruption that benefits their community.


Kevin Jakiela, Just Vertical

"The design of the product has been one of key differentiating factors for us for moving into and moving forward in the indoor gardening and mainstream spaces. Eliminating the ‘gadget’ look of the product and instead designing something complimentary to the modern healthy lifestyle allows us to position our product as a unique lifestyle furniture piece. In addition, from a plant science perspective, we differentiate ourselves by getting more production out of each plant and by providing a greater variety of available plants to our customers. Unlike many of our competitors, we can grow plants to full maturity allowing us to grow items that our competitors cannot."


Mathieu Plante, B2B Quotes

Nowadays, it is challenging to get the correct information when a business wishes to find a partner to pursue a project. With Google, you can get thousands of results and, most of the time, the vendors approached will tell you that they are the best to respond to your business’ needs. We know that most of the time, these are not the best partners and, thanks to our platform and algorithm, we can make a real difference in the selection process of suppliers. Sometimes, businesses postpone large projects because of time constraints or the fact that they do not know where to start. Finding vendors, explaining the project to each of them and selecting one can be a complicated process. Choosing the wrong supplier might be extremely costly in terms of money and time but, mostly, in terms of opportunity costs. Our business model is innovative in the business sector. We revolutionize the way businesses seek out partners.


Christian Hamel, Sook Media

Sook Media is a web platform that allows businesses to find and manage responsible advertising partnerships for new media. With the available tools, clients can save time with automated research and secure the process, including negotiations, contract signing and payments, thanks to a legal monitoring. No other similar platform exists in Canada (we also were the first on the world stage when we launched the business). We also are trailblazers in this advertising branch that becomes more and more popular. Since we did not have any competitors to base our business on, we did much research to find the best approaches. To obtain the final product that we offer today, we had to do research that resulted in numerous trials-and-errors.


"To know our industry is to know how much we have chosen to challenge the traditional model of rehabilitation. For far to long, physiotherapy and chiropractic care has been quantity-driven, with appointment bookings regularly reaching near triple digits per week. At CONNECT, we feel that this compromises the care of the patient, and jeopardizes the career longevity of the clinician in an industry where burnout is not the exception, but rather the rule."


Natasha and Edward Tatton, Sea to Sky Sourdough BReD Inc.

"Commercial bread is often made with GMO flours and has baker's yeast added to speed up the process. Our bread is baker's yeast-free and slow-proofed, with a heavy emphasis on ancient grains which are not harvested with glyphosate, making it much healthier and easier to digest. The majority of our grains are from BC and for some of our baked items, we even house-mill the grains. Many people who are gluten-intolerant generally avoid bread but now we have those people buying our sourdough and telling us "It's the only bread I can eat!" and we love to hear that we are making a difference to people's lives. Since time immemorial, bakeries have relied on cow's milk, chicken eggs and various animal cheeses to produce baked goods, and coffees are traditionally made with cow's milk. We built our kitchen ourselves and have never used animal products in any of our goods, so we are also allergen-free in that respect. We want people to prefer our offerings over animal-based products because our objective is to make veganism an easily-adopted and widely-recognised approach to reducing animal suffering and environmental damage. We show people that you can have a delicious latte, cinnamon bun or cookie without harming animals, and reducing the environmental footprint that animal agriculture has on the planet at the same time. "

The Grit Award goes to a business that has overcome failure, exhibited dedication and perseverance, and found success in spite of those challenges.


Jennifer Dubois, Miyosiwin Salon Spa

"A fire devastated our business just 13 months after we opened our doors.  The fire originated in the business next door and travelled to our space through the attic and roof. During that time, we changed our business model to keep our staff busy. We travelled to First Nations Communities for health days and set up mini services for community citizens. Many of our employees were able to work from home during this time for other income. Our rebuilt Salon has now open for 6 months post fire. We face all challenges that a new business encounters once again. Our space is rebuilt and our doors are back open but gaining back our clients who went to other salons and once again reestablishing ourselves as a credible business in Regina is now our challenge. "


Eric Santerre ToK Communications

In autumn 2018, we experienced a significant drop in sales and severe financial issues. Since the inception, I had never faced such a situation. It has been challenging, and it took a toll on my personal life. I always feared that I would not be able to pay my bills on time and, more importantly, I did not want my team to feel the pressure. I tried to maintain the same work conditions for them. It has been very challenging, but I learned a lot. I was living with the impostor syndrome, believing that I was not good enough and strong enough to pursue the growth of my business. This belief is what shook me the most.


Guillaume Guertin, Le Clan des Brasseurs

Like any other small business, cash flow is often an issue. We opened our doors in August 2017. In January 2018, I had to ask my partner to go to work full-time in a microbrewery to reduce our monthly costs. In autumn 2018, I had to inject $5K of my savings and obtain a new loan from BDC to ensure the survival of my enterprise, regardless of a growth in sales. At present, we had to ask for a capital repayment holiday on our largest loan, cut our meagre wages and recover a part of the working capital.


Joel Kennedy, Perogie Pirates

"Our biggest challenge was overcoming the seasonal aspect of our business. Our spring and summer months are extremely short in Saskatchewan and Futurpreneur was initially skeptical to offer their services as it seemed we wouldn’t be operating for several months of the year. "

The Mentor Award goes to a mentor who has demonstrated a sincere and empowering commitment to mentoring young entrepreneurs and helping build the small business community. A $1,000 prize in professional development will be awarded to the 5 finalists.


