Watch: Ottawa's biggest celebration of local business

At a time when many entrepreneurs might have difficulty finding much to celebrate, Jamaal Jackson Rogers offers a simple yet powerful message of hope to kick off this year’s Best Ottawa Business Awards.

“We will not let a pandemic change our course,” the well-known local artist known as Jamaal the Poet, a business owner himself, says in the opening segment of the 2020 BOBs broadcast that airs Wednesday night at 8 p.m. on Rogers TV. Viewers can also tune in at bestottawabusiness.ca.

“For this chapter is not about survival ​– it’s about revival. You’ve given us so much to be grateful for. Together, we will weather the storm.”

Rogers’ ode to those who grind each day to keep their entrepreneurial dreams alive even in the toughest of circumstances sets an appropriate tone for this year’s BOBs, a joint initiative of OBJ and the Ottawa Board of Trade that salutes the best and brightest in what’s been a topsy-turvy year in local business.

The effect of the pandemic on every aspect of life in 2020 is inescapable. So unlike the glitzy gala of years past, this year’s version of the BOBs will happen virtually – but a celebration it will be.

BOBs recipients
From left, CEO of the Year John Sicard, CFO of the Year Julie Morin and Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Rob Ashe.

Hosted by Mark Sutcliffe and Sandra Plagakis, the hour-long show features illuminating profiles of the CEO of the Year, John Sicard of Kinaxis, and the CFO of the Year, Minto REIT’s Julie Morin. 

Sutcliffe also sits down for (physically distanced) chats with Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Rob Ashe – who reflects on his role in building Ottawa software firm Cognos into a billion-dollar company – and Harley Finkelstein, the president of the 2020 Newsmaker of the Year, e-commerce giant Shopify.

In addition, the broadcast highlights the more than two dozen other recipients of this year’s BOBs. The eclectic group includes the real estate developer behind the city’s biggest-ever industrial construction project, several up-and-coming tech firms and Canada’s most valuable publicly traded company.

Those in the mood to keep celebrating can check out the online BOBs after-party at bestottawabusiness.ca/afterparty. Starting at 9 p.m., the show will feature a draw for a $1,600 prize from the Hilton Lac-Leamy, live musical performances by local recording artist Chantal Hackett, interviews with recipients, an appearance from Beau’s Brewing co-founder Steve Beauchesne and more.