Meet Ottawa-Gatineau’s 2019 Bootstrap Award winners


An Ottawa-made hydroponics system, a solution for healthier eating in the workplace and a sport hijab maker are among this year’s best bootstrapped firms set to be honoured next week.

The 2019 Bootstrap Awards return to the Marshes Golf Club alongside Tech Tuesday on March 5. The annual awards, sponsored by The Ottawa Network and Smart & Biggar, honour the National Capital Region’s best self-financed firms across a variety of categories.

In order to be eligible, companies must have been in business for no more than seven years and received less than $500,000 in external funding.

OBJ360 (Sponsored)

Next week’s award ceremony will feature keynote speaker Eli Fathi, CEO of MindBridge AI. This year’s Bootstrap Award winners are listed below.

Green Award: Ecovena

Founder/CEO: Trevor Boicey

Product/service: Ecovena manufactures, sells and installs energy saving hardware for multi-residential and commercial buildings.

Innovation Award: The Growcer

Co-founders: Corey Ellis, Alida Burke

Product/service: The Growcer’s mission is to enable anyone to grow food locally. The company’s flagship product, the Containerized Growing System, is a commercial hydroponic farm that can grow up to 12,000 pounds of produce annually in temperatures as cold as -52 degrees Celsius. Currently, there are Growcer systems operating in Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba, Nunavut and Alaska.

SaaS Award:

CEO: Josh Garellek

Product/service: is a SaaS application aimed at helping businesses scale their existing partner ecosystem. It allows teams to keep track who is bringing in new business, how much they are getting paid and what value they provide the company. The platform also automatically tracks close rates, revenue and commission payments.

Marketing Award: Desk Nibbles

Co-founders: Cassy Aite and Emil Aite

Product/service: For the busy office managers and individuals tasked with ordering food for the office, Desk Nibbles simplifies the process with a chatbot that records employee snacking preferences and automates the process of filling the company fridge.

Bootstrap Capital Award: Purecolo

CEO: Rainer Paduch

Product/service: The Purecolo founder team of ISP data centre experts has built and managed hundreds of thousands of square feet of raised floor across Canada. Today, Purecolo is offers the local self-serve hosting market a no-frills, carrier neutral, wholesale priced colocation facility.

Disruptor Award: Brokrete

CEO: Jordan Latourelle

Product/service: Brokrete lets contractors order concrete and manage the delivery process in real-time from an app without having to make a single phone call. The Brokrete app is also linked with a cloud-based dispatch and fleet software for ready-mix concrete suppliers.

Community Impact Award: Thawrih

CEO: Sarah Abood

Product/service: Thawrih creates activewear for those who have religious and cultural obligations. Thawrih locally manufactures sport turbans and sport hijabs as well as inclusive and modest activewear. All headgear is handmade by women who are new to Canada, providing income and employment to recent immigrants.

Founder of the Year: Open Door Education Services

Founder: Heather Desjardins

Product/service: The Open Door Educational Services helps people with learning disabilities such as dyslexia. Its specialized tutoring services offer one-on-one in-home or remote online reading and spelling remediation.

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