Canada’s Intellectual Property Firm

2022 Bootstrap Award winners showcase the innovation and creativity of Ottawa’s self-funded entrepreneurs

The Bootstrap Awards is an annual tradition that recognizes and celebrates entrepreneurs in the National Capital Region that have “bootstrapped” the growth of their company to achieve commercial success. The awards are proudly presented by The Ottawa Network and powered by Smart & Biggar.

The winners of this year’s Bootstrap Awards are 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.

This year’s Bootstrap Awards ceremony will be held in person on June 7, 2022 as part of Tech Tuesday at The Marshes Golf Course in Kanata through generous support from event sponsor Wesley Clover. The Awards are also generously supported by award sponsors Aragona Agency, HealthSign, Paterson & Company, Syntronic, PureColo, and the Capital Angel Network, with support from community partner Invest Ottawa and media sponsor Ottawa Business Journal.

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-centred care, and is now used in five LTC homes.

About Smart & Biggar:

Smart & Biggar is Canada’s leading Intellectual Property law firm. We work with international and Canadian companies to develop IP protection strategies that maximize the commercial value of IP and increase return on innovation. In the Ottawa region, Smart & Biggar is committed to supporting emerging technology and innovation, and the work of start-up entrepreneurs and inventors.

About The Ottawa Network:

The Ottawa Network is a not-for-profit member-driven organization that connects entrepreneurs, students, academics, industry professionals, and government agencies to grow innovative businesses in the Ottawa region. We partner with local incubators, accelerators, government and local businesses to co-host, promote and create events that provide networking and educational opportunities for entrepreneurs in and around the Ottawa region. We understand bootstrapping to our core and want to create a community and resource where all entrepreneurs feel welcome.

Contact: Jennifer Farrell |