When you’re celebrating your 20th anniversary, you want to surround yourself with the brightest people. And that’s just what more than 5,000 guests did at the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards galas this year.
The five regional galas saw a diverse range of talented entrepreneurs honoured for their achievements, as well as special recognition bestowed for unique contributions to entrepreneurship in Canada.
“This was an amazing year from beginning to end,” says Canadian EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Director Colleen McMorrow. “What better way to pay tribute to building a better working world than by celebrating the successes of those who build on a daily basis and from generation to generation, Canada’s entrepreneurs?”
The year culminated with the national awards ceremony in Toronto on 27 November, where Geoffrey Smith of Mississauga’s EllisDon Corporation was named Canada’s EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2013 at an extraordinary gala where Cirque du Soleil dazzled attendees with a special performance.
EllisDon took home the top national honour for its success in growing from a local Canadian contractor into a globally focused construction services provider. Smith was acknowledged for seeing the company’s potential and taking the big risks to achieve it.
“Geoffrey’s story of joining the family firm as the next generation of leadership and taking the company to the next level and beyond is a shining example to other private company owners who have their sights set on ever bigger ambitions,” McMorrow beams.
Smith will go on to represent Canada and vie for the World Entrepreneur Of The Year Award in Monaco next spring.
The year also saw lifetime achievement awards presented to former Newfoundland and Labrador Premier and longtime business builder Danny Williams in Atlantic, and to Quebec paper pioneers Bernard, Laurent and Alain Lemaire, founders of Cascades.
Karen Flavelle of BC’s legendary Purdys Chocolatier took home the EY Family Business Award of Excellence in honour of her family’s legacy of building an iconic Canadian brand over successive generations.
And in Ontario, Governor General David Johnston was honoured with the Supporter of Entrepreneurship award for helping create a robust climate for entrepreneurship throughout his long career as an educator and administrator.
“This was the first year we awarded the Supporter award,” says McMorrow, “and it was richly deserved for His Excellency’s vision to combine scientific research and entrepreneurial zeal in the Waterloo region. It’s helped set the stage for businesses to do what they do best — move the economy forward.”
Our 20th anniversary celebrations were big, but we’re just getting started. We’re looking forward to kicking off our next 20 years on 1 March 2014 to coincide with EY’s spectacular 150th anniversary in Canada. And we'll need your help to nominate Canada's best entrepreneurs.
To stay on top of all the happenings, visit us at ey.com/ca/EOY and visit us on Twitter @EYCanada #EOY20.