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 Bootstrap Awards 2023 

Please join us for presentation of the Bootstrap Awards at

Tech Tuesday, March 7th 2023

The Marshes Golf Club, Kanata



The Annual Bootstrap Awards celebrate self-capitalized businesses that have “bootstrapped” their growth with limited outside funding and achieved commercial success. The awards were created to recognize the outstanding achievements of early stage companies in all industries, both for-profit and non-profit, and across a range of distinct criteria-based categories. The awards are proudly presented by The Ottawa Network and national intellectual property (IP) firm Smart & Biggar. 

The Bootstrap Awards are given to founders and entrepreneurial businesses who have demonstrated innovation and creativity in growing their self-funded start-ups and early-stage companies in all industries, both for-profit and non-profit, and across a range of distinct criteria-based categories. Each winner is an entrepreneur or company from Eastern Ontario or Western Quebec who has been in business for less than seven years operating successfully without having received more than $500,000 in outside funding  (excluding non-convertible debt and grants).

This year’s Bootstrap Awards ceremony will be held in-person on March 7, 2023 as part of Tech Tuesday at The Marshes Golf Course in Kanata through generous support from event sponsor Wesley Clover.

Meet the 2023 Bootstrap Award Winners!!

Green Award | RoCo Industries Inc., Roderick Costain

RoCo Industries has developed a high-efficiency, semi-flexible photovoltaic (PV) building product using plastics instead of tempered glass and metal. This material allows for higher throughput manufacturing techniques and is fully recyclable with existing recycling infrastructure. RoCo has patented the core technology, the product design, and is currently patenting certain manufacturing advances to ensure protection of all building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) products created with its core technology. 

Innovation Award | Convergence Design Services, Ben Seaman 

Convergence Design Services has become an industry leader in rugged electronics, aerospace and defence, robotics and electric vehicles, AI and vision that specializes in mechanical and hardware engineering. The team of engineers has worked on everything from vision detection and classification for AI (robotic land-based and drone-based), to space projects. They have designed military subsystems for harsh environments for major companies and helped local startups like PlantaForm pass EMI compliance testing. 


SAAS Award | CounterCrisis Technology, Don Williams, Melanie Williams

CounterCrisis Technology provides technology solutions to help customers prepare for any natural or human-induced hazard ranging from floods, tornadoes and wildfires to lost or missing persons, public order incidents, and mass casualty events. The company is currently working on the delivery of a national Ground Search and Rescue Incident Command System (GSAR ICS) as part of a three-year project with Public Safety Canada. CounterCrisis Tech’s primary product, IC4W, integrates with other cloud-based software applications commonly used by emergency management and public safety organizations as well as the military and volunteer search and rescue groups. 


Marketing Award | FanSaves, Shannon Ferguson, Kris McCarthy

FanSaves is a platform that gives fans discounts and deals from the sponsors and affiliated brands of their favourite teams, organizations and communities. Paper coupons in the game day program or for in-game activations are a thing of the past. FanSaves is a business-to-business SaaS platform helping sports teams and organizations increase fan engagement, activations and sponsorship revenue while tracking important customer demographics for both their team and their partners. The FanSaves website and mobile app offers fans free access to discounts, deals and in-game activations from sponsors of teams they are fans of so they can better engage with and support local and national team partners.

Bootstrap Capital Award | Northern Forge Studios, Nate Beacham, Jason Flick

Northern Forge Studios operates in the video game industry, specifically mobile games. Their first product, Orna, blended modern technology with gameplay that matched the golden era of gaming and has almost reached two million downloads since launching four years ago. In November 2022, their follow-up title, Hero of Aetheric, was launched to the Google Play Store and iOS App Store and is fast approaching the million-download milestone. The studio has customers in 230 countries. 

Disruptor Award | MapSherpa Inc., Dave McIlhagga 

MapSherpa is a modern manufacturer and distributor of wall maps that brings international map publisher content to market. The company’s approach addresses international distribution challenges, customer desire for prints on a variety of materials, and enables personalized and custom products in near real-time through secure print-on-demand technology and an international retail network. MapSherpa represents major international brands in the map industry including National Geographic, Harper Collins, TomTom and more. 

