Toronto Board of Trade Recognizes Entrepreneurs

FreshBooks and The Bargains Group among SMEs honoured at the BOT's annual Business Excellence Awards

Written by Mira Shenker

Toronto Region Board of Trade (BOT) held its annual Business Excellence Awards last night. The awards celebrate businesses and people who take risks, says BOT president and CEO Carol Wilding.”They exemplify what we need more of here in the Toronto region and across Canada.”

FreshBooks was named Employer of the Year. Co-founder and CEO Mike McDerment started the web-based invoicing service with a seven-person team was operating from a basement as part of a plan to keep costs rock-bottom. McDerment’s ultra-frugal approach protected FreshBooks from running out of cash even as it scaled up dramatically. The firm now has 130 employees and more than 5 million users worldwide.

Want to bootstrap like FreshBooks? Read: The No-Money Startup Miracle

Jody Steinhauer, president and CEO of The Bargains Group, was named 2014 Business Leader. A PROFIT W100 CEO, Steinhauer uses her network of resources and leveraged buying power to aid every company and not-for-profit agency that she touches to maximize their buying dollar.

See Jody speak at the W100 Idea Exchange on November 26. She’ll join co-panelists Julie Cole, co-founder and VP Public Relations of Mabel’s Labels; Mandy Farmer, president and  CEO of Accent Inns; and Janis Grantham, CEO of Eagle Professional Resources in a discussion about how to build a high-powered team and keep them engaged. The deadline to register is November 22. Use discount code PROFITMAG to receive $50 off the regular registration fee of $199.

Other winners at last night’s ceremony:

Business of the Year,  Global Reach – McLuhan & Davies Communications Inc.
Business of the Year, Local Economic Impact – Centerplate Canada
Business of the Year, Community Service – The STOP
Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year – Ryan Knight, Detailing Knights
Under 30 – Anatoliy Melnichuk & Michele Romanow,
Business of the Year, Sustainability – Fielding Chemical Technologies Inc.

Eligible companies had annual revenues up to $50-million and an employee base of no more than 500 people and winners were selected by a panel of judges.

Originally appeared on