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This week, we take another look at the top small-business stories of last year. Many of the stories that resonated with readers were portraits of Canadian entrepreneurs who revealed dramatic struggles. Another hot topic - no surprise that cannabis stories were well read last year. With legalization bringing unprecedented opportunities for entrepreneurs, many decided to try their luck at competing in the ancillary or craft cannabis cultivation sectors.

Which small-business topics should The Globe focus on this year? Drop me a line at to let me know. - Sarah Efron, Globe and Mail Small Business Editor

She was eight months behind on her rent. Instead of kicking her out, the landlord issued a challenge

Back in 2013, Kiana “Rookz” Eastmond, then 24, had perfected the art of “dodging” her landlord. “I’d see his car and I’d be, like, ‘Nobody move!’” recalls the owner of sound recording facility, Sandbox Studios. Story

Syrian refugee, fisherman’ friend: How a retiring couple found a new heir to their Lake Ontario business

Slieman al-Jasem, 21, chats comfortably with customers as he weighs and bags snowy filets of fresh-caught white and yellow perch and pickerel from nearby Lake Ontario. He even attempts a little French for a Montreal couple at his booth at the Wellington Farmers' Market. Story

Meet Tamara Levitt, the Toronto woman who soothes millions on the Calm app

You can scarcely go out the door in California without bumping into a Zen master or meditation practitioner. And yet, when it came to choosing a voice for one of the world’s most popular mental wellness apps, the founders of San-Francisco-based Inc. turned to a Torontonian. Downloaded 30 million times, the Calm app relies on the tranquil tones of Tamara Levitt, 46, who writes, produces and narrates its mindfulness and meditation sessions. Story

I was a workplace bully, until it cost me my job

My aggressive style served me well as a consultant. Four years ago, a project I was working on went sideways. We had an ad campaign live but our website was not behaving as promised. As I was walking into the office, I received an urgent e-mail from the client. He was more than upset. Story

How the tables turned on Zane Caplansky, Toronto’s deli king

In May, 2016, when the new location of Caplansky’s Deli opened in Toronto’s upscale Yorkville neighbourhood, restaurateur Zane Caplansky heralded it as the next step in his ambitious quest for “global deli domination.” The Yorkville restaurant, a spinoff of his College Street location, featured a self-serve mustard and pickle bar and a vintage meat slicer for cutting the deli’s signature smoked meat. Story

The rise of ‘weed tech’: Cannabis tech sector flourishes in lead up to legalization

A growing number of Canadian tech entrepreneurs are betting big on the future of cannabis in the lead up to legalization later this year. These “weed tech,” or “canna tech,” companies, as they are sometimes called, are hoping to cash in on the new legal market by creating specialized software and hardware to serve the cannabis industry and consumers. Story

Lack of legal cannabis seeds fuels spike in black-market sales

Some illegal cannabis seed vendors are reporting big spikes in sales since recreational cannabis was legalized last month, driven by the lack of legal seed supply outside the medical marijuana system. Story

Legal or not, cannabis delivery services prepare for launch

Several Canadian entrepreneurs are preparing to launch cannabis delivery companies in time for legalization on Oct. 17, despite the fact this service will be illegal for recreational marijuana in most provinces. Story

Craft cannabis growers say better bud will be key to thriving in the legal market

While Canada’s licensed cannabis producers are in a frenzy of deal-making, jockeying to take control of rivals and massive greenhouses ahead of legalization, cannabis entrepreneurs like Kelly Coulter are operating at a different pace. This spring, she leased two acres of farmland in Vancouver Island’s Cowichan Valley with several other women and intends to launch an environmentally sustainable market garden and cannabis operation called Slo Farms. Story

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