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On May 11, The Globe and Mail and Telus Corp. kicked off a search for small companies tackling big business issues. We wanted to know the challenges Canadian entrepreneurs are contending with and, equally importantly, how they planned to solved these problems. Telus put $100,000 on the line, offering it up as a business grant.

We received nearly 900 entries from small businesses across the country. There were engineering firms seeking more powerful servers, cosmetics manufacturers needing assembly line gear, and many, many startups requiring marketing support - all determined to succeed; all needing the kind of boost that only money can provide.

Our challenge was weighing these compelling cases to find the one that stood apart. To do that, we assembled a top-notch group of small business experts: Mark Healy, partner, Satov Consultants; Stuart MacDonald, chief marketing officer, Freshbooks; Mia Pearson, co-founder and president, North Strategic, and Jim Senko, vice-president for small and medium-sized business, Telus. After much deliberation, we chose a winner: Sandberg Labs. The two runners-up, Nude Bee Honey Co. and Sumas Clay Products, are also profiled here.

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