Community Impact Award | STEM the Gap Academy, Ingrid Gayle 

STEM the Gap Academy is committed to eliminating the gender divide and ensuring that girls take their rightful places in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields, which have long been male-dominated. It teaches girls the tangible skills they need for tomorrow, as well as the confidence to own their power to step out, speak up and STEM the Gap.

Founder of the Year Award | Femade Inc.Anusha Gandhi

Femade is a pain management centre for women, those assigned female at birth, and those who have transitioned. Femade is a woman-owned, woman-run company. By omitting the need for a doctor’s referral and avoiding long wait times, patients are being seen and heard, provided tools to manage their health and wellness, and feel a part of a much larger community of individuals. Femade offers manual therapies, lifestyle services and mental health services. Femade also provides treatment opportunities through the Fem-Aid Assistance program.

Award Categories


GREEN AWARD The winner demonstrates how their company or organization is striving to improve the environment or contribute to environmental health or awareness through a combination of environmental and economic (commercial) sustainability.
INNOVATION AWARD The winner demonstrates how their company has applied scientific and/or engineering expertise and technology to solve a problem in a way that is unique and innovative.
SAAS AWARD The winner demonstrates how their company uses Software as a Service to provide a product that has customer uptake and enthusiasm as shown in number of customers and/or growth.
MARKETING AWARD The winner demonstrates how they used innovative marketing strategies to attract media attention and stakeholder involvement while cost-effectively acquiring customers and clients.
BOOTSTRAP CAPITAL AWARD The winner demonstrates their ability to self-finance and “bootstrap” their enterprise with limited or no help from Angel or Venture Capital investors, and grow their business while remaining economically viable and profitable.
DISRUPTOR AWARD The winner demonstrates how they are boldly trying to turn a business or paradigm on its head or changing an industry and have received some early traction from supporters. This award celebrates those who have a big vision and are taking a risk to make their vision a reality.
COMMUNITY IMPACT AWARD The winner demonstrates how their efforts or organization has had an impact on the community in terms of social good by improving diversity, providing a service or product to an under-served community, raising awareness of a cause or initiative through a unique event, campaign, or fundraising program and by using innovative and/or entrepreneurial techniques. This award may be given to an individual entrepreneur or company.
FOUNDER OF THE YEAR AWARD This winner demonstrates exceptional leadership and ability to grow their company and build their business through stakeholder engagement and networking, and/or shown themselves to be a leader and influencer in the business community, acting as a peer role model for other founders.

2022 Winners

Green Award | Re4M Design and Fabrication, Heather Jeffery

Innovation Award | Braiyt, Warsame Ahmed, Tamey McIntosh, Gaston Barban

SAAS Award |, Ryan Peatt, Adam Januszkiewicz, Julian Eckhardt

Marketing Award | Bushbalm Skincare, David Gaylord, Rachel Kerr, Timothy Burns

Bootstrap Capital Award |, Riaz Sidi

Disruptor Award | SparkPath, JP Michel

Community Impact Award | Connected Canadians, Emily Jones Joanisse, Tasneem Damen

Founder of the Year Award | Evoke Health, Varsha Chaugai, Graham Fraser

2021 Winners

Green Award: greenre President: Keith Loiselle

Innovation Award: CoGenerate Solar CEO: Ra'ed Arab CTO: Bruno Rocha

SaaS Award: Noibu Co-founders: Robert Boukine and Kailin Noivo

Marketing Award: Wicket Co-founders: Jeff Horne and Laura Mindorff

Bootstrap Capital Award: RedLore CEO: Niek Van Dierdonck

Disruptor Award: Extend Pharmacy Specialists Founder: Jason Wentzell Manager: Meghan Hayes

Community Impact Award: Treehouse Medical Founder: Julia Slanina

Founder of the Year: Jason Lee Company: SmartCone Technologies

2020 Winners

Green Award: Backcountry Wok Founder: Melanie Ang

Innovation Award: Tungsten Collaborative Co-founders: Mike Brown, William Dicke, Dave McMullin

