The winners of
embody Canada's entrepreneurial spirit: they have emerged stronger from the economic recession, they are building national brands from their home provinces, they are starting to successfully tap into new markets and, most importantly, they did it all before the age of 35. BDC's 23rd annual Young Entrepreneur Awards
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British Columbia: After graduating from the University of British Columbia, where he started a web development business with two friends, 25-year-old Arnold Leung struck out on his own in 2007. With 30 employees, Vancouver-based Appnovation Technologies specializes in open source websites and iPhone applications and has annual revenues of more than $1 million. He was also selected for Business in Vancouver magazine’s 2010 Top 40 under 40 list.
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Alberta: After leaving school in his teens and saying goodbye to his dream of being a professional hockey player, 31-year-old Jason Parks turned to welding, his other passion, and established Profab Welding Ltd.. Beginning with one truck in 2003, he used his flair for equipment design and his natural business instincts to land a major contract in the oil services industry. When the recession hit in 2007, Mr. Parks seized the opportunity to diversify his business and expand operations from northern to southern Alberta. Having secured international patents for some of his products, he’s is now on the hunt for global business opportunities.
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Manitoba: Mark Kohaykewych, 33, Todd Jenkyns, 34, and Peter Chedley, 34, founded Jenkyns Electric to bring energy-smart power solutions to industrial customers in Winnipeg and remote communities in northern Manitoba. Their company stands out in a crowded marketplace because of its solid reputation for customer service and environmentally friendly practices. The company is certified with the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) program and recently added data services to its mix of customer offerings.
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Quebec: In 2003, 35-year-old Steve Couture founded Frima Studio with two partners and turned it into a leading game developer on platforms ranging from the Web, consoles and mobiles, to handheld devices and TV. After investing hundreds of thousands of hours in research and development, Frima has won acclaim for its hit creations, including A Space Shooter for 2 bucks!, Pocket God on Facebook and Zombie Tycoon, and for its major youth brand products. The company has more than 260 employees and is focused on bringing entertainment to screens both big and small—from IMAX to iPhones.
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Nova Scotia: Intrigued as a young girl by the artistry of Canada’s internationally renowned Cirque du Soleil, 32-year-old Anaïs Guimond – a former bungee-trapeze performer – opened a circus performing arts school in 2002 in a province and in a language that were new to her. Residents in the Halifax–Dartmouth area quickly embraced her ideas and enthusiasm, and Atlantic Cirque soon had 150 attendees at weekly classes. In addition to circus arts, the school offers summer camps, workshops and corporate team-building programs. Ms. Guimond is currently producing the company’s 10-year anniversary show and plans to expand her popular cirque school concept into other markets.
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New Brunswick: After founding Martell Homes in 2006, 29-year-old Pierre Martell introduced a web-enabled customer interface and transformed the house purchasing experience for new home buyers. Martell Homes offers clients a 99-day construction guarantee for homes of 2,000 square feet or smaller and consistently delivers them on budget. Client satisfaction is so high that Martell Homes won the Atlantic Home Warranty Customer Choice Award in 2010 and 2011.
Ron Ward MPA, SPA, F/MPPA
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Prince Edward Island: Rachelle Wood, 29, launched her nutrition practice - Rachelle Wood Nutrition Inc. - in 2005 to help people lose weight and develop a healthier relationship with food. Her 52-week online SeeResults program features recipes and customized meal plans, self-help advice and one-on-one coaching. Her success has attracted interest from other nutritionists, and Ms. Wood has developed a software version of SeeResults that sells across Canada. With an eye on continued growth, she is developing French and Spanish versions of her program, as well as iPhone and BlackBerry applications.