TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Sept. 22, 2016) - TELUS and The Globe and Mail today announced the winner of the sixth installment of the Small Business Challenge - the annual contest that celebrates Canadian entrepreneurs and helps one deserving small business overcome its biggest challenge with a $100,000 award from TELUS. After reviewing more than 3,400 entries and listening to impassioned pitches from five finalists, the judges have selected Cake & Loaf Bakery as this year's grand-prize winner.
Based in Hamilton, Cake & Loaf is a neighbourhood "from scratch" bakery dedicated to using local ingredients and creating living-wage careers. Disillusioned with industrial bakeries using frozen products, pastry-school pals Josie Rudderham and Nicole Miller founded the bakery six years ago. The pair set out on a mission to re-create the local neighbourhood bakeries they recalled from their childhoods, while creating quality employment opportunities and bolstering the local economy. The company has since grown to 23 employees, added a second location at the Hamilton Farmers' Market and surpassed $1 million in annual revenue.
"All of this year's finalists truly exemplify the amazing things Canadian small businesses are doing and the economic opportunities they are creating," said Suzanne Trusdale, TELUS' vice-president of Small Business Solutions. "Cake & Loaf rose to the top with their incredible passion for operating a socially responsible community-focused business. They have an extraordinary focus on taking care of their customers as well as their team, and have a clear vision for exactly how they will use the $100,000 to take their business to the next level. I'm confident this award will help them continue their amazing growth while maintaining their commitment to their customers, employees and community."
The company plans to invest the prize money into customer relationship management technology that will maintain their signature personal touch with customers as the business grows. They are also looking to double their current retail space; creating an expanded storefront that will offer a place to sit and eat and where they can offer baking classes, provide retail space for locally made products and host community events.
"We are excited and truly humbled to win the Small Business Challenge. As a small business we really appreciate the opportunity from TELUS and The Globe and Mail to make our dreams a reality," said Nicole Miller, co-owner of Cake & Loaf. "We'd also like to thank our community for their incredible support; this award is going to help us do some great things here in Hamilton."
Conducted in partnership with The Globe and Mail, the Small Business Challenge is an annual opportunity for Canada's brightest entrepreneurs to showcase their unique business ideas and share their biggest challenges. Between March and May of this year, more than 3,400 small businesses from across Canada submitted entries. Earlier this summer, the five semi-finalists pitched their plans for how they would use the $100,000 to a panel of small business experts in Toronto.
This year's other semi-finalists included Autom River Inc. (Toronto, ON), Brutus Beverages Inc. (Vancouver, BC), Charmed Playhouses (Lethbridge, AB) and DateNight Babysitting (Toronto, ON), who will all receive $10,000 plus a TELUS technology pack valued at $2,000.
In addition to today's announcement, on October 19 TELUS will announce the three "Most Promising Start-Ups," that will each receive $5,000 worth of mentoring and marketing services from Agency 59. Ten regional awards and fifty honourable mentions will also be announced in The Globe and Mail throughout Small Business Month in October and the Community Investment award will be announced in November.
TELUS (TSX:T)(NYSE:TU) is Canada's fastest-growing national telecommunications company, with $12.6 billion of annual revenue and 12.5 million subscriber connections, including 8.4 million wireless subscribers, 1.6 million high-speed Internet subscribers, 1.4 million residential network access lines and 1.0 million TELUS TV customers. TELUS provides a wide range of communications products and services, including wireless, data, Internet protocol (IP), voice, television, entertainment and video, and is Canada's largest healthcare IT provider.
In support of our philosophy to give where we live, TELUS, our team members and retirees have contributed $440 million to charitable and not-for-profit organizations and volunteered more than 6.8 million hours of service to local communities since 2000. Created in 2005 by President and CEO Darren Entwistle, TELUS' 11 Canadian community boards and 4 International boards have led the Company's support of grassroots charities and have contributed more than $54 million in support of over 4,900 local charitable projects, enriching the lives of more than 2 million children and youth, annually. TELUS was honoured to be named the most outstanding philanthropic corporation globally for 2010 by the Association of Fundraising Professionals, becoming the first Canadian company to receive this prestigious international recognition.
For more information about TELUS, please visit www.telus.com.