Canadian technology entrepreneurs are featuring prominently in this year’s Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards.
The awards show is in its 19th year and is featuring finalists from four regions of Canada; Ontario, Quebec, Atlantic, and Pacific. Last year’s winner was not tech-focused – Dani Reiss of Toronto’s Canada Goose took the prize in the same year the firm’s rugged winter jackets became a fashion hit. But Marcel LeBrun, Chris Newton, and Chris Ramsey of social analytics firm Radian6 Inc. were recognized as the Atlantic regional winners for 2011.
The awards program is run in more than 50 countries worldwide, and the overall country winners gather in Monte Carlo to receive their award hardware. Ernst and Young says it selects entrepreneurs that have overcome adversity and created a business that will be a game-changer.
Here are a few of the entrepreneurs up for the 2012 award that run tech-based firms:
- Martin-Luc Archambault, founder and CEO of Wajam, a social search technology. The Montreal firm’s Social Search Everywhere Plugin adds results from your social networks every time you do a Web search. As you’re using Google, Youtube, or Amazon, you’ll see what interaction your friends had with the items you’re looking at. It also compiles a single depository of your Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ connections and allows you to search through them.
- Kenshi Arasaki, Wilkins Chung, and Eric Diep are the founders of A Thinking Ape Technologies. This Vancouver based trio wants to change how people play with their mobile devices. They’ve developed backend systems to support millions of players, an analytics infrastructure, and graphics and animation pipelines. They claim to be one of the highest-grossing mobile developers in the world.
- Harley Finkelstein and Tobi Lutke from Shopify. This Ottawa-based e-commerce firm has been grabbing attention lately and has expanded globally ot include 24,000 online shops in more than 88 countries.
- Robert Herjavic of The Herjavec Group is known best as being one of the stars on CBC’s Dragons’ Den. His IT security and infrastructure integration firm focuses on security solutions, WAN acceleration, and emerging technologies.
- From the Atlantic region, Michael Johnston of TeamSpace Canada. His firm looks to find creative ways to bring people together online.
Regional winners will be announced in October, and the overall winner will be announced at a gala in Toronto on Jan. 16, 2013.