About the BEAs


On November 8, we hosted our 7th Annual Business Excellence Awards, an evening awards gala celebrating trailblazers of Toronto region’s business community who have demonstrated exceptional growth, leadership and innovation. The gala was an outstanding opportunity to meet and connect with business leaders and rising entrepreneurs; attendees enjoyed a delectable dinner, witnessed the awards ceremony as winners were announced, and heard the inspiring stories of our 2017 winners.

The Annual Business Excellence Awards (BEAs) celebrate small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and individuals in all sectors of the Toronto Region business community who demonstrate exceptional growth, leadership and innovation. The BEAs are a prestigious way to gain recognition in the community and increase credibility. 

Questions? Read this FAQ and if needed, email bea@bot.com.

  2017 Business Leader of the Year Award Recipient


Mike McDerment is Co-founder and CEO of FreshBooks, the world's #1 accounting software in the cloud for self-employed professionals and their employees.

Prior to FreshBooks, Mike ran his own design firm where he accidentally saved over an invoice and realized an unmet need in the market. In 2003, he started FreshBooks from his parents’ basement in Toronto. Since then, over 10 million people have used FreshBooks to save time billing, look professional, and collect billions of dollars. 

Mike and his team dedicate themselves to executing extraordinary experiences everyday for customers who want to focus on what they love, not their paperwork.

Mike has also authored Breaking The Time Barrier, a guide to using value-based pricing to unlock your true earning potential which has been downloaded more than 250,000 times.


The 2017 Business Leader of the Year is an influential leader who has made a notable and sustainable impact on their business, industry and the region, whose input and ideas inspire the next generation of leaders. Potential candidates represent the range of the region’s business landscape, with a body of work demonstrating the ability to build a business from the ground up, a proven track record of achievement and a commitment to their community.  As such, candidates for this award are not constrained by the criteria for other award categories, and can be from larger, more-established organizations. Candidates are put forward by the BEA committee and the Board. Once candidates are notified and agree to participate, they go through the BEA nomination process and a winner is selected by the committee.




Hear our finalists share their inspiring stories.            

Award Categories

The award categories were updated to better reflect the Board’s 2020 vision to make Toronto one of the most competitive and sought after business regions in the world. Open to members and non-members, SMEs with fewer than 500 employees and individuals in any sector based in the region are nominated by their peers in the business community. 

Community Influencer - presented by Ted Rogers School of Management

Congratulations to R. Khanuja Dentistry: A company demonstrating a long-term desire to build diverse, inclusive and balanced communities. One making a sustainable and tangible impact in the region, whose clear commitment to social responsibility is an integral part of their strategy and success.



· Cole Engineering Group Ltd.
· R. Khanuja Dentistry
​​​​​​​· Splash Effect



Talent Catalyst 

Congratulations to Xref: A company that successfully demonstrates new and different ways to attract and retain the region’s top talent.


· Ontario Brain Institute
· VISO Inc.
· Xref

Global Trade Catalyst

Congratulations to Viryl Technologies Corp.: A company with a thriving international trade business, contributing to the Canadian economy by generating export-driven revenue and supporting regional job creation.


· DMW Designs
· VISO Inc.
· Viryl Technologies Corp.

Transportation Catalyst

Congratulations to Cole Engineering Group Ltd.: A company making a notable impact in building transportation infrastructure the region needs to efficiently move people and goods. Open to those who play an influential role in any part of the journey-from those that develop concepts and plans to those building with their hands.


· Cole Engineering Group Ltd.
· Driverseat Toronto North West

Smart Solutions Provider

Congratulations to Jolera Inc.: A dynamic company providing a unique technology solution that allows users to effectively and efficiently do more with less.


· Jolera Inc.
· Rubikloud
· Viryl Technologies Corp.

Entrepreneur of the Year - presented by Meridian

Congratulations to Vox Pop Labs: An entrepreneur who is profitably bringing new ideas, products or services to market, disrupting the status quo to spark and influence industry transformation.


· D-Mark BioSciences
· NextBlock Global and Blockchain Research Institute
· Vox Pops Labs

Young Professional of the Year - presented by RBC

Congratulations to Chloe Ho, Co-founder & Creative Director, Pixie Mood: An emerging young professional (under the age of 40) who exemplifies outstanding leadership in their field, shaping our region’s future.


· Chloe Ho – Pixie Mood
· Fatima Zaidi – Eighty-Eight
· Peter Reitano – Abacus



Committee Members

  • David Waugh, Branch Manager, RBC
  • Maninder Chauhan, Manager, SMB Products & Services, TELUS Mobility
  • Neil Rostant, Partner, Assurance, PwC
  • Georgette Zinaty, Executive Director of Development & Alumni Relations, University of Toronto Scarborough
  • Darri Beaulieu,  Manager of Development, Learning Enrichment Foundation


Hall of Fame

Where are they now?

See inspiring stories of business excellence from past winners

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