Startup Canada Celebrates Entrepreneurial Leaders

June 13, 2014

TORONTO – Startup Canada unveiled the winners of the 2014 Startup Canada Awards today during a ceremony and reception atop the CN Tower.

The Startup Canada Awards can be likened to the Oscars for the Canadian entrepreneurship community. According to Dr. Sorin Cohn, the Chair of the Adjudication Committee, “These Awards celebrate the people and organizations dedicated to building a strong ecosystem in support of high-impact and high-growth businesses in Canada.”

In its inaugural year, the Awards had more than 260 applications and nominations from across Canada.

Regional winners were selected and celebrated at grassroots events throughout the month of May in Vancouver, Calgary, London, Montreal and Halifax. These events featured fireside discussions and Wolf Blass Wine Lounge receptions. The names of the regional winners were forwarded to the National Adjudication Committee, and more than 3,500 Canadians had their say through online public voting to decide the national winners.

Gerry Pond, a visionary entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist from Fredericton, was awarded the Wolf Blass Lifetime Achievement Award for his commitment to uniting and strengthening the entrepreneurship community in Atlantic Canada – a region re-inventing itself as a startup hub.

“We need to come together as an entrepreneurial region if we want to create the next generation of high-growth companies,” Pond said during his interview at the fireside discussion at the regional awards in Halifax.

Other individuals celebrated this evening include:

  • Ryerson University professor, author and television host Dr. Sean Wise as Mentor of the Year
  • Entrepreneur columnist and speaker Rick Spence as Media Person of the Year
  • Winnipeg-based entrepreneur Chris Johnson as Community Builder of the Year
  • VA Angel’s founder Randy Thompson as Investor of the Year
  • Dalhousie University’s Dr. Mary Kilfoil as Educator of the Year and
  • Fourteen-year-old founder of, Linda Manziaris, as Young Entrepreneur of the Year.

As part of the Awards, entrepreneurs also had the chance to recognize organizations and groups that are making a difference for Canadian entrepreneurs, including incubators, accelerators, non-profit, government and private organizations.

“Entrepreneurs don’t rest until they reach their goals, and neither should we,” said Helen Braiter, Director of the Build in Canada Innovation Program (BCIP), which was recognized as Government Program of the Year this evening. “We need to keep innovating as ‘intrapreneurs’ within our organizations to build the Canada our entrepreneurs need and deserve.”

BCIP is a national program that helps the government become the first customer of innovative products and services from startup companies.

Other organizations recognized for their entrepreneurial impact included Microsoft Canada, EY Canada, Wavefront, TEC Edmonton, the MaRS Discovery District, Startup Calgary, the International Startup Festival in Montreal and the University of New Brunswick.

“These Awards have given entrepreneurs across Canada the chance to say thank you to those who are creating the conditions for their success,” said Victoria Lennox, co-founder and CEO of Startup Canada. “We are recognizing and celebrating what we want to see more of in Canada so that we can become the best country in the world in which to start and grow a business."


2014 Winners

Please find below the results of the 2014 Startup Canada Awards.


Wolfblass Lifetime Achievement Award

Winner: Gerry Pond

Runner-Up: Gary Will

Honourable Mention: Allan Scott


Young Entrepreneur of the Year

Winner: Linda Manziaris

Runner Up: Boris Martin

Honourable Mention: William Zhou


Media Person of the Year

Winner: Rick Spence

Runner-Up: Rob Lewis

Honourable Mention: Peter Moreira


Educator of the Year

Winner: Dr. Mary Kilfoil

Runner-Ups: Ajay Agrawal & Howard Armitage

Honourable Mentions: Michael Avedesian and Brent Mainprize


Mentor of the Year

Winner: Sean Wise

Runner-Up: LP Maurice

Honourable Mentions: Randy Yatscoff, Cathy Kuzel & Robert Zed


Ecosystem Builder of the Year

Winner: Chris Johnson

Runner-Ups: Dan Gunn & Phil Telio

Honourable Mention: Joel Adams & Bob Pelley


Investor of the Year

Winner: Randy Thompson


Non-Profit Organization of the Year

Winner: MaRS Discovery District

Runner-Up: Launch Academy

Honourable Mentions: La Fondation Montreal, Northern Alberta Business Incubator and Ladies Learning Code


Entrepreneurial Effect Awards

Winner: International Startup Festival

Runner-Up: Fundica

Honourable Mentions: Entrepreneur 101 at the MaRS Discovery District, and HumberLaunch


Startup Community of the Year

Winner: Startup Calgary

Runner-Ups: Startup Fredericton  & Startup Winnipeg

Honourable Mentions: Startup Prince George, Startup Waterloo Region & Quebec Startup


Post-Secondary Institution of the Year

Winner: University of New Brunswick

Runner-Up: Ryerson University

Honourable Mention: University of Waterloo


Government Organization of the Year

Winner: Build in Canada Innovation Program

Runner-Up: BC Innovation Council

Honourable Mention: Women's Enterprise Initiative


Anchor Company of the Year

Winner: Microsoft

Runner-Up: Shopify

Honourable Mention: Hootsuite


Incubator of the Year

Winner: TEC Edmonton

Runner-Up:  Alberta Women Entrepreneurs


Accelerator of the Year

Winner: Wavefront

Runner-Up: Founderfuel


Professional Services Organization of the Year

Winner: EY Canada

Runner-Up: McInnes Cooper

Honourable Mention: Boast Capital

Source: Startup Canada