Steven K. Hudson of Element Financial Corporation named EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ Ontario 2016

Annual awards gala celebrates outstanding local entrepreneurs

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(Toronto, 28 October 2016) Steven Hudson, Chief Executive Officer of Element Financial Corporation, a North American leader in fleet management and equipment finance, is this year’s Entrepreneur Of The Year Ontario winner.

Steven Hudson

“Steven’s originality and innovation shines through in all he does,” says Paula Smith, EY partner and Entrepreneur Of The Year Ontario Co-Director. “His entrepreneurial vision helped him navigate his business through tough economic times – by completing daring strategic acquisitions and introducing cutting-edge technology capabilities in the fleet management business.”

In 2011, when the economy was still reeling from the 2008 financial crisis, Steven saw an opportunity. While it was possible for big corporations to borrow money, smaller equipment and vehicle dealers had a hard time finding the financing for their needs. To fill the gap, Element Financial was born. Since 2011, it’s grown its assets from $20 million to $25 billion today.

With more than three million vehicles under management in nearly 50 countries around the world, Element is a leader in fleet management. Steven shook up this industry with a focus on high-quality data that can help improve efficiency and save costs. In 2014, he made two strategic acquisitions and invested the cost savings into leading fleet management technologies, including telematics, to offer new services to customers and set new industry standards.  

Earlier this month, Element Financial Corporation separated into two standalone, market-leading companies – Element Fleet Management Corp. (TSX: EFN) and ECN Capital Corp. (TSX:ECN). The restructuring will maximize the performance of both sides of the original business, for the benefit of all shareholders. Steven has since taken on the role of CEO, ECN Capital, which will operate the company’s commercial, vendor, rail and aviation finance businesses.

Steven is a devoted philanthropist to boot. In 2012, he started a corporate program that commits 1.5% of the company’s pre-tax profit to community-focused charitable causes. As an example, Element has been a strong supporter of St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto and the Children’s Aid Foundation.

“Economic challenges inspired Steven to ask better questions and offer much-needed services,” says Elena Doucette, EY partner and Entrepreneur Of The Year Ontario Co-Director. “As a leader, he inspires loyalty in those around him, consistently demonstrates his ability to innovate and makes a point of giving back to the community. We’re pleased to honour Steven with this award.”

Special citation – social entrepreneurship
The 27 October gala also honoured Matthew Choi, Marina Glogovac, Ryan Little and Aaron Pereira, of with an EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Special Citation award for social entrepreneurship.

What’s next?
As the Ontario region’s EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2016, Steven will compete with top entrepreneurs from the Pacific, Prairies, Atlantic and Quebec regions for the national honour of Canada’s EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2016.

Carinne Chambers of Diva International Inc. will receive a special citation for Industry Disruptor. Both Steven and Carinne will be honoured at a gala celebration on 22 November 2016 in Toronto. In June 2017, Canada’s EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2016 will move to the world stage to compete with more than 50 country recipients for the title of EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year.

More information
Follow @EYCanada, #EOY and #EOYOntario on Twitter for the latest event updates.

Visit for more program details and a complete list of category finalists and gala dates in the regions.

The EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Ontario 2016 category award recipients:

Business & Consumer Services

Bruce Poon Tip
G Adventures Inc | Toronto
A sustainable travel pioneer, offering small group tours to 90 countries on all continents, leaving a positive impact by helping local communities.

Consumer Products

Les Mandelbaum
Umbra Ltd | Toronto
One of Canada’s most iconic global homewares product design companies, recognized for its original and intelligent design of everyday items.

Emerging Entrepreneur

Taylor Ablitt, Dean Elkholy, Gary Manning
Diply | London
A social news and entertainment website dedicated to connecting audiences with unique user-generated content.

Financial Services

Steven K. Hudson
Element Financial Corporation (TSX: EFN) (TSX: ECN) | Toronto
A North American leader with global strength in fleet management and equipment finance across the four industry pillars: fleet management, rail finance, commercial and vendor finance, and aviation finance.

Food & Beverage

Khang Luong, Mike Luong, and Chang Kevin Sun
Sweet Maple Candies | Toronto
Provides unique, customizable confectionery products to international customers, including gumballs, premium mints and jawbreakers.


Bob Peacock
ALMAG Aluminum | Brampton
Manufactures aluminum extruded products to help a wide variety of companies throughout North America to be leaders in their own industries.

Media & Entertainment

James Schmalz and Michael Schmalz
Digital Extremes | London
An independent developer and publisher of videogames for Xbox® and PlayStation® platforms.

Real Estate and Construction Services

Jason Smith
Real Matters | Markham
A proprietary, cloud-based real estate technology platform and network of more than 100,000 qualified independent field agents.

Sustainable Products & Services

Carinne Chambers
Diva International Inc. | Kitchener
Designs and manufactures The DivaCup, a renowned healthy, sustainable feminine hygiene product.

Diva International Inc. was selected by the National Canadian judging panel to receive a special citation for Industry Disruptor at the National EY Entrepreneur Of The Year gala on 22 November.


Dave Kroetsch
Aeryon Labs Inc. | Waterloo
A technology and industry leader in the design and production of small Unmanned Aerial Systems (sUAS).

Young Entrepreneur

Michael Katchen
Wealthsimple Inc. | Toronto
Canada's leading online investment management firm within the fintech industry.


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About EY Entrepreneur Of The Year
EY Entrepreneur Of The Year is the world’s most prestigious business award for entrepreneurs. The unique award makes a difference through the way it encourages entrepreneurial activity among those with potential, and recognizes the contribution of people who inspire others with their vision, leadership and achievement. As the first and only truly global award of its kind, EY Entrepreneur Of The Year celebrates those who are building and leading successful, growing and dynamic businesses, recognizing them through regional, national and global awards programs in more than 145 cities in 60 countries.

The 2016 Ontario independent judging panel consists of Jill Denham, Corporate Director; Steve Faraone, Vice-President, Ontario Teacher's Pension Plan; Jon Hantho, Principal, Janus Advisory Services, Entrepreneur Of The Year Services category winner 2012, Ontario, and National Entrepreneur Of The Year Entrepreneurial Leadership Special Citation recipient; Lisa Melchoir, Private Equity Investor; Lori O'Neil, Corporate Director; Jim Orlando, Managing Director, OMERS Ventures; Jeff Parr, Co-Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Clairvest Group Inc.; Gerald Slemko, CEO, Trudell Medical; and Rick Watkin, President and CEO, KUBRA, Entrepreneur Of The Year Technology and Communications category winner 2010, Ontario.

This year's program national sponsors are TEC Canada, La Presse, RDI, The TMX Group, The Globe and Mail Inc., Merrill Corporation, Kira Talent, Air Canada and The Printing House Limited. Ontario regional sponsors are Captivate Network, RBC Royal Bank, BNN and Teknion.

EY is a proud sponsor of Next Canada. 

About EY’s Growth Markets Network
EY’s worldwide Growth Markets Network is dedicated to serving the changing needs of high-growth companies. For more than 30 years, we’ve helped many of the world’s most dynamic and ambitious companies grow into market leaders. Whether working with international mid-cap companies or early-stage venture-backed businesses, our professionals draw upon their extensive experience, insight and global resources to help your business succeed. 

About EY
EY is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. For more than 150 years in Canada, we’ve delivered the insights and quality services that help build trust and confidence in capital markets here and in economies the world over. We develop outstanding leaders who team to deliver on our promises to all of our stakeholders. In so doing, we play a critical role in building a better working world for our people, for our clients and for our communities. 

For more information about the program, FAQs and key dates, please visit

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