SaaS Award: Rilea Technologies CEO/CTO: Lisa Hallsworth, Rob Hallsworth

Marketing Award: Hit Point Press Founder: Ricardo Evangelho

Bootstrap Capital Award: Space Strategies Co-founders: Adre Dupuis, Maria Rey, Anne-Marie Dupuis

Disruptor Award: Lightship Security Directors: Jason Lawler, Brad Proffitt, Greg McLearn, Lachan Turner

Community Impact Award: Sprig Learning CEO/CTO: Jarrett Laughlin, Faud Khan

Founder of the Year: Meta Innovation Technologies Founder: Dr. Ellie Ardakani

2019 Winners

Green Award: Ecovena Founder/CEO: Trevor Boicey

Innovation Award: The Growcer Co-founders: Corey Ellis, Alida Burke

SaaS Award: CEO: Josh Garellek

Marketing Award: Desk Nibbles Co-founders: Cassy Aite and Emil Aite

Bootstrap Capital Award: Purecolo CEO: Rainer Paduch

Disruptor Award: Brokrete CEO: Jordan Latourelle

Community Impact Award: Thawrih CEO: Sarah Abood

Founder of the Year: Open Door Education Services Founder: Heather Desjardins

2018 Winners

Green Award: Riverwood Acoustics Founder/CEO: Ben Seaman

Innovation Engineering & Technology Award: SanEcoTec Founder/CEO: Els Vanbeckevoort

Best Mobile Application: GoFor Co-Founder/CEO: Brad Rollo

Best Guerilla/Social Marketing Campaign: Digitera Founder/CEO: Jordan St. Jacques

Bootstrap Capital Award: Spatial DNA Informatics Inc. Founder/CEO: Todd Lewis

Community Impact Award: KindVillage Founder/CEO: Tanya Woods

Founder of the Year: Welbi Technologies Co-Founder/CEO: Elizabeth Audette-Bourdeau

2017 Winners

Green Award: Spectrafy

Innovation Engineering & Technology Award: iBionics

Best Mobile Application: award shared by Bluink & Punchtime

Best Guerilla/Social Matrketing Campaign: Grype

Bootstrap Capital Award: Ottawa Media Group

Community Impact Award: NuGrocery

Fastest Growing Startup Award: CanadaWheels

2012 Winners

Best Business Model – CanaFlora

Innovation in Engineering and Technology – Crack Semiconductor

Lead to Win for Women- Amanda R A Lunan | Auntie Loo’s Treats

Bootstrap Capital – Apption Corporation

Best Guerilla Marketing – Toletta

Community Impact – Shepherds of Good Hope

Green Award – Rumidifier Home Comforts Inc.

Best Mobile App/Website – Spoonity Inc.

Best Customer Service – Blue Rabbit Machines

Best Sales/Value Proposition – LavaBlast

People’s Choice – Dermis Advanced Skin Care

Fastest Growing Startup – Stoneshare

2011 Winners

Best Micro Business – FaveQuest

Best 20 and Under Startup – Jennifer Lee Promotions

Best website – Manpacks

Best Technique for Sales/Pre-Sales/Launch – Vertigrow

Best Value Proposition/Value Differentiator/Pixie Dust – Patientway

Most Innovative Source, Bootstrap Capital – IdeaVibes

Best Guerrilla Marketing Idea/Social Marketing – Zeebu Mobile

Most Innovative Social Enterprise Fundraiser – Ottawa Humane Society

Most Innovative Business Model -SokJok

Fastest Growing Startup – Inovatech Engineering

2010 Winners

New Micro Business of the Year – Network Hippo Inc.

20 and under Startup – Stewart Supreme Vending

New Web Site of the Year – Wedding Republic

Best Sales/Pre-Sales/Launch Clients – CrowdWave Games

Value Differentiation Technique – UCreate Media

Best Pixie Dust Technique of the Year – BSETC

Most Innovative Source of Bootstrap Capital of the Year – MartSmart Shopping Network

Best Guerrilla Marketing Idea or Campaign of the Year – Social Mention

Most Innovative New Bootstrap Business Model of the Year – Shopify

Fastest Growing Bootstrap Startup – Telepin Software

See all our winners and presenters since 2010 at the Facebook home of the Bootstrap Awards!

2021 Videos