Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC)

Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC)

October 21, 2008 23:59 ET

BDC Young Entrepreneur Award winners make their mark

VANCOUVER, Oct. 21 - In recognition of their entrepreneurial
drive and growing success, the Business Development Bank of Canada's (BDC)
2008 Young Entrepreneur Award winners will be honoured tonight at a ceremony
in Vancouver. The awards are a highlight of Small Business Week, which runs
October 19-25 under the theme: "A world without boundaries, open to new
"These creative young entrepreneurs have the ability to see opportunities
where others wouldn't and they have put all their passion and energy into
turning those opportunities into successful businesses," said BDC President
and CEO Jean-René Halde. "This year's winners stand out for their leadership,
passion, setting new trends in the use of technology and making a difference
in their communities."
This is the 21st year that, through its Young Entrepreneur Awards, BDC
has recognized this country's up-and-coming business people between the ages
of 19 and 35. The winners are selected by a panel of business people, based on
criteria including originality of the business concept, its success, growth
potential and social involvement. The committee also considers the
entrepreneur's age when the business was started and any special challenges

Special awards

Two additional special awards will be presented during tonight's

The Export Excellence Award will be presented to the winner with the most
outstanding export objectives, strategies and results.

The Corporate Social Responsibility Award, introduced this year for the
first time, recognizes a growing commitment by young entrepreneurs to social
responsibility. The award will go to the winner whose company stands out in
terms of practices and policies promoting environmental protection, sound
human resources management or community well-being.

The 2008 Young Entrepreneurs, by province and territory, are as follows:

Alberta - Ted Kouri and Jared Smith, both 33, Incite Solutions Inc.,

Nine years ago, a shared passion for marketing led these two innovators
to create Incite Solutions, specializing in marketing solutions for small and
medium-sized businesses. With a strong focus on relationship-building, they
have refined their approach and expanded the business into a flourishing,
full-service marketing company. By combining research, planning, strategy and
execution services under one roof, they are helping clients to build enduring
customer relationships. Incite Solutions' success has garnered national
recognition on PROFIT magazine's 2008 list of Canada's "next 100" fastest
growing companies.

British Columbia - Harry Chemko, 29, and Jason Billingsley, 30, Elastic
Path Software, Vancouver

With a $15,000 start-up loan as their only outside financing, this pair
has built Elastic Path Software into a $10 million company which competes with
software giants like IBM and Microsoft. After starting out in 2000 as a
consulting business for companies wanting to get online, Harry and Jason
spotted a niche that led them to develop a mid-sized e-commerce retail
software solution which they then brought to market. Today, their software is
used by the online retail sites of some of the largest brands in the world
from Google to Samsonite. Elastic Path counts more than 180 customers
worldwide, with 91 staff in two countries.

Manitoba - Robb Denomme, 31, Genuwine Cellars, Winnipeg

Robb was just 17 when he helped business partner Lance Kingma to build a
wine cellar. The two started out making wine cellars on request for a
specialty wine shop and as demand began to grow, established Genuwine Cellars
in 1995. The design capability and quality of the craftsmanship attracted
clients from Canada, the United States, Europe and elsewhere. Now one of the
world's premier manufacturers of these custom-made products, Genuwine Cellars
caters to an "A-list" clientele of renowned hotels, business figures and

New Brunswick - Dan Martell, 28, Spheric Technologies, Moncton

In just a few years, Spheric Technologies' Facebook-type social
networking innovations have become a hot property with Fortune 500 clients
throughout North America. Dan started Spheric as a computer consulting company
with a team of high-tech talent working remotely from locations across Canada.
To connect with each other, the team developed extensive expertise in social
networking tools such as video, podcasting, wikis and micro-blogging.
Showcasing Spheric's advances in this area, Dan pursued North America's major
systems integrators and demand for his team's services skyrocketed.

Newfoundland and Labrador - Matthew Hickman, 34, Kean's Pump Shop,
St. John's

Since he acquired Kean's Pump Shop in 2004, Matthew has transformed the
water pumping business into a flourishing, multi-faceted company. Today, the
business provides water, air, heating and ventilation systems and services for
municipal, commercial and domestic clients. Matthew and the shop's team, all
of whom stayed with Kean's through the transition, have reduced their reliance
on less profitable areas and built service-related revenues by bringing a
higher standard of professionalism to customers small and large. Tapping into
the fast-growing demand for home energy efficiency solutions, the company's
Aire Serv franchise will expand into Halifax in 2009.

Northwest Territories - Lina Ball, 29, Bella Dance Academy, Yellowknife

In 2003, Lina took her passion for dance and built it into a thriving
business that is growing by leaps and bounds. The only studio of its kind in
Yellowknife, Bella Dance Academy offers ballet, tap, jazz, modern and hip hop
classes as well as dancercise and classes for parents and tots. The business
has more than doubled with 35 classes per week and more than 300 students. In
2008, Lina moved the academy to new larger premises to keep up with high
demand for her increasingly popular classes.

