Congratulations to our 2021 grant recipients, finalists, and nomination prize winners!
Making Canada stronger. One small business at a time.
At Purolator, we appreciate everything small businesses do for Canada, and for local communities across the country. The True North Small Business Grant Contest is our way of giving back.
Let’s celebrate our 3 Small Business Grant Recipients
These Canadian small businesses will receive $20,000 in cash, plus $15,000 in marketing promotions and $500 in free shipping with Purolator. Congratulations, and thank you for your vision, drive and commitment to success. Truly, you make Canada stronger.
Owners: Dhruv Patel, Armon Shokravi, Landon Fuhr, Varun Kundra
West Vancouver, BC
Calgary, Edmonton, and Fort McMurray, AB
“We're here to help the next generation of entrepreneurs build beautiful customer experiences and successful businesses. Whether this is a grandmother in her living room hand-making bracelets, or a driven young founder that is looking to challenge the status quo — we want to not only be a part of that journey, but to truly empower it.”
While major eCommerce retailers such as Amazon use "thank you for ordering" pages designed to increase revenue, most independent eCommerce business owners can’t build this technology themselves. AfterSell is an app... that helps them increase their revenue by enhancing the post-purchase experience. The app showcases personalized product recommendations to customers after a purchase, which help increase retention, loyalty, and strengthen branding.
The company now powers over 2,200 online stores, boosting each store's revenue by up to 10%. Clients range from start-ups to larger brands and non-profits such as HarperCollins Publishers, Harvard Project for Asian and International Relations, and The Oodie Canada.
Co-owner Dhruv Patel on what inspires him to make AfterSell an even bigger success: “Commerce is fundamental to the Canadian economy; the shift toward eCommerce in the last decade has shown its ability to create sustainable economic growth, employment opportunities, and empower individual freedom. I’m now on a mission to build tools to support the next generation of merchants.”
Jamieson’s General Store
“Our community has been the backbone of our business and without their ongoing support we wouldn't be here.”
Jamieson’s General Store of Nova Scotia received 26 nominations in our grant contest, so clearly this small business is much loved in the communities it serves.
Founded in response to local farmers’ markets closing in the wake of COVID-19, Jamieson’s General Store carries fresh, locally sourced products from across the province. The business started with 20 products and now sells over 300.
The commitment to local communities is a source of... strength. Founder Jenna Jamieson puts it this way: “Our community has been the backbone of our business and without their ongoing support we wouldn't be here. We have a program called ' random acts of kindness' where we drop off grocery boxes to community members based on recommendations of who could use a little extra kindness during these hard times.”
The company also held fundraisers in support of Feed Nova Scotia Food Banks, Local Fire Departments and Indian Residential School Survivors society.
“Stush Patties aims to be a social responsible company and our core values that guide how we do business. We support all local businesses, local farms and locally produced products.”
Community service is second nature to Opal Rowe. Before opening Stush Patties, she founded an award-winning homecare company for seniors. Opal is a Rotarian and the elected Incoming President of her club. She has also served on several business boards.
According to Opal, Stush Patties is the first gourmet patty with real, natural ingredients. She enjoys distribution in specialty grocery stores and eateries across Ontario...
Her passion for social responsibility touches every aspect of Stush Patties.
“We aim to be a social responsible company and our core values guide how we do business,” says Opal. “We support all local businesses, local farms, locally produced products.” She insists on ingredients from multiple cultures to create fusion food and reflect the diversity of our society.
“Our employees and service providers are from diverse ethnicities. We respect people's differences and values. We actively support one or more charitable organizations that helps the vulnerable in our society. We regularly donate to the homeless and less fortunate.”
Small Business Grant Recipients – our Finalists
We’re thrilled to recognize the many achievements and contributions of our finalists. Support these small businesses with your patronage, and give them the boost to achieve the next level of success!
“I am inspired to share our traditional heritage as a path to reconciliation.”
Fallen Mountain Soap of Alberta creates small batch hand-poured artisan soap bars, in addition to a range of personal self-care products that incorporate traditional Cree and Metis culture and teachings...
Owner Lauren Moberly, a member of the Aseniwuche Winewak people (or ‘Rocky Mountain people’), is proud to share her people’s traditional heritage as a path to reconciliation.
“This is the main way that I see my business helps Canadians. Also, I have had several successes and recognition in my business, and I hope that other young people in my community can see by my success that it’s possible to work traditionally and earn an income.”
“We believe that good community development is action that helps people to recognize and develop their ability and potential...”
“We want to challenge outdated traditional home building methods,” says Reto Steiner on the driving vision behind InGreen Systems. The company was nominated for the... contest by an employee. InGreen Systems designs and manufactures efficient, cost effective structural insulated panels for walls, roofs and floors in residential homes. “We searched for a better way, and discovered the aha! moment.”
InGreen Systems has helped build attainable housing for several First Nation communities in Alberta. Reto projects that his company’s homes will last 30+ years, a major boost in lifespan from those currently on First Nation reserves.
“We believe that good community development is action that helps people to recognize and develop their ability and potential and organize themselves to respond to problems and needs which they share.”
“I wanted to contribute to the well-being of people living with conditions similar to my mom. In addition, it was also my way of contributing to society.”
