Ernst & Young LLP (E&Y) has announced its regional finalists for Canadian Entrepreneur of the Year, in what is now the 20th year of the competition.

On Thursday, E&Y announced the names of finalists split among five regions, with nominees coming from the Ontario, Pacific, Prairies, Quebec, and Atlantic areas. The panel choosing finalists for this year’s competition had a keen eye for entrepreneurs who helped pump jobs into the economy, especially at a time when employment numbers are low, according to a press release.

Categories included business services, emerging entrepreneurs, young entrepreneurs, and social entrepreneurs, defined as those trying to create social change and improve citizens’ quality of life.

The competition also had entrants within the media and entertainment space, real estate and construction, the food and beverage industry, software and technology, business-to-business consumer products and services, and cleantech and manufacturing.

Among the entrepreneurs who made it into the final round within Ontario, one was Robert Offley, president and CEO of CentriLogic Inc. in Mississauga, Ont. CentriLogic provides international hybrid hosting, cloud computing, co-location, and managed data centre solutions.

Also from the Toronto area was Juice Mobile president and CEO Neil Sweeney. Juice Mobile works with businesses to create mobile ads for their brands.

Among young entrepreneurs, Anatoliy Melnichuk, Michele Romanow, and Ryan Marien, all of Buytopia.ca, made the list. Buytopia is a site for consumers using their collective buying power to get discounts on brands, products, and services. In the same vein as group-buying giant GroupOn Inc., Buytopia is significantly smaller, but it made gains over the past year by acquiring several other localized group-buying sites.

Another nominee in the young entrepreneur category is Lauren Friese, who spearheaded TalentEgg Inc., a website dedicated to connecting students and recent graduates with internships and entry-level jobs.

Ontario’s winners will be announced at a gala on Oct. 24. The overall winners from each region will then represent their regions at another gala, slated to be held in Toronto on Nov. 27.

Past winners of the title of Canadian entrepreneur of the year include Dani Reiss, president and CEO of the family-owned Canada Goose brand of winter jackets, Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberté, and William Comrie, who built the Brick Warehouse Corporation.

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  • Tommy Clark

    that’ll be neat if that kid who owns 5spot.ca enters in this Big exposure !!