Canada’s Intellectual Property Firm

2023 Bootstrap Award Ceremony celebrates Ottawa’s most innovative and self-funded entrepreneurs

The 2023 Bootstrap Awards took place at an in-person celebration on March 7, 2023. Through generous support from event sponsor Wesley Clover, this year’s awards ceremony was hosted as part of Tech Tuesday once again at The Marshes Golf Course in Kanata.

The awards celebrate the Ottawa region’s start-up movers and shakers and pay tribute to a legacy of self-funded entrepreneurs that have “bootstrapped” the growth of their company to achieve commercial success. Co-hosted by Smart & Biggar Principal Jamie-Lynn Kraft and Erin Engelhardt of The Ottawa Network, the evening kicked off with an inspiring keynote address from Heather Desjardins, founder of The Open Door Educational Services and 2019 Bootstrap winner, who shared insight about her entrepreneur journey and the lessons she has learned along the way. Following the presentation of each award, we also welcomed Nick Quain, of Invest Ottawa, who once again expertly moderated an engaging panel discussion with the winners.

Each of this year’s winners 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. Hailing from eastern Ontario or western Quebec each winner has been in business for less than seven years operating successfully without having received more than $500,000 in outside funding.

Thank you to our generous Community Partners: Invest Ottawa, the Ottawa Business Journal, Tech Tuesday / Wesley Clover for supporting and hosting the event this evening, and thank you to our Award Sponsors: Aragona Agency, Algonquin College, SAASCan, Paterson & Company, PureColo, and the Capital Angel Network, whose contributions and support enable us to continue to celebrate entrepreneurs in the Ottawa Community, year after year.

Meet the 2023 Bootstrap Award Winners!

Green Award | RoCo Industries Inc.

[photo caption: Mike Lalonde from PureColo presents the Green Award to Roderick Costain, founder of RoCo Industries Inc.]

Innovation Award | Convergence Design Services

[photo caption: Cory Haskins from Algonquin College presents the Innovation Award to Ben Seaman, President of Convergence Design Services]

SAAS Award | Counter Crisis Technology

[photo caption: Lauren Thibodeau from SaaSCan presents the SAAS Award to Don Williams & Melanie Williams from Counter Crisis Technology]

Marketing Award | FanSaves

[photo caption: Irshaad Hashim from Smart & Biggar presents the Marketing Award to Benji Bloom, Katherine Moroz and Bhavya Bhat from FanSaves]

Bootstrap Capital Award | Northern Forge Studios

[photo caption: Sarwar Quereshi from Paterson & Company presents Bootstrap Capital Award to Nate Beacham and Jason Flick from Northern Forge Studios]

Disruptor Award | MapSherpa Inc.

[photo caption: Michel Lalonde from Storm Internet presents Disruptor Award to Dave McIlhagga, founder, MapSherpa Inc.]

Community Impact Award | STEM the Gap Academy

[photo caption: Veronica Farmer from Welsely Clover presents Community Impact Award to Ingrid Gayle, founder, STEM the Gap Academy]

Founder of the Year Award | Femade Inc.

[photo caption: Jennifer Francis from Capital Angel Network presents Founder of the Year Award to Anusha Gandhi from Femade Inc.]

We were especially honoured to present a Community Impact award to Steve Langford, who recently stepped down as Executive Director of Tech Tuesday at Wesley Clover. In this role, Steve contributed countless hours and energy over many years hosting networking events and building the TechTuesday community in support of entrepreneurs in Ottawa.

[photo caption: Erin Engelhardt from The Ottawa Network presents Community Impact Award to Steve Langford]

About Smart & Biggar:

Smart & Biggar is widely recognized as Canada’s leading intellectual property firm, with offices in Montréal, Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary. We are leaders in intellectual property and have been serving clients for over a century. Smart & Biggar operates as part of the IPH Limited group, under its own brand and independent from other IPH member firms.

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.