Meet Ottawa-Gatineau’s 2023 Bootstrap Award winners

A variety of businesses will be honoured at this year’s Bootstrap Awards. The annual event, sponsored by Smart & Biggar and The Ottawa Network, is a celebration of self-funded startups and entrepreneurs from a variety of categories. 

This year’s Bootstrap Awards ceremony will be held March 7 at The Marshes Golf Course in Kanata. 

To be considered for a Bootstrap Award, entrepreneurs must hail from Eastern Ontario or Western Quebec, have been in business for less than seven years, and have received less than $500,000 in outside funding. 

OBJ360 (Sponsored)

Here is the full list of 2023 Bootstrap Award winners: 

Green Award | RoCo Industries Inc.

Roderick Costain

RoCo Industries has developed a high-efficiency, semi-flexible photovoltaic (PV) building product using plastics instead of tempered glass and metal. This material allows for higher throughput manufacturing techniques and is fully recyclable with existing recycling infrastructure. RoCo has patented the core technology, the product design, and is currently patenting certain manufacturing advances to ensure protection of all building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) products created with its core technology. 

Innovation Award | Convergence Design Services

Ben Seaman 

Convergence Design Services has become an industry leader in rugged electronics, aerospace and defence, robotics and electric vehicles, AI and vision that specializes in mechanical and hardware engineering. The team of engineers has worked on everything from vision detection and classification for AI (robotic land-based and drone-based), to space projects. They have designed military subsystems for harsh environments for major companies and helped local startups like PlantaForm pass EMI compliance testing. 

SAAS Award | CounterCrisis Technology

Don Williams, Melanie Williams

CounterCrisis Technology provides technology solutions to help customers prepare for any natural or human-induced hazard ranging from floods, tornadoes and wildfires to lost or missing persons, public order incidents, and mass casualty events. The company is currently working on the delivery of a national Ground Search and Rescue Incident Command System (GSAR ICS) as part of a three-year project with Public Safety Canada. CounterCrisis Tech’s primary product, IC4W, integrates with other cloud-based software applications commonly used by emergency management and public safety organizations as well as the military and volunteer search and rescue groups. 

Marketing Award | FanSaves

Shannon Ferguson, Kris McCarthy

FanSaves is a platform that gives fans discounts and deals from the sponsors and affiliated brands of their favourite teams, organizations and communities. Paper coupons in the game day program or for in-game activations are a thing of the past. FanSaves is a business-to-business SaaS platform helping sports teams and organizations increase fan engagement, activations and sponsorship revenue while tracking important customer demographics for both their team and their partners. The FanSaves website and mobile app offers fans free access to discounts, deals and in-game activations from sponsors of teams they are fans of so they can better engage with and support local and national team partners.

Bootstrap Capital Award | Northern Forge Studios

Nate Beacham, Jason Flick

Northern Forge Studios operates in the video game industry, specifically mobile games. Their first product, Orna, blended modern technology with gameplay that matched the golden era of gaming and has almost reached two million downloads since launching four years ago. In November 2022, their follow-up title, Hero of Aetheric, was launched to the Google Play Store and iOS App Store and is fast approaching the million-download milestone. The studio has customers in 230 countries. 

Disruptor Award | MapSherpa Inc.

Dave McIlhagga 

MapSherpa is a modern manufacturer and distributor of wall maps that brings international map publisher content to market. The company’s approach addresses international distribution challenges, customer desire for prints on a variety of materials, and enables personalized and custom products in near real-time through secure print-on-demand technology and an international retail network. MapSherpa represents major international brands in the map industry including National Geographic, Harper Collins, TomTom and more. 

Community Impact Award | STEM the Gap Academy

Ingrid Gayle 

STEM the Gap Academy is committed to eliminating the gender divide and ensuring that girls take their rightful places in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields, which have long been male-dominated. It teaches girls the tangible skills they need for tomorrow, as well as the confidence to own their power to step out, speak up and STEM the Gap.

Founder of the Year Award | Femade Inc.

Anusha Gandhi

Femade is a pain management centre for women, those assigned female at birth, and those who have transitioned. Femade is a woman-owned, woman-run company. By omitting the need for a doctor’s referral and avoiding long wait times, patients are being seen and heard, provided tools to manage their health and wellness, and feel a part of a much larger community of individuals. Femade offers manual therapies, lifestyle services and mental health services. Femade also provides treatment opportunities through the Fem-Aid Assistance program.

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