Announcing The 2021 CANIE Awards finalists for Scotiabank Entrepreneur of the Year
The Innovators & Entrepreneurs Foundation (IEF-FIE) is proud to announce that Ashwin Kutty, Teara Fraser, Jordan Boesch, Kelly Bron Johnson and Erin Bury are the finalists for the Scotiabank Entrepreneur of the Year Award, presented by Scotiabank.
This prize recognizes and celebrates individuals for their exceptional leadership and their ongoing impact in Canadian entrepreneurship.
“In the midst of such challenging times it seems more important than ever to celebrate the innovation, resilience and tenacity of entrepreneurs all across Canada,” said Kayla Isabelle, Executive Director of the Innovators & Entrepreneurs Foundation and CEO of Startup
Canada. “It has been an honour to learn about these businesses, their teams and their accomplishments, and valuable to share their story with Canadians. These entrepreneurs are truly inspirational.”
Individual Global Impact Award semi-finalist profile videos will roll out on the IEF-FIE website from the DATE TO DATE in the order laid out below:
Meet the 2021 Entrepreneur of the Year finalists
Location: Richmond, BC
Teara Fraser was born in Hay River, Northwest Territories, and became a certified commercial pilot in 2002 after experiencing her first small aircraft flight in October 2001. She is the founder of Iskwew Air (ISS-KWAY-YO), a small airline offering charter service to remote Indigenous communities. An Indigenous-woman owned airline, Iskwew Air provides reliable 24-hour charter services to communities around the province of British Columbia. Fraser chose the name Iskwew — which means ‘woman’ in her ancestral Cree language — in celebration of her Indigenous heritage and acknowledge the work of women in the fight for gender equality.
Iskwew is based out of YVR (the Vancouver International Airport) and operates a twin engine PA31 Piper Navajo Chieftain called the Sweetgrass Warrior. The Sweetgrass Warrior cruises at 170 kts, has a range of 700 nm, and can carry a total payload of 1600lbs (eight passengers, cargo or a combination). During COVID-19, Fraser and Iskwew Air supplied essential goods to remote Indigenous communities, such as Alert Bay, that were impacted by the pandemic.
Learn more: iskwew.ca
Location: Halifax, NS
Ashwin Kutty is the President and CEO of WeUsThem Inc., an internationally recognized full service ad agency and management consultancy firm that’s been awarded the Ingenious Award, the Canadian Health Informatics Awards, the MarCom Award, Daveys, Webbys, Hermes and was named a Top 20 innovator by the WHO and the World Bank. Under Ashwin’s leadership, WeUsThem did not have a single layoff or furlough during COVID, moved operations to a larger location, doubled down on collaborative growth and invested in opportunities that will potentially see WeUsThem set up in the United States before the end of the year. With year-on-year growth averaging 33%, WeUsThem continues to thrive and provide for creative excellence to its clients in six continents, speaking to their customers in over 142 countries at an average of 8 million unique customers monthly.
Learn more: weusthem.com
Location: Saskatoon, SK
Jordan Boesch is the founder and CEO of 7Shifts, which helps restaurant operators save thousands per month on labor scheduling and increases efficiency using its communication platform. 7shifts is used by over 350,000 restaurant professionals across North America, Europe, the Middle East and Australia, and by growing multi-unit restaurant groups including Bareburger, Honeygrow, Smoke’s Poutinerie, YogurtLand, Juice It Up!, and many others. More than a scheduling platform, 7shifts empowers restaurant managers to optimize their workforce to better manage employees, resulting in reduced labor costs. A loyal resident of Saskatoon, Saskatewan, Jordan has chosen to keep his company in the prairies, contributing greatly to the growth and development of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the province.
Learn more: 7shifts.com
Kelly Bron Johnson
Location: Ville Saint Laurent, QC
Kelly Bron Johnson is a Black, non-binary, autistic and hard of hearing self-advocate who is the founder of Completely Inclusive. The organization is a social enterprise focused on teaching businesses how to be inclusive and accommodating to all diverse and underrepresented people, including BIPOC, LGBTQ+, people with disabilities and those with food allergies.They are also the founder of The Autistic Entrepreneurs Network, an initiative that aims to support autistic would-be entrepreneurs and create a mentorship and micro-grant community.
Learn more: compinclus.ca and aenetwork.ca
Location: Toronto, ON
Erin Bury is an entrepreneur, speaker, startup advisor, and former technology journalist. She’s the co-founder and CEO at Willful, an online estate planning platform with a mission to make it easier for Canadians to prepare for and deal with death in a digital age and makes it easy for Canadians to create a will in less than 20 minutes. Erin’s mission is to build a suite of digital products that help address questions about death and all of the unknowns associated with it. “For the past two years, I’ve watched Willful grow from an idea spurred by personal experience to a thriving platform that has helped thousands of Canadians create their estate plan online simply, easily, and for a more affordable price than a traditional estate lawyer,” she explained.
Learn more: Willful.ca
About The CANIE Awards:
Celebrating Innovators and Entrepreneurs with seven award categories in five regions across Canada. The finalists will be announced later this summer and a grand finale will be held in October 2021 to further celebrate the winners where they will receive up to $10,000 in prizes. #CANIEAwards
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Social Copy + Handles
Ashwin Kutty / WeUsThem
Kelly Bron Johnson
Kelly Bron Johnson