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Small business awards celebrate 20 years of B.C.’s top entrepreneurs

By Richmond Sentinel

Published 12:54 PST, Wed January 18, 2023

Small Business BC (SBBC) is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the province’s largest award contest for entrepreneurs, the Small Business BC Awards. 

What started out as a simple business planning contest has evolved to become the largest and most recognized awards program dedicated to small businesses in Western Canada. Over 6,000 businesses, from every industry and every community in B.C., have competed to be named one of the top small businesses. Each winner is awarded $10,000 in prize money, a top business title, and one year of free advisory support from SBBC. 

“Over the past 20 years, SBBC has been honoured to shine a spotlight on B.C.’s entrepreneurs, celebrating those who put everything on the line to pursue their dreams,” said SBBC chief executive officer Tom Conway. “To mark our 20th anniversary, we’re thrilled to be returning to an in-person gala where a $40,000 prize purse will be shared among four winning businesses. To help make this year the most inspirational awards ever, we’re asking the public to nominate a small business that has impacted your community.”

Brenda Bailey, Minister of Jobs, Economic Development, and Innovation, said: “Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and as a former business owner myself, I’m always overjoyed to hear about their success. I hope British Columbians can join me in recognizing their local businesses by nominating them for the Small Business BC Awards. I look forward to celebrating the successful recipients in June.”

Last year, Coquitlam business Soul Bite Foods Inc. was the winner of the Premier's People's Choice Award. The business provides vegan comfort food while combating food waste in Canada and around the world. 

Other past SBBC Award winners from the Lower Mainland include:

  • Sister’s Sage (Vancouver), winner of the Best Community Impact 2021
  • Charcuterie Vancouver (Vancouver), winner of the Best Immigrant Entrepreneur 2021
  • Emelle’s Catering (Vancouver), winner of the Best Marketer 2020

Every year, the Small Business BC Awards are held as an opportunity to bring attention to small businesses having a positive impact in the province. To acknowledge and support their hard work, British Columbians are encouraged to nominate their own business or to put forward a local business that has had a strong impact on their community.

The 20th Anniversary of the Small Business BC Awards features four award categories. Businesses can enter a total of two categories—the Premier’s People’s Choice Award and one of three business pitch categories (business impact, e-commerce, and youth). The Premier’s People’s Choice Award is decided exclusively by a public vote. 

In the three business pitch categories, top five finalists are selected based on public vote and written responses judged by internal business experts. Finalists then proceed to pitch their business to a panel of B.C. business leaders who decide the winner of each award category.

Award nominations are open through March 10, and can be submitted at sbbc.co/nominate. Once a small business is nominated, it must gain as many public votes as possible, leveraging all creative channels. 

An in-person awards gala will be held on June 2 in Vancouver to announce and honour the winners of the awards. Tickets will go on sale in April.

For more information on the Small Business BC Awards, visit smallbusinessbc.ca/awards/.

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