Leigh Joseph is founder of Squamish-based Sḵwálwen Botanicals, a finalist for the Best Community Impact and Premier’s People’s Choice awards
After drawing a record number of nominations, the annual contest has named its top five finalists in six categories
From Richmond to Terrace to Canoe, local small businesses have soldiered on in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2021 Small Business BC Awards just celebrated those efforts by announcing the top five finalists in six categories.
Despite COVID challenges, the competition received a record 937 nominations representing 558 small businesses in 88 communities. (Some entrants were nominated in several categories.) Nominees had until March 8 to gather as many votes as they could from the public. Small Business BC then tallied the votes to arrive at the top 20 in each category, using a normalization process to account for regional population differences.
An internal panel of business experts chose the finalists, some of which are contenders in several categories.
“I think it’s clear, from the overwhelming number of nominations and the more than 50,000 public votes, that the spirit of support for small business runs strong in our province,” said Tom Conway, president and CEO of Small Business BC. “This has been the most difficult year for small business owners, and now their communities are standing behind them, recognizing what they’ve been through and celebrating their success.”
Next, the finalists must pitch their business to an independent panel of entrepreneurs and professionals. Small Business BC will announce the winners during a three-day virtual gala taking place May 4-6. The prize for each winner: $1,500; a video of their business, shot by a professional film crew; and an all-access pass to Small Business BC’s services.
Although the judges have a big say in the results, the public selects the winner of the Premier’s People’s Choice Award, which is sponsored by the Province of B.C.
To register for the Small Business BC Awards gala, click here.
Here’s the full list of finalists.
Best Youth Entrepreneur Award
Purpose Smoothie Co., Richmond
Sea to Sky Sourdough BReD, Whistler
Justo’s Craft Dips, Victoria
MisMacK Clean Cosmetics, Canoe
Bigfoot Donuts, Courtenay
Best Community Impact Award
Bubbles Blossom Designs, Clinton
Sisters Sage, New Westminster
Sḵwálwen Botanicals, Squamish
Best Solopreneur Award
Jak. Natural Designs, Blue River
Chiwis Kiwi Chips, Squamish
Aspect Film Works, Kamloops
Jada Creations, Terrace
Emerald Earth Organic Spa, Valemount
Best Innovation Award
Spirits of the West Coast Art Gallery, Courtenay
CORE Landscape Products, Courtenay
Big Bold Brand, North Vancouver
Best Immigrant Entrepreneur Award
Soul Bite Food, Coquitlam
Audielicious Restaurant, Fort St. John
Charcuterie Vancouver, Vancouver
Artemex Mexican Handcrafts, West Kelowna
Kleiner Services, Burnaby
Premier’s People’s Choice Award
Raven Reads Books, Logan Lake
Summit Tiny Homes, Vernon