Juan Navarro

"I think that mentoring has brought a very important value to my life and the lives of my mentees because we have learned and grown together from our different positions through sharing our ideas, experiences, and knowledge. In addition, we should consider as well the social value that mentoring brings to society which is huge because there are so many incredible entrepreneurs out there, and with guidance and advice they can gain the confidence to move forward in their business initiatives. It is a shame that some good business projects don’t succeed due to a lack of mentorship; this is a serious issue that we should work together as a part of the society and fill that gap in benefit of young entrepreneurs and society."


Hugh van Praet

I have also learnt a lot from Andrew (Entrepreneur). The Canadian culture, his experience in online sales & marketing, to name a few. I have always appreciated him coming into our meetings with positive energy to do better. This mindset had, of course, a significant positive impact on me too.


Chin Hing Chang

Growth and personal development. Mentorship is an equal value relationship and I learn just as much from the entrepreneurs I work with as do they from me. Another key value in mentorship for both myself and my mentees would be contribution. Being able to give back, and see that contribution grow through the positive work that my mentees create in their business gives me great pride.


Michael Craig

"It has opened me up to new industries that I have never had the opportunity to be exposed to before. I would have never dug into so much research about the VFX and movie industry if it weren't for this program. "


Jennifer LeBrun

"Entrepreneurship can be a lonely journey at any stage. Having the opportunity to exchange and engage with others who ride this wild journey is a privilege that I am grateful for. Trust, inclusion and availability are just some of the rewards of these relationships. Such reciprocal communities build strength to the entrepreneurship landscape as a whole and create more collaborative societies - making me even more proud to be in Canada. "

Voting is Now Closed

The Futurpreneur Canada 2018 Award Winners

The 2018 Futurpreneur Entrepreneur of the Year award goes to a young entrepreneur or young entrepreneurs who have made a mark on the entrepreneurial landscape through their exemplary activities and leadership of their company, as well as their engagement in the entrepreneurship community.


“To be a founder made me realize my potential, the potential of my company and its expansion through international opportunities. Being a female entrepreneur is an opportunity to represent women in business and to be a role model for other young women entrepreneurs. As I am newcomer in Canada and new to the Entrepreneurship Complex in Montreal but I am proud and for a short time I gained the trust of the community”.

Escritoire Coworking Space Inc is unique shared workspace where modern professionals can work productively—right in their local communities. More than anything, we’re focused on the genuine passion our members feel for their neighbors and neighborhoods. So we’re working to foster community (instead of forcing it) by striving to be good neighbors ourselves—to embrace and be embraced by the neighborhoods we serve and to facilitate local connections between our members.

The Growing Strong Award goes to a business that has successfully expanded its operations to new locations outside of their original market, either nationally or internationally.


Armen Bakirtzian, Intellijoint Surgical

“Intellijoint’s flagship product, Intellijoint HIP®, provides surgeons with real-time, intraoperative measurements to ensure accurate size selection, positioning, and alignment of orthopaedic implants during total hip replacements. In just two years of commercialization, Intellijoint HIP has been used to more accurately reconstruct over 6,500 total hip replacements. With the adoption rate of Intellijoint HIP growing rapidly, Intellijoint Surgical knew though that it needed to grow beyond its established markets. In 2017, Intellijoint expanded into the Australian and New Zealand markets with its newly earned CE Mark, and in September 2018 entered the European Union market”.

The 2018 Disruption Award goes to a business that has demonstrated innovation and industry disruption that benefits their community.


Gabriel Laliberté, Objectif Motivation Gym

"My company opens in private fitness. I offer a customized training service to my clients in the achievement of XYZ objectives and in order to modify life habits considered harmful. I change lives! I want to broaden my horizons in the medium term; have two or three employees, offer home service, offer web programs and develop partnerships with complementary people. It will be able even more to help to change and to modify habits of life. I want to leave a healthy legacy through my community, but especially the south shore of Quebec City. I definitely want to make myself known and shout to everyone: " Lezzzzzgoo !! "

The Grit Award goes to a business that has overcome failure, exhibited dedication and perseverance, and found success in spite of those challenges.


Harmanpreet Kaur, Spa Botanica

Spa Botanica is a full service day spa, with an Ayurvedic influence. Spa Botanica specializes in custom made skincare using pure ingredients such as turmeric, multani clay, sandalwood, rose petals, coconut, cucumber and more. Harmanpreet went into business with $0 in her personal and business accounts, relying on food banks to feed herself and her children, and overcame plenty of struggles and sacrifices to launch and grow Spa Botanica to the business that it is today.

The Mentor Award goes to a mentor who has demonstrated a sincere and empowering commitment to mentoring young entrepreneurs and helping build the small business community. A $1,000 prize in professional development will be awarded to the 5 finalists.


Juliana MacEwen, Precision Digital

Starting a business can feel very lonely at times, unless you have people that you can talk to who understand what you are going through. Juliana MacEwen realizes this and tries to lend a hand whenever she can to people who are taking the leap of faith to start their own business. Juliana is a great mentor because she goes above and beyond her mentoring role, she helps her mentees with many things such as the hiring new employees, she is kind and patient and helps her mentees see where they need to be more specific with certain things or perhaps change direction with certain ideas and know that it's ok to do that. Most importantly, she helped her mentees to become more confident with themselves as women in business. Juliana is very welcoming and confident. She gives off a vibe that makes everyone around her feel empowered.

The Futurpreneur Canada 2017 Award Winners