2017 Winners



2017 Entrepreneur
of the Year

Vasilios Sakellaropoulos (universaldatasupplies)

Vasilios began selling computer printer ink and toner cartridges out of his friend and business partner's parents' basement. They sourced their inventory through traditional avenues and acquired customers through cold calls and telemarketing, but their low margins and customer base couldn't turn a profit. Getting online for both sourcing and selling inventory was pivotal for them. It allowed the pair to refine their inventory strategy and leverage the secondary market while also facilitating their expansion into the US—a strategy that turned their business around, quickly. Today, they run a multi-million-dollar Business & Industrial retail operation that includes multiple sales channels, a 3,500-square-foot retail and warehouse space, and six full-time employees.

2017 Micro-Multinational
of the Year

Kalina Koleva & Maria Petrova (RunwayCatalog)

Kalina and her mother Maria turned their passion for fashion into a full-time online business that now employs all of the women in their family. Leveraging their relationships with Canadian brands and wholesalers, they began selling moderately priced shoes and accessories to customers across Canada. However, their business took off when they tapped into international trade opportunities facilitated by online marketplaces. Today, 95% of their sales are from outside of the country; Kalina and her team regularly sell to markets including the US, the Middle East, and Europe, and their inventory includes everything from Canadian products to high-end global brands. The success of their multi-million-dollar online business is just the beginning, as they are now leveraging some of the profits to start their own Canadian fashion label.

2017 Integrated
Entrepreneur

Charles Chiu (Refurbio)

Three years into working for a consumer electronics refurbisher and retailer, Charles realized that the company's stagnant online consumer business offered a tremendous opportunity for growth. By reviving this channel, Charles understood he would be able to generate a steady incremental sales stream to compliment the company's existing B2B-focused, omni-channel business. Leveraging online marketplaces, he tapped into key retail moments like back to school and holiday, offering highly competitive pricing on refurbished, "good-as-new" big-ticket tech items that came with full factory warranties. He also participated in online deal programs, like eBay Deals, for additional promotion and exposure of his price-competitive inventory. With continued triple-digit online sales growth in the domestic market, the online consumer channel has now become one of the primary sources of growth for the overall business, and Charles is starting to direct his efforts to increasing export sales for further growth.