TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - June 29, 2016) - TELUS (TSX:T)(NYSE:TU) today announced the five finalists in this year's Small Business Challenge. Now in its sixth year, the Small Business Challenge, a partnership with The Globe and Mail, is the annual contest that showcases Canada's brightest entrepreneurs and helps the winner overcome their biggest challenges with a $100,000 grand prize.
In addition to the grand prize, this year more than $50,000 in new prizing will be made available to winners in additional categories as well.
"The organizations participating in The Small Business Challenge continue to demonstrate that the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship is flourishing in Canada," said Suzanne Trusdale, TELUS' vice-president of Small Business Solutions. "This year's finalists exemplify the incredible opportunities small businesses can create for Canada; they are all in very early stages and have tremendous potential for growth. This could be one of our most exciting contests yet."
This year's finalists are:
- Cake & Loaf Bakery (Hamilton, ON) - Cake & Loaf Bakery is a neighbourhood bakery with an emphasis on organic, fair-trade, and local ingredients. The company has quickly grown from eight employees to 23 in less than two years and is seeing rapid revenue growth. They would use the $100,000 to invest in technology to better manage customer relationships and streamline orders, as well as double their retail space.
- Charmed Playhouses (Lethbridge, AB) - Charmed Playhouses creates luxury custom treehouses and playhouses. The company is only a year old and, thanks to local news coverage, demand for their dwellings has grown rapidly. They would use the $100,000 to purchase new materials and equipment to expand production and meet the demand they are seeing.
- DateNight Babysitting (Toronto, ON) - DateNight Babysitting is an app that connects parents with experienced local babysitters, while providing young people with flexible part-time work. Over the past two-and-a-half years, the company has built a roster of 350 screened babysitters in Toronto and Ottawa and expects that number to nearly double this year. They would use the $100,000 to continue to grow in their existing markets while launching in new cities.
- Autom River Inc. (Toronto, ON) - Autom River is the maker of The Greenlid, a fully compostable compost bin made in Canada from recycled cardboard, which eliminates the mess and smell from composting. In just 16 months, the company has expanded into almost every major Canadian retailer and plans to launch in the U.S. this year. They would use the $100,000 to expand their product line with a larger family-sized bin aimed at big-box retailers.
- Brutus Beverages Inc. (Vancouver, BC) - Brutus Beverages manufactures Walter Craft Caesar Mix, Canada's first all-natural craft Caesar mix. It's made in small batches using premium ingredients and is Canada's only Ocean Wise-recommended Caesar mix. Since its launch in 2013, the company has experienced rapid growth and was recently featured on Dragon's Den. They would use the $100,000 for listing fees to get their product on the shelves of nearly every major Canadian grocery retailer.
It's not just the grand prize winner who wins big this year - more than 60 businesses will receive cash, technology, marketing services and/or coverage in The Globe and Mail to help build brand awareness and attract new customers and investors.
In addition to the $100,000 grand prize winner:
- The four other finalists will receive $10,000 plus a TELUS technology pack valued at $2,000.
- Three "most promising start-ups" will be selected to receive $5,000 worth of mentoring and marketing services from Agency 59 - TELUS Small Business Solutions' advertising and design agency.
- 10 regional winners will receive a TELUS prize package with an estimated value of $1,500.
- 50 honourable mentions will be featured in The Globe and Mail.
- This year, for the first time, one small business owner will receive $10,000 to donate to the charity of their choice. To underscore the role that small businesses can play in building stronger communities, TELUS Community Investment panel will select a business that shares TELUS' philanthropic approach to business.
The five finalists will present their business challenges and pitch their plans for leveraging the $100,000 to an expert panel of judges at TELUS House in Toronto this morning and the companies will be profiled by The Globe and Mail this summer.
The grand prize winner will be announced on September 21. Following this, the Most Promising Start-Ups will be announced on September 28, and 10 regional awards will be given out during Small Business Month in October.
For full contest details, please visit telus.com/thechallenge.
TELUS (TSX:T)(NYSE:TU) is Canada's fastest-growing national telecommunications company, with $12.6 billion of annual revenue and 12.4 million subscriber connections, including 8.4 million wireless subscribers, 1.4 million residential network access lines, 1.6 million high-speed Internet subscribers 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 telus.com.