The winners of the Growth Awards 2020

Annual, Canadian business has highlighted the entrepreneurial leaders in Canada through the growth list – a ranking of established companies on five years of revenue growth and startups on two years of revenue growth. Formerly known as the Growth 500, the winners of the Growth List and the Start-Up List are profiled in a special printed issue of Canadian business published with the December issue of Maclean’s magazine.

“Despite the turbulence, the 2020 Growth List companies showed resilience, spirit and most importantly empathy and strong leadership,” said Susan Grimbly, Growth List Editor. “As we celebrate over 30 years with Canada’s fastest growing business program, it’s encouraging to see the heart of Canada’s entrepreneurial community beating strong, even in tough times.”

Ranked categories include, Business Pivot; Employer of the year; Excellence in diversity; Female Entrepreneur of the Year; Global Business; Philanthropy service; and Technology Trailblazer.

“The award-winning entrepreneurs are agile, incredibly imaginative and creative; and really passionate, ”says Grimbly. “They demonstrate these qualities from their significant growth in 2019, their resilience in 2020, and their magnificent leadership that goes into 2021. As such, they stand like goliaths above the crowd.”

Here are this year’s winners:


Fastest growing business price
Marlin Spring

Benjamin Bakst, CEO & Co-founder / Elliott Kazarnovsky, CFO & Co-founder

This Toronto-based development and investment company has quickly established itself as a juggernaut in a competitive industry. Sales revenues grew by as much as 57,144% from 2014 to 2019. Succeeding in the development, says Benjamin Bakst, CEO & Co-founder, is about more than building buildings. It’s about understanding the market; and how the different sectors (housing, business, rental) inform each other. Strategic investment in rental properties throughout North America contributes to the company’s brilliance. “We have a specialty,” says Bakst. “It’s value-creating real estate.”


Fastest growing start-up price
Steel River Group

Trent Fequet, Founder and CEO

After working in the mining and construction sector in northwestern Canada, founder and CEO Trent Fequet began working out a business plan for a company that could work for energy giants but also provide work for indigenous peoples. He launched the Steel River Group in 2017. The Calgary-based Steel River Group has established remarkable partnerships with both construction giants and First Nations groups, which has led to extraordinary growth. This year’s Start-Up winner boasts a two-year revenue growth of 8,662% since 2017.


Business Pivot Award
CoPilot AI

Henry Bee CEO, Co-Founder / Jesse Chen, CTO, Co-Founder

This award pays tribute to an entrepreneur whose original ideas may be good but may not flourish; having to sniff for the road to success. Vancouver-based CoPilot started as a FinTech, but realized that their customers – financial advisors – needed revenue-generating sales items. They experimented with several formats until they developed the CoPilot Prospecting Dashboard (CPD). In February 2018, CoPilot AI increased from $ 5,000 per month in revenue to $ 30,000. Even then, they struggled, suffering from problems growing too fast. A testimony of courage.


Award Employer of the Year
Ahava Digital Group

Dr. Janét Aizenstros, Chairman and CEO

“Ethical” lives on in the DNA of Ahava’s digital marketing business, from offering ethically verified consumer data to leading a female-led consulting firm, “helping to change the perspective of Fortune, B-companies and media companies to developing relationships with female consumers in an intuitive way . ” Dr. Aizenstros supports and promotes its 300-strong workforce through BIPOC initiatives and a whole host of benefits: from employee shareholder plans and bonuses linked to individual performance to a formal career planning program and parental leave / childcare allowance.


Excellence In Diversity Award
KW signs

Amad Abdullah, President / Mueen Abdullah, Director / Nomar Abdullah, Director

Excellence in Diversity Award pays tribute to a company whose diversity initiatives create an inclusive employee culture. KW Signs, a major manufacturer of metal sign frames supporting over 350 distributors across Canada and the United States, boasts 26 BIPOC employees who speak 13 languages ​​among them and believes it is the diversity that enables the company quickly to recruit great talents. KW runs mentoring initiatives in the Kitchener-Waterloo area, helping them connect to a robust pool for job seekers; and encourages various recruitments.


The award for Female Entrepreneur of the Year
Boil it

Judith Fetzer, CEO

Judith Fetzer of Cook it, a Montreal-based cooking service, has built a thriving company through acumen and agility. The original 2014 à la carte model switched to a subscription-based model in 2016 (tripling sales). Given the exponential rise in demand during the quarantine economy, the workforce itself became the challenge. With about 200 employees in early March, Cook IT hired an external recruitment committee, which hired over 300 new “distance candidates.” As sales revenue increased, Fetzer had to reshape the corporate culture on the go by introducing new initiatives to help employees thrive.


Global Business Award
STEM CELL TECHNOLOGIES

Allen Eaves, CEO

STEMCELL Technologies develops specialized cell culture media, cell isolation systems and accessory products for research in dozens of areas. It supplies 2,500 products directly to 22 countries; and via a global network of distribution centers to 90 other countries. Vancouver-based STEMCELL has a well-thought-out strategy for global expansion; and it has scope to prove it. By 2030, global sales are expected to be $ 1 billion with an estimated 5,000 employees.


Philanthropy Service Award
D-Squared Construction

Domenic Madonna, CEO & Owner / Charles Deponte, Owner

This company has a track record with deep involvement in its community. In the spring, D-Squared Construction promised $ 25,000 worth of relief and asked people in need to write a short story in their DMs outlining their challenges. Amounts were distributed from 1,000 to 2,500 kroner. Through the hashtag #SPREADTHELOVE, they encouraged other companies to jump in as well. Furthermore, in its targeted program “Pave the Way”, D-Squared helps young people directly in Ottawa (in partnership with United Way). Now in its third year, Pave the Way has expanded with a program called Critical Hours that supports vulnerable youth in 10 of Ottawa’s most vulnerable neighborhoods.


Technology Trailblazer Award
Ecopia.AI

Jon Lipinski, Co-Founder and President / Yuanming Shu, Co-Founder and CEO / Shuo Tan, Co-Founder and CTO

Dr. Yuanming Shu asked: How can AI teach a computer to interpret geospatial images as a human? He developed the core map technology, which “uses data from satellites, mobile phones, drones and aerial image sensors to paint an informative picture of our world,” founded Ecopia.AI in 2013 with Shuo Tan and Jon Lipinski. The goal: To create the first complete map of our world in real time. This unique achievement has far-reaching implications for developing countries, where NGOs and humanitarian organizations operate without accurate information about their geography.


Thanks again to our amazing sponsors for making Growth 2020: CEO Summit possible: Presentation Sponsor, Salesforce, Category Sponsor, BDC, Award Sponsor, Johnnie Walker Blue Label and Gifting Sponsor, Herbaland.

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