Entrepreneurs are poised to drive the next major wave of economic growth, but the wider community must do more to support these creative-minded innovators, Ernst & Young said today when revealing this year’s finalists for Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year®.
“Entrepreneurs have the ability to transform ideas into great businesses. And not just any business – businesses that drive economic growth,” says Ron Voyer, Pacific Director of Entrepreneur Of The Year. “Behind their success is an entrepreneurial mindset to innovate, create jobs, and invest in communities across the country.”
In a new global survey of entrepreneurs – Nature or nurture? – Ernst & Young uncovered that funding, people and know-how were the biggest barriers to entrepreneurial success. Among the six out of 10 respondents who experienced obstacles in their ventures, 33% called lack of funding or finance their biggest stumbling block.
Voyer says that’s only the first issue. Entrepreneurs need improved access to credit in addition to new educational opportunities and less red tape. He also underlined better leadership from Corporate Canada, which stands to gain by building an internal spirit of entrepreneurship — or intrapreneurship — into their business model to promote innovation, creativity and fresh thinking.
“Entrepreneurs challenge conventional thinking and spot opportunities where others see road blocks,” says Voyer. “With a wealth of entrepreneurial potential waiting to be unleashed, stakeholders – from governments to businesses to academia – need to work together to create an ecosystem that enables entrepreneurs to thrive.”
In April, an Ernst & Young/Financial Post survey found more than one-third of entrepreneur respondents were more optimistic about their company’s’ future prospects than they were just six months ago. Voyer says that’s a positive step in the right direction.
“Taking lessons from the past into account, Canada’s entrepreneurs are ready to continue building on their accomplishments and supporting our economy in the years ahead,” says Voyer. “And with the right business and community support, there’s no limit to what these entrepreneurs can accomplish.”
The Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards recognize the spirit and contribution of entrepreneurs here and around the world. The Canadian program is in its 18th year of honouring the country’s most impressive entrepreneurs from all areas of business. Award winners are chosen based on their vision, leadership, financial success and social responsibility.
The Pacific winners will be announced at a banquet on October 5, and the overall winner will represent the region at the national banquet held in Toronto on November 23.
The 2011 Pacific finalists for Entrepreneur Of The Year:
Business-to-business products and services
Darby Kreitz – Allnorth Consultants Limited – Prince George – Provides engineering and consulting services to clients in the mining, pulp and paper, chemical, oil and gas, marine, transportation, power and municipal sectors.
Ross Waters – C.G. Industrial Specialties Ltd. – Vancouver – Supplier of valves and controls.
Doug Morneau – Rhino Marketing Inc. – Port Coquitlam – A full-service marketing agency that knows business and how to connect clients with their customers online.
Business-to-consumer products and services
Gary Mauris – Dominion Lending Centres – Port Coquitlam – Canada’s national mortgage and leasing company, with more than 2,000 members offering free expert advice across Canada.
Attila Koronczay, Boldijarre Koronczay – Éminence Organic Skin Care Inc. – Vancouver – An award-winning skin and body care provider distributing natural, organic and biodynamic products and services to the spa and wellness industry worldwide.
Kenneth Armstrong – Sussex Insurance Agency Incorporated – North Vancouver – A franchisor of insurance brokerages throughout British Columbia.
Alexander Fernandes – Avigilon Corporation – Vancouver – Designs, manufactures and markets award-winning high-definition surveillance solutions. Avigilon’s solutions protect and monitor thousands of customer sites in more than 65 countries around the world.
Thomas Ligocki – Clevest Solutions Inc. – Richmond – The only complete, utility-focused, mobile workforce management solution with smart-grid mobile field operations capability. The number one fastest-growing high-tech company in BC.
Donald McInnes – Plutonic Power Corporation – Vancouver – Identifies, develops and operates clean power projects in a safe, reliable and efficient manner.
Glenn Fawcett – Black Hills Estate Winery – Oliver – Winery and vineyard.
Cynthia Enns, David Enns – Laughing Stock Vineyards Ltd. – Penticton – Winery.
Vikram Vij – Vij’s Restaurant Inc. – Vancouver – Fine, modern Indian cuisine. Vij’s Rangoli is a casual modern Indian restaurant and retail store selling Vij’s Insprired Indian Cuisine, a line of pre-packaged gourmet Indian meals.
Robert Little – FPI Fireplace Products International Ltd. – Delta – Strives to be a world leader in the design, manufacture and marketing of hearth products.
Robert Meggy – Great Little Box Company Ltd. – Richmond – A one-stop packaging supplier, GLBC has everything under one roof, including corrugated boxes, point-of-purchase displays, folding cartons, rigid boxes and PVC packaging, protective packaging and pressure-sensitive labels.
Muhammad Amir – SPF Precut Lumber – Port Coquitlam – An award-winning exporter and remanufacturer of Canadian wood products, based in beautiful British Columbia since 1990, annually exporting approximately 155-million board feet to over 15 countries.
Mining and metals
John Greenslade – Baja Mining Corp. – Vancouver – Mining and metals company developing the Boleo copper-cobalt-zinc-manganese project in Mexico.
First Majestic Silver Corp. – Vancouver – Committed to building a senior silver-producing mining company based on an aggressive development and acquisition plan, with a focus on Mexico.
Mark O’Dea – Fronteer Gold Inc. – Vancouver – Mining and metals company.
Andrew Kemp – CMW Insurance Services Ltd. – Burnaby – A private insurance brokerage that provides corporate, specialty and personal insurance and specializes in sectors such as construction services, bonding, manufacturing, technology, hospitality and real estate.
John Nicola – Nicola Wealth Management Ltd. – Vancouver – A premier financial planning firm serving high-net-worth executives, business owners and incorporated individuals, offering a full-service, integrated approach to advice — from investments and insurance to estate planning and tax minimization.
Steve Evans, Darren Latoski – Sunstone Realty Advisors Inc. – Vancouver – Canada’s only pure-play industrial real estate investment trust.
Darren Smaill – Affiliated Roofers Ltd. Coquitlam – Roofing contractor, including siding, gutters, decking, waterproofing, painting, sheet metal and repair divisions.
John Tilstra – Centra Construction Group Ltd. – Langley – Construction company.
David Zerr – Mainroad Group – Surrey – Highway maintenance contractor.
Joshua Huen – Dr. Battery – Richmond – Leading battery distributor serving North America with high-quality batteries, battery packs and AC adapters.
Jason Zanatta – Novo Textile Co. Ltd. – Surrey – A 17-year-old home textiles manufacturing company that distributes bedding accessories. The company’s over 600 customers include national and regional retailers, the hospitality industry, and the design and upholstery industry.
Steve Curtis – ZAG Group – Vancouver – A multi-business conglomerate with investments in nutritional supplements, beverages, specialty spirits, marketing and finance.
Special citation – Social entrepreneur
This special citation is a unique category among the awards. It’s given in recognition of an entrepreneur whose achievements have driven large-scale social change and improved people’s lives or quality of life.
Diane Johnson – Descriptive Video Works Inc. – Vancouver – Canada’s leading providers of described video narration of television and feature films to broadcasters and producers so that programming can be made accessible to blind and vision-impaired audiences.