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The Bootstrap Awards 2023 are here!!!

Applications will be accepted from

until midnight February 3, 2023

Apply here!


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).

Award winners will be announced at a Winners Awards Celebration on March 7, 2023, at the Tech Tuesday Event at the Marshes Golf Club.

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.


Join us on March 7th, 2023 at the Tech Tuesday Bootstrap Award Ceremony!

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 2022 Bootstrap Award Winners!!


Green Award | Re4M Design and Fabrication

Heather Jeffery

Re4m Design and Fabrication is an eco-manufacturer of furnishings, fixtures, and displays. They design and build custom products such as reception desks, signage, and product displays out of reclaimed and rescued materials sourced from within the Ottawa area. Re4m partners with local businesses like the Museum of Nature, Habitat for Humanity Restore, Lagois Design and Build, and other local companies to alleviate them of materials that would typically go into the landfill. Their recycling-design firm has proudly diverted roughly 9000 lbs. of waste from our city's landfills and is the only known recycling design firm in Ottawa.

Innovation Award | Braiyt

Warsame Ahmed, Tamey McIntosh, Gaston Barban

Braiyt is an Ottawa-based Artificial Intelligence (AI) company focussing on computer vision solutions to derive meaningful information from images, videos and other visual inputs, and to take actions or make recommendations based on that information. Braiyt’s AI services work across many sectors, with built expertise in the retail industry and active surveillance. To help physical retailers compete Braiyt developed BraiytVu, a real-time computer vision software service, giving physical stores the ability to use their existing cameras to capture data to measure retail activity to better manage their businesses and compete with online retail.


SAAS Award |

Ryan Peatt, Adam Januszkiewicz, Julian Eckhardt is a SaaS company that helps merchants sell more by verifying eligibility for personalized offers. Leveraging integrations with thousands of identity providers globally, users instantly verify their eligibility as part of the purchase process with no personal information provided. This ensures privacy and reduces fraud while providing a frictionless experience that is proven to increase conversion rates and reduce shopping cart abandonment. is working with global brands to verify student, faculty and military status and has completed over 100,000 successful verifications in over 150 countries since launching the service in August 2021.


Marketing Award | Bushbalm Skincare

David Gaylord, Rachel Kerr, Timothy Burns

Bushbalm is a skincare brand that focuses on hair removal, through natural products formulated for ingrown hairs, razor burn, dark spots and more. Bushbalm’s innovative product line is disrupting the beauty industry and making hair removal and skincare products for our most intimate areas. In the challenging space of commercial products, BushBalm has grown from $0 to over $10m in annual sales in just over 6 years without taking on additional investment. Founded in Ottawa and selling worldwide at Indigo, online, and in salons, Bushbalm provides natural products for our most frustrating skin concerns, wherever they are!


Bootstrap Capital Award | 

Riaz Sidi

Named as one of Ottawa’s Fastest-Growing Companies in 2022 by the Ottawa Business Journal, is a digital marketing agency that works with high tech start-ups and SaaS companies in North and South America to develop and refine their digital marketing strategies. From digital strategy and website development to campaign execution, analytics, and more, works in the trenches with clients to develop customized awareness and demand generation programs to help fuel their growth.


Disruptor Award | SparkPath

JP Michel

SparkPath helps students discover extraordinary careers by exploring the real-world challenges that inspire them. SparkPath’s unique approach, the Challenge mindset, flips the traditional career exploration approach and frees students to find a career path based on real-world challenges instead of job titles. Over 35,000 students have used SparkPath’s digital “Challenge Cards” to discover how they can prepare for a career that makes a contribution by focusing on challenges, problems, and opportunities that exist in the world. Educators, parents and students can learn more at


Community Impact Award | Connected Canadians

Emily Jones Joanisse, Tasneem Damen

Connected Canadians is a national non-profit organization that provides free technology training and support to Canadian seniors, fostering digital literacy skills and reducing isolation and loneliness. Through partnerships with senior-serving organizations and technology companies, Connected Canadians provides one-on-one training sessions, workshops, customized employee training, and volunteering experiences. Many of their volunteers are new immigrants to Canada highly skilled in technology who benefit from the conversational opportunities and Canadian workplace experience. Their senior clients feel pride and connection in welcoming these newcomers into our communities. Connected Canadians' partners include Adobe Canada, Amazon Canada, Capgemini, Deloitte and National Gallery of Canada. By 2030, their goal is for all Canadian seniors to have access to free technology training and support. Learn more at


Founder of the Year Award | Evoke Health

Varsha Chaugai, Graham Fraser

Evoke Health has developed a secure, SaaS communication platform that integrates to an Electronic Health Record System. Their system allows long-term care (LTC) homes to automatically, and in real-time, share resident health and care information with family members and caregivers and facilitates direct communication with nursing and care home staff. The idea behind the platform was conceived based on insights from LTC homes on staffing shortages and the time impact on carers of providing patient updates to families. Developed using rapid prototypes and real-time feedback from end-users in a timespan of 5 months, Evoke's platform has helped improve staff operational efficiency and support the paradigm shift towards person-centered care, and is now used in five in LTC homes.

2021 Winners

2021 winner videos and round table discussion

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