Chantal Brisson was inspired to start Jonick after her mother’s diagnosis of dementia. “Following her placement in an institution and the progression of her condition, I... realized that the morning task of dressing her was becoming more and more difficult, both for her and for the orderlies. It was then that I realized the need for suitable clothing for people with these conditions.”
Chantal did extensive research before designing customized apparel that reflected the unique needs of people with reduced mobility. The drive to make a difference dovetailed perfectly with her passion for entrepreneurship. “Ever since I was young, I've always wanted to be an entrepreneur and own my own business. Jonick is the result of this ambition.”
“On every corner of our city and province we have something to be proud of.”
Mike’s Hydraulics performs critical repairs and service to hydraulic components and equipment in the farming, construction and mining industries. Owners Abe Eazadi... both mechanical engineers, immigrated to Canada in 2013 and purchased the existing business soon after.
Mike’s has been growing ever since. It now also manufactures hydraulic machines, as well as supplies parts and components through a chain of suppliers in Canada and the U.S. It also exports to the UK, New Zealand, Australia, Europe and Africa.
There’s much to be proud about in the company’s success, but its focus on their employees that continues to be especially gratifying to the founders. “We have a very diversified workforce here, from First Nations to immigrants. We are paying good salaries, and encouraging them to get millwright training. Using local businesses as our main suppliers for our production line has been on our focus, so we can support the community.”
“We are constantly thriving to improve our practices, but even so, there are no other companies in Canada that match our ethics and sustainability.”
Sisterly Swim was founded in the midst of the pandemic as a response to the difficulty of finding swimwear that fits all body types properly, at a reasonable price...
Siblings Isabelle and Olivia Leger are constantly tweaking design and manufacturing practices to make their products match both their goals and ethics. Each item is crafted with size-inclusiveness and sustainability in mind. Materials are derived from recycled fishnets and carpet fluff at the end of their usable life. Even packaging is compostable and/or plantable.
The company works with local artists for its designs, most recently with an Indigenous artist. A portion of the company’s revenue go to an Indigenous charity of the artist’s choice.
“We are now seeing and better understanding the important role of community and belonging plays in our children’s well-being and happiness.”
Skateboards For Hope founder Betty Esperanza Grosz has always been involved in community work, and is committed to advocating for children's rights...
She has been collecting and donating used skateboards for over 15 years. Betty is part of the TED Talks brand, and a Radio Canada documentary “L’Esperanza de Cuba” tells her story. Her good work also provided her the opportunity to meet Oprah in 2013. She has also been recognized with a Maria Brown Humanitarian Award for her commendable community work.
The mission of Skateboards For Hope is to break the cycle of poverty experienced by young people from socio-economically disadvantaged communities. The project achieves its goals in a number of ways. Betty and her co-founders provide recycled skateboards to young people and teach them how to skateboard, boosting their confidence, well-being and physical capacities in the process.
The pandemic made their work even more critical as school-aged children experienced mental health issues at higher rates than any other age group.
“As human beings, we rely on cooperation to survive and thrive,” says Betty. “...We are now seeing and better understanding the important role of community and belonging plays in our children’s well-being and happiness.”
“Coffees coming from small communities in small countries allows them a platform and opportunities to control their prices to improve both quality of coffee and life.”
Thien Pham grew up at a coffee farm in Vietnam and moved to Canada at the age of 17. Thien started Tasse Coffee three years ago, at the age of 23. “As a member of... Visible Minority and LGBTQ2S+ groups, I always think I have to work harder than anyone to make this possible to help my communities.”
Tasse Coffee offers customers a wide range of roasted and green coffee beans from Vietnam, Laos, and Myanmar.
“The beans are imported directly from farms. Coffees coming from small communities in small countries allows them a platform and opportunities to control their prices to improve both quality of coffee and life. In the coffee industry, they all live by each other and for each other.”
While Tasse Coffee is currently a local Winnipeg-based business, Thien sees potential in expanding to more markets in Canada, and even internationally. With expansion comes more opportunity for Tasse Coffee to unite and help others.
“Helen Keller once wrote, ‘Alone, we can do so little; together, we can do so much’. This quote represents our vision and goal very well!”
Nomination Prize Winners
The True North Small Business Grant Contest invited individuals to nominate their favourite small business throughout Canada. The following winners will each receive a $500 Visa gift card. Thank you for your dedication to supporting a local business!
“I wanted to acknowledge a small business owner who has always put her community ahead of herself: Marydale Ashcroft, The Dandy Lion owner.”
“Our books are meant to be a way for young readers to access representation and learn cultural information about the world and geography.”
Front line employee
Small Business Nominated:
Active Lock and Safe
“It’s so important to support these small Canadian businesses whenever we can to help stimulate our economy.”
Purolator front line employees are proud supporters of Canada’s small businesses, so we reserved one nomination prize for a team member in recognition of their dedication.
Small business SME CMA B2B Council
Founder of Dog Quality Dream into Reality 2019 Grand Prize Winner
Olympian Curling Champion and Small Business Owner
Purolator Senior Director, Digital Channels and Corporate Tech
Purolator Director Diversity Equity and Inclusion
Purolator Director Marketing
Purolator small business shipping solutions
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