This content is made possible by our sponsors. Submit your expert blog here.

Nominations open to honour self-capitalized Ottawa entrepreneurs

Bootstrap awards

The Bootstrap Awards have returned to Ottawa in 2021 to celebrate self-capitalized businesses in the National Capital Region that have “bootstrapped” their growth to achieve commercial success. Award nominations will be accepted online until March 31, 2021, with winners selected and honoured later in the spring at a live awards ceremony (details to be announced).

Launched in the early 2000s, the Bootstrap Awards is a grassroots annual program that recognizes the outstanding achievements of early stage companies in all industries, both for-profit and non-profit. The Bootstrap Awards are co-presented by The Ottawa Network and national intellectual property (IP) law firm Smart & Biggar and supported by community partner Invest Ottawa and the Ottawa Business Journal as media sponsor.

“It is amazing to see the creativity and optimism that entrepreneurs in Ottawa have shown over the last 12 months. This year, more than ever, it is important to recognize and honour those of us who have persevered and achieved success despite this year’s challenges,” says Erin Engelhardt of The Ottawa Network.

“Ottawa has a long history of tech innovation and entrepreneurship, and emerging companies developing valuable IP that benefits our whole economy. We are proud to co-present the Bootstrap Awards once again to recognize the success of these companies and founders” said Jeff Slater, a senior patent agent at Smart & Biggar.

Awards will be offered across eight categories including: The Green Award, the Innovation Award, the SAAS Award, the Marketing Award, the Bootstrap Capital Award, the Disruptor Award, the Community Impact Award and the Founder of the Year Award. To be eligible for an award, a company must be based in the National Capital Region – from Eastern Ontario to Western Quebec – and have been in business for less than seven years and have not received more than $500,000 in outside capital funding.

For a full description of each award and a link to the nomination form, please visit:

Past winners of the Bootstrap Awards include Backcountry Wok (2020 Green Award), Sprig Learning (2020 Community Impact Award, The Growcer (2019 Innovation Award), and Welbi Technologies (2018 Founder of the Year Award).

About The Ottawa Network (TON):

The Ottawa Network (TON) is a not-for-profit volunteer run and community-driven organization whose mission is to support and encourage Ottawa area entrepreneurs in growing innovative businesses in the Ottawa region. TON connects entrepreneurs, industry professionals, academics, public servants, and students from the Ottawa area to encourage the growth of innovative ideas and businesses by providing in person and online connection opportunities to create a nurturing and supportive community for Ottawa area entrepreneurs

About Smart & Biggar:

Widely recognized as Canada’s leading firm for intellectual property, Smart & Biggar is the largest firm focused purely on IP and related specialty areas. Smart & Biggar has the honour of working with many of Canada’s and the world’s most important innovators and brand owners, proudly supporting clients on the road to market leadership — from start-up companies in emerging growth sectors to multinational corporations, as well as innovators at universities and other research institutions – advising them on their most critical and complex IP matters with the full benefit of our unrivaled IP experience and expertise.


Jenn Dumaran
Marketing & communications specialist, Smart & Biggar