For reasons that are likely obvious, I’ve been listening to the Talking Heads' song “Life During Wartime” frequently over the past few months. “This ain’t no party, this ain’t no disco,” sings David Byrne. Then, a couple of lines later: “I ain’t got time for that now.” Put another way, a crisis is a bad time to throw a party.
Yet, here we are, celebrating our second annual ranking of Canada’s Top Growing Companies in the middle of a pandemic. When we began the months-long research to assemble the list, the novel coronavirus wasn’t even a distant worry. While our work continued, the Canadian economy came to halt—then slowly, tentatively restarted. Now, as we release our ranking, the business fundamentals for many companies in Canada have changed. And the innovative firms on the ranking have not been spared from hardship.
But as you’ll read in this issue, many found opportunities alongside the challenges. Prodigy Education, an online learning platform, offered a way for kids to keep learning while schools were shut down. Lumen5 equipped the World Health Organization with video tools to share facts and combat misinformation. FundThrough helped small businesses waiting on stalled invoices overcome crunches in cash flow. The entrepreneurs behind these companies rose to the moment and were rewarded by sales.
True, not every company on our list has a product or service perfectly suited to flourish amid the current circumstance. There are tourism operators, manufacturers and hospitality companies that face real obstacles. But one of the things that struck me in reading many of the companies' application surveys was their resolve not to allow the pandemic to blunt their ambition. “Many companies want to shrink back during a recession, but I believe in pushing forward,” wrote Darrell Keezer of Candybox Marketing. “Try something new, call your customers, offer new services, do what it takes to grow.”
I also noticed how often the CEOs of these firms prioritized the security and happiness of their employees. “Anything we do in the short term will be pointless if we are not ultimately a strong team at the other end of the pandemic,” wrote Adam Caromicoli of Indellient Inc., a software development firm.
That’s why we’re celebrating the past success of these 400 remarkable firms, even when the outlook is uncertain for many companies across the country today. There are lessons to be gleaned from the strategies and tactics that helped Canada’s Top Growing Companies earn a spot on our list. There’s inspiration to be found in their current resilience and determination. If we’re going to survive life during wartime, we’ll need more of the innovative thinking and entrepreneurial ambition exemplified by these firms.