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On Friday, we celebrated the kick off to small business week with our annual business awards. The event, themed ‘Driving Business Forward’ signified that even through challenging times, we can continue to drive business forward.

Seven months ago, we were uncertain as to how this event would come together. However, one thing was certain, we needed to make sure we recognized our business community. Through many conversations we have had, we know and understand the many challenges, tears and heartache our businesses have faced. Many have had to use their personal savings, make difficult choices and prioritize expenses through many sleepless nights. We have been through a lot together as a community and we continue to keep our community open.

Through many obstacles, we’ve been able to advance in our adoption of technology and adaptation of new business practices. We’ve recognized the importance of our ecosystem and how much we rely on each other through these challenging times. We also know how integral our business community is to the success of our overall economy. Which is why now more than ever, we need to take the time to celebrate.

These annual awards, made possible by our sponsors, provided an opportunity to celebrate business in our region. While we know there are so many businesses deserving of recognition, the 72 nominations received, recognized 50 different business in 14 award categories, in addition to the award of excellence. These nominees demonstrate examples of perseverance and how in the midst of this pandemic, they continue to drive business forward. The award recipients were:

This year’s awards allowed us the opportunity to experiment and take on the challenge of new technology. Like many, we had to switch gears, test drive new technology and bring our business community along for the ride. By choosing this new path, it allowed participants to attend wherever they were on any device they chose. Some celebrated together in local establishments, while others chose the comfort of their own home. We were still be able to promote our local business community, local entertainers and our local restaurants through Our Restaurants campaign. Local morning show hosts, Poncho and Cassie from 105.3 Rock entertained us, bringing it together as emcees for the evening.

This all tied into the kick off to Small Business Week, recognizing and paying tribute to not only our award recipients, but to our entire business community. With nearly 1.2 million small businesses across Canada, representing 97% of all business in our country and employing 70% of Canadians in the private sector, our businesses are a key contributor to our economy. Through these past seven months, these businesses have all demonstrated their strength, resilience, determination, and accomplishments.

We are privileged to serve our business community as they inspire us each and every day. They continue to forge the way forward. So we encourage you to take the time, not only during Small Business Week, but throughout the year, to put Local First. Help us continue to Drive Business Forward so we can celebrate future successes and growth. And when you experience excellence within our business community, make sure to nominate them for our 2021 awards, as nominations are now open.

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