Nova Scotia - Maurice Meagher, 34, Archadeck of Nova Scotia, Halifax

Opening the first Archadeck franchise in Nova Scotia in 2003, Maurice has
brought a unique style to custom-designed outdoor living spaces. Archadeck
designs and builds environments for outdoor living, including decks, screened
porches, sunrooms, outdoor kitchens and specialized exterior lighting. Maurice
and his team have established steady year-over-year-growth by offering
homeowners and builders a turnkey solution. He plans to capitalize on emerging
opportunities arising from proven demand for screened porches and sunrooms,
ever-growing interest from custom home builders and strong potential in the
exterior lighting market.

Ontario - Sidney Sommer, 33, UCIT Online, Mississauga

An ad for a digital video camera that could be controlled live over the
Internet led Sidney to create UCIT Online (pronounced You-See-It-Online),
today a multimillion-dollar business. UCIT Online, founded in 2002, installs
these cameras on construction sites and feeds the video to a monitoring centre
where an alarm alerts the centre to any trespassing. Working directly with the
police, the company averages two arrests a week, a record in the security
industry. The company has branched into the transportation and manufacturing
sectors and launched a new service called Remote Concierge that replaces
building concierges with round-the-clock remote monitoring.

Prince Edward Island - Dico Reijers, 34, InternetWorks Ltd.,

From selling Web sites door-to-door to providing a sophisticated
Web-based system for provincial tourism departments, Dico has come a long way
in 12 years. A turning point came when he won a contract with Tourism PEI for
an online accommodations reservation system. This led to a long-term
relationship and a system that Dico has evolved and expanded to encompass all
aspects of a tourism department's business in one slick package. Today,
InternetWorks' innovative solution has also been adopted by the destination
marketing organization that runs Nunavut's tourism industry and has sparked
interest in other parts of North America.

Québec - Patrick Brassard, 34, Passive-Action, Terrebonne

While on assignment in Indonesia for a steel company, Patrick discovered
Québec had little to offer in the field of passivation, a chemical process
used to treat stainless steel surfaces for the prevention of rust and
corrosion. Just eight months after returning home in 2004, this go-getter
jumped on that opportunity and opened Passive-Action. In a short time, work
was flowing in from major clients in Québec, the Maritimes, Ontario and the
western provinces. Patrick then acquired his main competitor, making
Passive-Action the largest company of its kind in Canada.

Saskatchewan - Doug Elder, 33, and Danny Elder, 27, Off Axis Boardshop
Ltd., Regina

With their finger on the pulse of Regina's youth culture, these brothers
have built a business that caters to wakeboarders, snowboarders and
skateboarders, and also includes lifestyle events that attract big-name
sponsors and young people in the thousands. A shared passion for wakeboarding
propelled them to open Off Axis Boardshop in 2000. They started organizing
lifestyle events which were soon attracting sponsors such as telecom companies
and auto dealerships. Today, these events feature vendor villages where
patrons, numbering well over 10,000, can shop for all kinds of youth-oriented

Yukon - Rebecca Brauen, 33, Lilli Pie Lotions Natural Spa, Whitehorse

Forced to leave her job when her daughter, Lilli, was recovering from an
early childhood health condition, this single mother began making natural skin
care products and selling them at craft shows. She then trained as an
esthetician and opened her own boutique in 2005. Rebecca has since built her
business into a thriving full-service day spa that's the only one of its kind
in the region. She now plans to expand her flourishing operation by marketing
her hot-selling line of Yukon Green Clay specialty products right across

Small Business Week partners

National sponsors of Small Business Week and Young Entrepreneur Awards
include: Rogers, Western Economic Diversification Canada and Export
Development Canada. Privileged partners are the Pan Canadian Community Futures
Group and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, which has been a privileged
partner of the event since 1981.

About BDC

BDC is Canada's business development bank. From 94 branches across the
country, BDC promotes entrepreneurship by providing highly tailored financing,
venture capital and consulting services to entrepreneurs. BDC works with
entrepreneurs in all industries, through all economic cycles and focuses on
helping small and medium-sized businesses in their development projects, local
and global. BDC manages a $10.6 billion loan and investment portfolio and
serves over 28,000 clients. Small and medium-sized businesses make up 99.7% of
all employer businesses in Canada. Visit for more information.
Small Business Week is a registered trademark of BDC.

Contact Information

  • BDC Media Room: (604) 893-7343, 1-877-232-9321; After
    October 21: Johanne Bissonnette, Media Relations Manager, BDC, (514) 283-7929,